If you’ve ever subscribed to a magazine the chances are that you subscribed in order further your knowledge on a particular area and enjoy the experience of reading about that subject.
Then, over time, that magazine subscription becomes like old friend who comes to visit on a regular basis.
Email newsletters are a lot like magazine subscriptions. Most of your subscribers will have initially signed up to further their knowledge of the area in which you are the expert, but if you do them properly, your newsletters become that old friend, a mentor, who has new ideas to help you improve your life or business.
Magazine subscriptions are a good model to follow for email marketing so let’s look at how you can make your email newsletter anticipated, enjoyed and ultimately providing a return on investment.
One of the main reasons people unsubscribe from opt-in emails is the frequency that they receive emails from a particular company. It’s a difficult balancing act.
If you send it out too often your subscribers might begin to see it as spam even if they signed up willing. Yet if you send it out too rarely, your subscribers won’t anticipate it. This could mean that when it does arrive it gets left in your inbox to read later and then never gets read or alternatively they could forget they subscribed to it so they unsubscribe.
Most subscription magazines arrive at the same time each month. If you subscribe to that magazine, you’ll know when that is. Start by sending out your email newsletter on a monthly basis, if you send it out less than that it is hard to build relationships with your subscribers. Then plan a schedule and stick to it so it goes out at the same time each month, for example the 2nd Tuesday of each month.
2. Give it a name
Magazines aren’t named after the publishing company or its editor; their names are based on its theme, its content. You know purely from the title whether or not a magazine called ‘Runners World’ will contain content you’re interested in.
It might seem trivial to name your newsletter, but doing so will create a brand and a theme for what your e-newsletter is all about.
Try to avoid names like, “Company X Newsletter”. Instead focus on the content your newsletter contains. For example, my newsletter is called, Kassia Gardner’s Create, Communicate and Connect E-Newsletter, with the subheading, “The busy professional’s monthly guide to creating and writing effective e-newsletters.” It immediately tells you what the e-newsletter is about.
3. Subject line
After the name in the ‘From’ field in your inbox, the subject line is the most important element in getting people to open and read your e-newsletter. Magazines use catchy headlines on their front cover to pique your interest; the subject line is your front cover.
Never use the name of your newsletter as the subject line as it doesn’t compel subscribers to open and read your newsletter. Instead try some of the following techniques:
- Promise them a benefit
- Ask an open question
- State a shocking or controversial fact
- Use the title of your main article
The key point is you MUST give your subscribers a reason to open your email newsletter.
The main reason people subscribe to magazines and email is to learn what we don’t know and to affirm what we do know. So to make your email newsletter a must read your main focus should be on the content.
There is no specific length that you need to aim for when writing your content, but studies have shown that most people will read 400-600 words before their attention starts to wander. However don’t deliberately restrict yourself, give the content and information the space and attention it deserves.
If you’re struggling to think of content then the following list should give you some ideas:
- Industry news
- Two or three part stories to pique their interest and keep them coming back for more
- A solution to a problem they might be having
- Frequently asked questions about your products or services
- Create a poll or questionnaire and write about the results and insights to gain
Magazine editors are there to be the friend of the reader so let the reader get to know the editor of your email newsletter. Whether you’re writing your own email newsletter, or getting someone else to write it for you, make sure your personality shows in the writing.
Bob Sacks, a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group,says the following about magazines and why people read them,
“…it is our continued ability to provide the comfort of informed, meaningful dialogue and knowledge that is important, and very little else.”
The same is true for email newsletters.
Today’s Micro action
Brainstorm content ideas for your current and future email newsletters.