MailChimp researched the open and click-through rates of the emails sent using their service. On average people open 20.81% of emails, while the click-through rate averaged 2.43%.

The conclusion? Your newsletter has to stand out. Here are a few tips on how to make your newsletter more engaging for subscribers, but first…

Do you need a newsletter?

The answer isn’t obvious. You should check whether newsletters in your industry have any chance of success. The MailChimp research we quoted earlier will help you with that.

Consider your goals and whether a newsletter can help you achieve them. If you can’t produce a quality newsletter or if the costs outweigh the benefits, you are better off spending your money elsewhere.

Before you send your first newsletter…

You need to pick a topic. A newsletter about everything regarding your business won‘t be well-received. Make sure your readers know what they subscribe to.  The goal of your newsletter should be obvious straight away.  Sending regular, consistent emails is the first step to success.

How to make your newsletter stand out?

Most newsletters share the same flaws. They might focus on selling only or unknowingly overwhelm the reader with the call to action (CTA) buttons. What should it look like instead?

A good newsletter doesn’t limit you to one CTA. Just like with the colour on your website, it‘s a matter of balance. Here‘s a good example of a newsletter with multiple calls to action with only one standing out:

A good example of highlighting the call to action buttons in a newsletter
JINS includes multiple CTAs in their newsletter while making one of them stand out.

Informative and educational content is the best way to give your subscribers the incentive to read your newsletter. It might be the sole reason you‘re sending it in the first place, but even if you want to generate sales from your mailing list, most of your newsletter should be informative.

While the JINS newsletter focuses on generating sales, only two CTAs are encouraging the reader to buy. What‘s even more important, the content doesn‘t scream “buy”. It‘s not lousy marketing, the email is very informative.

Keep the design simple

This is crucial considering how many people read emails on their phones. You need a clear design with proper spacing. Images are amazing for making your newsletter stand out but don‘t forget the alt text – a lot of readers will have them disabled and if your call to action is an image, having no alt text will be disastrous.

The design is where you can put emphasis on the importance of your content. Making additional topics take up less space in the email is a good way to unclutter your newsletter.

This is also where you should consider interactive content. People love videos and quizzes. Your creativity is the only thing that limits you.

Even the smallest things matter. Newsletters are often impersonal. In one of their emails, INBOUND put “Romeo” as the sender’s name. What makes a newsletter from some Romeo so special, you might ask? Well, Romeo turned out to be the INBOUND CEO’s dog and this was the email signature:

INBOUND CEO's dog "sent" one of their newsletters.
The dog that “sent” the INBOUND newsletter.

If you’re looking for more content like this, we have revisited the topic of newsletters by providing you with tips for email campaign optimisation and newsletter subject lines.

Originally published Sep 20, 2018 9:12:14 AM, updated January 12 2022.

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