7 ways to attract & engage readers with your email newsletter by James Trumbly @econnectemail

7 ways to attract & engage readers with your email newsletter

7 ways to attract & engage readers with your email newsletter

What do email marketing and romance have in common?  Plenty, in my opinion.  For one, reaching out to a customer or prospect online is a lot like being on a first date, where you’re not sure if there will be a second. Except, if you’re running an email campaign, you could possibly be on your last date every single time, because, let’s be honest, it’s not that hard to click “unsubscribe.”

So here’s what we’re suggesting today – take a few minutes to get out of your marketing mindset.  Instead, imagine how you might engage someone on a date, and you might come away with some new insights on how to keep subscribers committed (i.e. subscribed) to your email newsletters.  Here are seven ideas to get you started:

1 – Don’t hog the conversation
Think of your newsletter as a conversation starter, where you introduce a topic and let readers jump in with their contributions wherever possible.  Focus on drumming up interest, rather than comprehensive coverage.  Here’s why, say if you’re running an advice or How-To column and attempting to cover all bases, readers may feel they have nothing left to add apart from “Great article!” or “Really helpful tips!”, and you’ll lose the opportunity to introduce interactivity to your content and gain new perspectives from your readers.  A good way of making sure you’re not saying too much is by setting a word count limit and sticking to it.

2 – Feed that ego
You can’t go wrong by making someone feel special, and there are many ways to do this.  Take contests, for example.  In a typical e-newsletter contest (or online contest, for that matter), readers are made to answer an idiot-proof question about a company’s product or service, and winners are selected at random.  Although a list of winners is usually published in the following issue, it’s unlikely to generate much excitement (unless you’re giving away a whopper of a prize) or give anyone a sense of achievement.  Now, think about those contests that require readers to work a little, e.g. submit the best caption/story/picture to win!  If you want to make a star out of your reader, this is the way to go – let your readers shine by showing off their wit, ingenuity and creativity, and they’ll love you for it and keep coming back for more.

3 – Grow a personality
There are good newsletters and there are bad newsletters, but even worse than the bad newsletter is the newsletter that no-one remembers.  And to be remembered, you need personality.  There are two ways to decide on your newsletter’s “personality”.  If you know your target audience well (and every marketer should), think of a few keywords that would describe their personality (e.g. “prim and proper” or “zany and fun-loving”) and write and design your newsletters accordingly.  The second way is to play up your strengths, i.e. if you’re not bursting with wisecracks, don’t try to turn your newsletter into a stand-up comedy routine.  Instead, focus on what you’re great at, whether it’s your experience and industry knowledge (“wise and authoritative”) or your knack for breaking down tricky information and mind-boggling concepts into bite-size pieces (“clever and insightful”).

4 – Be original
Don’t mail out a newsletter that looks just like the rest of the competition.  At every step of the way – from deciding on a theme to planning articles and designing – ask yourself how you can do something in a way that is entirely yours.  A good place to find inspiration is Marketing Sherpa’s list of Email Marketing Award Winners.  One of their winners won hearts with their inventive feature headlines, such as “Does Your Web Site Taste Like Chicken?”  Others offered designs that readers couldn’t resist.  And you’re not limited to text and graphics – you can find creative ways to incorporate media.

5 – Reach out
Companies don’t reach out to people – people do.  And blogs are a surprisingly effective way of revealing your company’s human side.  If you decide to run a blog, you can have it work hand-in-hand with your newsletter, by featuring extended versions of your newsletter articles that readers can leave comments on.  Keep the tone casual and steer clear of the negative (e.g. customer horror stories), unless you’re positive you can pull it off by, say, being terribly funny.

6 – Have fun (or at least try)
When was the last time you had fun with your newsletter?  If you can’t remember, it’s likely your readers aren’t having a ball of a time either.  It’s important to challenge yourself when you create a newsletter, so you don’t run into a content dead end.  If you look hard enough, you’ll find there’s always a way to do something differently.  For example, if you feel certain articles in your newsletter archives were good but failed to generate reader interest or participation, you can think of how they might be repackaged for a fresh run.  This can include changing the headline, summarizing and re-organizing the article, or simply applying a more eye-catching design or adding media.

7 – Put your readers first
Use our A/B split test function. Find out what subject lines turn them on and off, when they’re more likely to open their emails, and more.  If this doesn’t win them over, we don’t know what will.

Takeaway: Every email is like a first date. Make sure you are dynamic and well dressed.

Meet the author:

James Trumbly

James Trumbly

Co-Founder and Director of Business Development for eConnect Email, an email marketing software company. James enjoys spending time at the beach and traveling in his free time. .

Connect with: James Trumbly

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  • Chief eMail Officer
    December 4, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Hey James…

    Thanks for the post.

