The average switched-on, digitally engaged consumer today receives a lot of emails. The number of email users worldwide is set to pass three billion by 2020, according to the Radicati Group, and it continues to be the leading method of business communication.
For brands, email clearly offers great potential to reach a mass audience. However, it also poses the challenge of standing out from the crowd and connecting with customers in an extremely competitive space.
When it comes to planning and designing email newsletters, the ultimate priority should be to deliver something that people really want to read. Here are some of the methods you can use to achieve that…
Start by knowing what your customers want
Successful email newsletters are all about the recipient; giving them something interesting, educational, entertaining or eye-opening. They should not be used as a platform for self-promotion and product advertising.
Consequently, one of the essential steps to creating emails people want to read is gaining a strong understanding of what appeals to your target audience.
How do you do this? There are various methods you could try, such as:
- Investing more time and research into detailed buyer personas
- Analyzing interactions on your website to map user journeys and behavior
- Engaging in conversations on social media
- Conducting surveys
The better you know your customers, the more impactful and engaging your email communications will be.
Be specific and relevant
Consumers want to read email newsletters that feel relevant to them, based on factors such as their personal tastes, interests and pain points.
Again, this comes down to really knowing your customer, and it requires you to go beyond basic demographic data such as age, location and gender.
While this information is a useful starting point, to deliver truly relevant and impactful emails you need to have a deeper understanding of the recipient. This could be gained from analyzing people’s past buying decisions and interactions with you, such as questions they have asked on social media.
Once you have collected the data needed to create insightful profiles of your audience, you can create segmented contact lists to ensure you are sending the right sort of content to the right people.
Strike the right tone
Tone is a critical element in the success of any email newsletter. The right tone will instantly make the reader feel at ease and encourage them to continue reading, while an inappropriate or jarring tone will have the opposite effect.
The decision of what tone to use will depend on factors such as the nature of your brand and the products or services you offer. If people are used to you communicating in a fun, irreverent way, email provides the ideal platform to strengthen this brand voice and build a sense of familiarity with your audience.
On the other hand, if you are a professional service provider or a B2B company, it will feel more appropriate for you to communicate in a friendly but fairly reserved fashion. Maintaining this in your emails will reassure readers and keep them engaged.
One example of a company that strikes the perfect tone in its email communications is Ben & Jerry’s, whose ChunkMail newsletters are light-hearted and funny, but also provide interesting, educational content.
Use clean, clear design
One issue that is almost guaranteed to put readers off and prevent them from reading your emails is messy or distracting design.
Using bold, engaging imagery is an effective way of capturing people’s attention and drawing them in, but if you want the recipient to actually read the content within your newsletter, it has to be presented in a clear and accessible way.
A common method is to surround text with white space, so the words aren’t competing with lots of color and images.
It’s also important not to bombard the reader with a mass of information. Seeing a huge block of text as soon as you open an email can be extremely off-putting, so look for the right balance between brevity and depth of content.
These methods can increase your chances of success with email, a channel that arguably now holds greater potential for customer engagement than ever before.