5 Tips for Enewsletter Success
By now nearly every charity has some kind of email newsletter. Whether it’s for donors, clients, or customers, your enewsletter is a workhorse that gets your information out quickly, easily, and affordably. But is it effective?
First things first, when you’re creating an enewsletter you need to think about your goals. While it is a powerful communication tool, your enewsletter can’t and shouldn’t be everything to everyone. Figure out what your audience needs most, and, more importantly, what you want them to do. Then deliver that information to them in a format that’s accessible.
If you have multiple audiences, your best bet is to create two separate newsletters with information and messaging specific to those audiences. For example, your donors might want to hear inspiring stories, but your clients need information about upcoming workshops. Since these are two distinct needs, they’re also two distinct enewsletters.
Regardless of your audience, there are some practices to follow that will make your sure your enewsletter is effective – that your audience opens it, reads it, and finds it useful.
Here are five easy-to-implement tips to get you started on the road to enewsletter success.
1. Repurpose your content
Let’s be honest. The idea of creating another communications piece might not be the most appealing. But you can create a successful enewsletter without adding a tonne of extra work to your already full plate simply by repurposing your existing content. If you have a blog, write articles that can be re-used in your enewsletter. You can also recycle videos you’ve posted on YouTube or your social media channels. This is also a great way to mix up the content types that you’re sharing in your newsletter, and to drive traffic over to your website.
2. Keep it short
Your enewsletter isn’t a laundry list of everything you’ve done in the last month. If you’re already producing content for your website and social media channels, choose the best performing pieces, or those that you know would appeal to your audience, for your enewsletter. And don’t write entire articles in the body of the email. Write concise, compelling teasers for each article, and provide links to those.
3. Choose your frequency and stick to it
Decide up front on how often you’ll send your enewsletter, and then stick to your plans. If you’re just getting started, try something manageable and increase from there. That said, you should definitely try to send your newsletter at least once a month to stay top of mind with your audience. You don’t want a donor or client to see an email from you in their inbox and not remember who you are or how they got on your list.
4. Format for mobile first
More emails are opened on mobile devices than on desktop email clients. For that reason you should be designing your email newsletter for mobile first. Many email marketing tools allow you to create mobile-responsive emails that automatically format depending on what platform they are being opened on. Make sure that when you’re designing your email, it’s simple and uncluttered, and that you’re using fonts that are easy and large enough to read on a smaller screen.
5. Test subject lines and segmentation
Your subject line is your chance to grab your audience and pull them in. So please don’t use the following subject line: “Charity XYZ Newsletter.” Test out different options to see which work best for your audience. Is it a heartfelt opening line, or something more click-baity? Either way, your subject lines should be urgent, compelling your readers to open your email right now.
And while you’re testing, try segmenting your mailing list and tailoring your messages and content to specific audiences. You could try segmenting your list by monthly versus non-monthly donors and customizing messaging. Or you might try dividing up your client newsletter by people who attended your one-off workshops versus people who took a full-year course.
Value your unsubscribes. As you start emailing more often, you’ll find your unsubscribe rate will go up. That’s okay! Remember not to take it personally. The people who unsubscribe from your mailing list are telling you about their contact preferences, and that means you won’t waste time and energy trying to engage and communicate with people who won’t respond. This leaves you time to focus getting the messaging to your target audience just right.
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