    Would love to hear why your favorite newsletter is?

    Currently right now I do not have a fav myself. I am caught up in RSS feeds and don’t get a chance to dig into someones actual newsletter.

    (it’s odd I get 100’s of newsletters a week and never have a chance to read any)

    Such is the life of an email marketer.

    Regards,

    Jeff

  • Chief eMail Officer
    December 4, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Hey James…

    Thanks for the post.

    Would love to hear why your favorite newsletter is?

    Currently right now I do not have a fav myself. I am caught up in RSS feeds and don’t get a chance to dig into someones actual newsletter.

    (it’s odd I get 100’s of newsletters a week and never have a chance to read any)

    Such is the life of an email marketer.

    Regards,

    Jeff

  • James Trumbly
    December 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Jeff,

    Like yourself I spend a majority of my time following RSS feeds as this often provides real time information as it’s being posted.

    However, a couple mailing lists I’m subscribed to that stand out to me are BuySellAds.com and ShootDotEdit.com.

    I think both of these companies do a great job with email marketing. The key is to create content that interests the reader and deliver it in bit size chunks. Give your subscribers a reason to stop and read your newsletter, provide them with items of value!

    In closing, a newsletter has to capture my attention immediately, otherwise, it’s headed to the trash.

    Below are a couple points to keep in mind when drafting your next email newsletter:

    – Content is king, provide value
    – Be creative, capture your readers attention
    – Keep is simplistic and easy to navigate

  • James Trumbly
    December 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Jeff,

    Like yourself I spend a majority of my time following RSS feeds as this often provides real time information as it’s being posted.

    However, a couple mailing lists I’m subscribed to that stand out to me are BuySellAds.com and ShootDotEdit.com.

    I think both of these companies do a great job with email marketing. The key is to create content that interests the reader and deliver it in bit size chunks. Give your subscribers a reason to stop and read your newsletter, provide them with items of value!

    In closing, a newsletter has to capture my attention immediately, otherwise, it’s headed to the trash.

    Below are a couple points to keep in mind when drafting your next email newsletter:

    – Content is king, provide value
    – Be creative, capture your readers attention
    – Keep is simplistic and easy to navigate

  • jamar
    August 15, 2011 at 9:11 am

    thanks for the post it is very helpful for me and other starters who are new to this..

  • jamar
    August 15, 2011 at 9:11 am

    thanks for the post it is very helpful for me and other starters who are new to this..

  • reshiagirl
    August 17, 2011 at 1:49 am

    You know what, all this talks about effective emails, blogging just stock into my mind, really, I need to make this thing laid down one by one. I have to put my blog on hold. There are so much to know. Hope I can consult you one of this days. Thanks.

  • reshiagirl
    August 17, 2011 at 1:49 am

    You know what, all this talks about effective emails, blogging just stock into my mind, really, I need to make this thing laid down one by one. I have to put my blog on hold. There are so much to know. Hope I can consult you one of this days. Thanks.

  • daisy
    August 30, 2011 at 2:21 am

    these are really great tips! thank you so much and i would love to consider these things… i also believe that being original and unique will be a great way for you to attract and engage with your readers

  • daisy
    August 30, 2011 at 2:21 am

    these are really great tips! thank you so much and i would love to consider these things… i also believe that being original and unique will be a great way for you to attract and engage with your readers

  • momoy
    September 7, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I also believe that being original and unique will be a great way for you to attract and engage with your readers..:P

  • momoy
    September 7, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I also believe that being original and unique will be a great way for you to attract and engage with your readers..:P

  • whatdhell5
    September 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I believe that being original and unique will be a great way for you to attract and engage with your readers.

  • whatdhell5
    September 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I believe that being original and unique will be a great way for you to attract and engage with your readers.

  • alynazanders
    September 12, 2011 at 2:10 am

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  • alynazanders
    September 12, 2011 at 2:10 am

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  • kenoboy9
    September 12, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Yup! the common mistakes of bloggers I observed is that they tend to overtalk, they don’t leave a space for a reader to interact. Some common ground that they too can relate. Just like writing a newsletter one should think of an effective line to endorse something.

  • kenoboy9
    September 12, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Yup! the common mistakes of bloggers I observed is that they tend to overtalk, they don’t leave a space for a reader to interact. Some common ground that they too can relate. Just like writing a newsletter one should think of an effective line to endorse something.

  • Nene
    September 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Hey James, what a brilliant idea, such a very nice post. You gave us great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nene
    September 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Hey James, what a brilliant idea, such a very nice post. You gave us great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • sakura
    September 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I think of how they might be repackaged for a fresh run. This can include changing the headline, summarizing and re-organizing the article, or simply applying a more eye-catching design or adding media. | 😛

  • sakura
    September 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I think of how they might be repackaged for a fresh run. This can include changing the headline, summarizing and re-organizing the article, or simply applying a more eye-catching design or adding media. | 😛

  • Cholie
    October 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    We all believe that, I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. Thanks for sharing..

