How to Optimize a Monthly Newsletter

Having a newsletter is better than not having one, but not all newsletters are created equal. Newsletters are your chance to connect with your readers and build your relationships with them…so it has to be useful! The best newsletters lead to conversation and connection. So, how do you create a compelling, connective marketing newsletter that will optimize your opportunity for engagement?

Here are the quick and dirty tips!

Keep it useful – your content needs to be your first priority. Making sure that what you have to say matters to your readers is the most important aspect of your newsletter. People are so busy that if they click (or more likely tap) into your newsletter and find content that makes them think “why am I reading this?” they probably won’t ever bother opening another from you. You’ll go straight into the realm of junk, delete, and unsubscribe. What your readers want are the same things you do – they want discounts, they want helpful tips that will add value to their lives by making things easier, and they want to have fun. If you have something to share that enhances their day – then definitely put it into your newsletter! If you find yourself struggling to get a “meaty” enough newsletter put together, then just keep it short! A short, helpful, funny newsletter is perfectly great!

Focus on your first paragraph – I’m going to share my go-to method and why it works so well. I always include a title meant to grab attention, and a short first paragraph or two in order to hook the reader. From there, I include a picture and a link to continue reading the story. The title, picture, and a catchy link all go back to the blog post on the website that has the same look and feel as the newsletter they were just reading. Don’t ever post an entire article in your newsletter. It makes the newsletter too long and you’ll miss important metrics that you should be tracking. By linking back to your site you’ll get information about what your readers care about, and you’ll get an opportunity to lead them into further connection with you on your website. Post the full article on the site with a few more pictures, (and a video, if possible). Not only will it optimize your newsletter, but the continual addition of relevant content (your blogs) on your website will help drive your search engine optimization (SEO).

For tips on how to write compelling stories, be sure to check out my previous blog about 6 Fundamental Elements of Storyteller Marketing!

Newsletter article that shows two paragraphs, a link to read more, and a small dog.
Above is a basic example of the concept. The title, photo, and hyperlink to read more all linked back to the SPCA of Northern Nevada’s website where the rest of the article lived and gave people an opportunity to donate to the organization and save more dogs like Molly.

Give them somewhere to go! Don’t just plop your reader onto the website with the blog post and leave it at that. Give them options! How do they get involved? What else can you offer them that they might find helpful? Do they have questions – ask them to call you, leave comments, or email you. When you do get interaction, RESPOND! Don’t leave a commenter hanging – lots of people will spend time reading comments because let’s face it, many of us end up having the same questions. If someone had a question, lots of people did, and you now get the opportunity to follow up with the silent askers, as well as the commenter.

Spell check – it matters. Trust me. You should not be the only person to read your newsletter before you hit send. (Your brain is great at seeing what you think it should, so you often miss your own mistakes.) A great, free tool you can use that will not only check spelling but will also check grammar and tone of voice is Grammarly! You can install it onto your browser and it will automatically check your writing.

Metrics and analytics displayed on a laptop.
Your metrics don’t mean anything unless you act on them!
Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash.

Act on your metrics – we’re talking open rates, click through, deletes, (and yes, the dreaded “marked as spam,”) shares/forwards, and A/B testing subject lines. I want you to not only look at your metrics, but to make changes to your future newsletters based on your metrics. It’s no good knowing that people liked something unless you do more of it! What do the articles that people click on have in common? Look at your site’s analytics, too. You should be able to see how long people were staying on the page and what pages they visited after getting to your site. When people are unsubscribing to your newsletter, what reasons are they giving? Do you have content that is no longer relevant to them? Figure out WHY! This is direct feedback on what your audience connects to and what they don’t! It’s not a one-way conversation, and just like any good relationship, it’s your opportunity to show that you care not through the knowledge but through the action you take.

As I’m writing this, I’m continuing to learn and explore the world of marketing myself. So I’d love to hear from you! Have you received a newsletter you really enjoyed? Is there one in particular that you get that you always look forward to clicking on? Let me know in the comments so I can check them out, too!

Angela Rudolph
Send me an email or leave me a comment if you have a suggestion for a future blog post!

Thank you for reading! If you have ideas for future blog posts, let me know!

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