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Make your newsletters worth reading

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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Isn’t it annoying when every time you open your email there is at least couple new sales pitches from companies you didn’t even remember to be existed? Yes, you might have bought one or two products from their online store or visited their website one time or so, but now you find yourself spending more time erasing your emails than actually reading them. So have the newsletters lost their hope completely? The answer is no. There are few quite simple ways making newsletters more effective to get readers attention and in this article I’m going to tell you how.

Select a good topic

One of the most common problems is that companies try to sell their product too aggressively. Only thing you can see is pictures of product prices and  same old buy now or never phrases. Since the stone ages people have loved stories, so build your news around some interesting topic. For example if a company is specialized in sport equipment, it should first tell about why doing sports is good.  The story should start with a problem which readers can relate to “I had too many extra pounds” and ending happily “I lost those extra pounds and feeling brand new!” After this convincing customers that with their products everybody can achieve healthier lifestyle easier.



This newsletter is a good example of a success story.



Classic example of a newsletter that is just plain boring.

Summarize your content

Average person spends 51 seconds reading a newsletter, so you have to tell your news briefly and choose the content very precisely! Readers will get frustrated when companies are trying to put too much information in one newsletter. Still many companies stumble telling all news at the same time making the newsletter look like a mess. The basic rule should be keeping the newsletters very simple and plain using the interesting headlines and pictures to get attention of the potential customers. For those readers who finds the topic interesting there should always be a link to company’s own website, for example “Read More” or “Learn more” where to find more information about the topic and product.  Aim for the click!


Nice and easy, just click and go!


Too much text, it’s hard  to decide where to start.

Make it readable

It is very important not try to use too many fancy words confusing the customer. It doesn’t make you any wiser calling for example phone “telecommunications device that permits two or more users”. You have to know you audience and choose carefully the vocabulary that you use in your newsletters. If we are not talking about rocket science the content should be written in such vocabulary that everybody could understand.

Make it look professional

Making your newsletter look professional will give you credibility and readers can trust your news better. Internet is full of different newsletter templates which gives you nice ideas designing your own newsletter. So if you don’t have any expertise in web design yourself, just open Google and start digging, or better yet, use experts for designing your newsletter. Read more how to make professional looking newsletter yourself here. example bad newsletter

Would you visit their website?



You can find many professional looking newsletter templates just searching from Google.

Ask questions

An effective way to get readers interested of your newsletters is being interactive. Ask questions from readers,share links, give them answers, use different examples and make them think your news. Share common experience with your clients. You can start asking from readers have they had common problems with some issues lately and then offering them answers through examples. A good rule of thumb is to use these six questions: who, what, when, where why and how. But be original, avoid being that dry salesman walking door-to-door selling hoovers, asking “is there dust in the floors” surprisingly revealing the big news: “Yes, with my hoover you can get rid of the dust.”
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Don’t trick your customers

The worst way trying to get readers attention is trick them to subscribe newsletter and unfortunately this happens way too often. Basic rule is that people don’t like to do anything that they are forced to. And if this isn’t bad enough sometimes its incredibly difficult to find how to unsubscribe the newsletter. In the end this will lead to having too many emails until reader will consider all newsletters as junk mail. So make it as easy to find how to unsubscribe the newsletter as subscribing it. Give your customers their own choice how often they want to be informed with your news, once a week, once a month etc. It doesn’t necessary mean if your customer unsubscribe your newsletter that it wouldn’t be interested in your products in future.


Know your customers

Companies have to know their target audience and use time finding out what their customers really want to read. For example gender and age are big factors and obviously the more you know your customers, the better. The ideal situation is to know your target audience so well, that they feel like the letter is sent them on personal level. So if you want to add a sales pitch in your newsletter, the customer needs to feel that the offer is just for him: “Because you are my friend I can sell you this with half price”. If you are sending newsletters to everybody, it won’t probably work.

Adapt for new technology

I don’t write letters in a candle light, neither should you. More and more people are using internet with their mobile devices, nearly 50 percent of emails are read on mobile devices.  Readers can access to Internet almost wherever they are. Those who owns smartphones or tablets reads their emails mainly from their mobile devices, so it is very important that your newsletters are compatible also for all mobile devices. Lets say if for example the newsletter is too heavy for smartphone to open, most of the people don’t bother to wait more than few seconds. This will lead the your newsletter receiver doing something else with its phone, and soon forgetting the email they were about to read. Read more how to make your email marketing more mobile friendly here.



Newsletter compatible for all devices.

Newsletters still good way marketing online

Even though today web is offering various different online-marketing methods, newsletter is still an effective way to catch readers attention and staying touch with your customers when doing it right following these few simple steps. Don’t be in a hurry when you are planning newsletter! Today it’s hard to get readers attention in web, since as we all know, web is full of information. Standing out from the others is the key factor and investing in a good research and planning the newsletter properly with enough time will pay the price. Otherwise the result might be badly spent company resources and annoyed customers. See email marketing statistics here.

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