At an estimated 3.4 million, more than half of the world’s population has an email address.
Let’s assume a large number are the same person with multiple emails.
For comparison, social media users are at 2.95 billion.
Think about your social accounts. In order to signup, you need an email address.
Obviously email has matured over the years. There were the early days in the 1990s when everybody with an email read just about every message they received. That’s obviously changed. But email remains a very important part of the Internet ecosystem.
One great thing, from a business perspective, is the fact that email newsletters or email marketing strategies are owned. When you get an email subscriber, it’s a very strong indication that the person wants to receive messages from you.
With social, someone can subscribe, but it doesn’t mean the social platform will show that person all or even most of the content you share.
Let’s say you want to start a business email newsletter…
Here are a few tips for formatting it for the most effectiveness.
Tip #1. Determine The Goal
That’s the ultimate goal with any marketing effort. But with a newsletter, as with most marketing, you need to work backwards a little bit and figure out what you want to do with a newsletter. Not direct sales, but creating something that has a purpose for the subscriber.
The goal could be subscribers. That focuses the effort into creating something, whatever that might be, with the aim of getting people to subscribe.
It could be to provide content that is meant to be read in the email software and then archived or deleted. It could be to get people to click on something.
The “what” isn’t as important as determining the what and then removing other goals. A narrow focus is good for email marketing.
Tip #2. Determine The Value
The value with an email newsletter is what the subscriber receives by giving you access to their inbox. It could be knowledge you have that you want to share with the subscriber over time. It could be curating information that you find throughout the week that you can share with subscribers. It could be question and answer where you take questions and provide the answers in the email content.
Look at what successful newsletters do. Don’t be afraid to copy what they do with your own twist. You don’t have to create something brand new from scratch. Your own twist with a clear focus can often be enough.
Tip #3. Simple Design
My general rule for most online design, newsletters included, is to keep the design and format simple. Keep it text. Make sure it loads fast. Use headings and basic colors.
The more complex you get with the design, layout and formatting the more likely you are to distract and confuse your subscribers.
Tip #4. What’s The Next Step
The next step in your sales process varies depending on where the person is in the process. If a person is asking for specific details about your product or the price, they’re close to the end. You can likely start asking for the sale.
But if they just learned about you and are really only interested in more helpful information, you don’t necessarily want to ask them to buy your stuff at this point.
For email, you want to have calls to action. Like waiting for the next email with a little preview. Or linking to another piece of content you just created. Or maybe linking to your about page where you’ve added new information about a few new team members or added some information about your history.
Tip #5. Experimentation
Most email newsletters have a basic format. An intro. A body with content that either entertains or educates. Then a conclusion that wraps everything up and then suggests more content.
That’s your basic format.
Do that 80-90% of the time.
But leave the other 10-20% of the time for experimenting.
Shorter newsletters. Longer newsletters. Images. No images. A story approach. Anything.
As with most content there are basic formulas that evolve as the medium matures. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment to find a slight variation that hits home with your audience.
Most movies are 90-120 minutes. But once in awhile an epic comes out that’s 4+ hours long. Songs are mostly 3 minutes long, but sometimes one hits that’s less than 2 minutes.
Email newsletters remain great marketing tools for businesses. Nearly every Internet user has an email address. Spam filters have gotten really good so if someone subscribers to your newsletter they are likely to see it. You control the medium whereas with social you have less control.
For formatting, keep it simple. Keep your approach focused. That’s how you win with email marketing.