  • Cholie
    October 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    We all believe that, I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. Thanks for sharing..

  • mystica03
    October 5, 2011 at 5:54 am

    Some common ground that they too can relate. Just like writing a newsletter one should think of an effective line to endorse something.

  • mystica03
    October 5, 2011 at 5:54 am

    Some common ground that they too can relate. Just like writing a newsletter one should think of an effective line to endorse something.

  • Partho Deb
    October 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    What a brilliant post. You should do a series! :)I did a sort of blogging for dummies over on one of the craft forums and I thought it was too simple for them, but the amount of emails I got asking questions just like what you addressed was unbelievable. As young people today we have grown up with computers, but it’s easy to forget that even people just a few years older have not! Really good post! 🙂

  • Partho Deb
    October 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    What a brilliant post. You should do a series! :)I did a sort of blogging for dummies over on one of the craft forums and I thought it was too simple for them, but the amount of emails I got asking questions just like what you addressed was unbelievable. As young people today we have grown up with computers, but it’s easy to forget that even people just a few years older have not! Really good post! 🙂

  • Farid Ali
    October 23, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Pretty good post. I just came across your site and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed
    reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be coming back and I hope you post again soon.

  • Farid Ali
    October 23, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Pretty good post. I just came across your site and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed
    reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be coming back and I hope you post again soon.

  • Jamal Uddin
    October 25, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Hello. I wanted to give you a note to verbalize my thankfulness. I have been watching your blog posts for a month and have got a ton of excellent tips and appreciated the way you have built your web site. I’m going to make my blog however I feel it is too general and I need to concentrate more on particular issues.

  • Jamal Uddin
    October 25, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Hello. I wanted to give you a note to verbalize my thankfulness. I have been watching your blog posts for a month and have got a ton of excellent tips and appreciated the way you have built your web site. I’m going to make my blog however I feel it is too general and I need to concentrate more on particular issues.

  • Mine01
    October 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I think work is the headlines to up!

  • Mine01
    October 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I think work is the headlines to up!

  • Kolpona Roy
    October 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm

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  • Kolpona Roy
    October 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm

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  • puala
    October 31, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I have to put my blog on hold. There are so much to know. Hope I can consult you one of this days. Thanks.

  • puala
    October 31, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I have to put my blog on hold. There are so much to know. Hope I can consult you one of this days. Thanks.

  • noronisa
    October 31, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I thought it was too simple for them, but the amount of emails I got asking questions just like what you addressed was unbelievable. As young people today we have grown up with computers

  • noronisa
    October 31, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I thought it was too simple for them, but the amount of emails I got asking questions just like what you addressed was unbelievable. As young people today we have grown up with computers

  • Motiur Rahman
    November 2, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Good and very informative post. I will come back to your blog regularly. One thing: I do
    not exactly know what do you mean in the second paragraph. Could you please explain
    your opinion?

  • Motiur Rahman
    November 2, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Good and very informative post. I will come back to your blog regularly. One thing: I do
    not exactly know what do you mean in the second paragraph. Could you please explain
    your opinion?

  • hunterX0506
    November 4, 2011 at 8:49 am

    What a brilliant post. You should do a series! 🙂 I did a sort of blogging for dummies over on one of the craft forums and I thought it was too simple for them. | 😛

  • hunterX0506
    November 4, 2011 at 8:49 am

    What a brilliant post. You should do a series! 🙂 I did a sort of blogging for dummies over on one of the craft forums and I thought it was too simple for them. | 😛

  • janine
    November 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I suggest let your readers shine by showing off their wit, ingenuity and creativity, and they’ll love you for it and keep coming back for more.

  • janine
    November 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I suggest let your readers shine by showing off their wit, ingenuity and creativity, and they’ll love you for it and keep coming back for more.

  • waziullah mia
    November 18, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Good and very informative post. I will come back to your blog regularly. One thing: I do
    not exactly know what do you mean in the second paragraph. Could you please explain
    your opinion?

  • waziullah mia
    November 18, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Good and very informative post. I will come back to your blog regularly. One thing: I do
    not exactly know what do you mean in the second paragraph. Could you please explain
    your opinion?

  • Elisa
    December 4, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Hi James!

    Engaging to a blog and the readers is really good idea, I can say for the first timer of blogging is difficult but its become easy if you truly love to create your own blog…

  • Elisa
    December 4, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Hi James!

    Engaging to a blog and the readers is really good idea, I can say for the first timer of blogging is difficult but its become easy if you truly love to create your own blog…

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