If you send out a regular newsletter you want to know people are reading it.  Most of the email marketing platforms (e.g. MailChimp, AWeber, GetResponse, etc) send out stats showing how many opens and links clicked your message gets.  This should give you an idea about the success of your newsletter.

A newsletter has a number of elements you need to consider to make it work effectively.

The subject line

Om effect. This is like a headline; it’s what says ‘open me’ to your reader.  Honing your skill at writing subject lines that intrigue or engage your reader enough to get them to open the email is worthwhile.

There are lots of approaches that work:

How to [do something/get a specific result]

Have you seen the latest change in [something of interest to your audience]?

Time is running out … or 24 hours to go …

Do you make this mistake?

Would you like a special bonus?

These are statements or questions that tickle the reader’s curiosity and get them to open the email.

The header

I like an image at the top of my newsletters as it gives the message energy.  However, it does need to be an image that is relevant to the subject.

I know experienced newsletter writers who use a big headline and some info about the offer, special deal or whatever along with benefits.

It depends on what kind of newsletter you send out.  I like to lead with value (knowledge-based content) and follow up with a promotion.

The opening content

Like any other content your aim is to engage the reader as quickly as possible.  A conversational approach so the reader feels like you’re speaking directly to them usually works better than a formal approach.

If you have a knowledge-based article as your lead, you don’t have to publish it all in the newsletter, you can stop after 3-4 paragraphs and link it to the article on your website (e.g. on your blog).

Call to action

Every item needs a clear call to action.  If it’s your lead value-based item that might be a ‘read more’ button.  If you’ve got a promotion or special deal, it might be a button to take the reader to a sales page or an email link and/or phone number for them to contact you.

Long or short?

There are no hard and fast rules.  The main thing is to make it easy for people to access what they want.  In today’s digital world, short and to the point is popular with time-poor readers.  Links to longer versions of your content allows them to choose whether they want the short or long version.

A long first article can stop people getting to your offer.  However, putting the offer first may turn people off.  You could separate value and promotion into two different emails as an alternative.

The secret of great newsletters is to know what your list actually wants – then deliver that and you’ll get more opens, more clicks – and fewer deletes.