5 Features of an Effective Newsletter

Imagine a world where every newsletter you emailed directly affected your organization’s activities.

A world where the opening percentages of email are high, readers are interested, and each new submission leads to more inquiries, more donations, and more people signing up to support your goal.

It’s simpler than you think…

If you are already submitting a scheduled newsletter for your organization, then I hope you have already figured out how effective and rewarding it can be.

You may have room for improvement, but with a few simple “fixes” you will soon be on your way to better marketing results.

The following five characteristics can serve as a guideline for marketing your email and will hopefully help you improve:

1. An effective newsletter should be relevant

People have become very effective at filtering messages that are irrelevant to them. Think about your experience. If you are like most people, you go through your inbox, ignoring much of the information you see, until something pops up and gets your attention.

If you want people to open and delve into your newsletter, you need to make sure the information interests them. It starts with the subject line you use, and should also be reflected in the content and images you decide to include.

Before you post, ask – is this information really of interest to our audience? If you can not answer with ‘Yes!’ immediately, you have more work to do.

2. An effective newsletter should be useful

Relevance will draw people in and open them up to receive your messages. The helpfulness will motivate them to keep coming back and pay attention whenever your name appears in their inbox.

In most cases, a useful newsletter will simply provide your reader with relevant information that he/she hasn’t had before. A well-timed announcement of an upcoming event or new development can make a big difference and keep your audience involved.

In addition to the content you create, you can also seek to share content from external sources that you think your audience would enjoy. This will help position your newsletter as a resource for helpful information that people will not want to miss.

3. An effective newsletter should be readable

53 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device. If you do not design the newsletter with mobile in mind, you can already make it difficult for a growing number of your subscribers to read the content.

Creating mobile-friendly emails starts with choosing the right email format. Using a single column format will make your content much more suitable for all screen sizes.

You should also think about the amount of content you include in each post. Analyzing 2.1 million emails from Constant Contact customers found that emails with three or fewer images and about 20 lines of text resulted in higher click-through rates. So it’s not an iron rule, but it’s something worth considering.

4. An effective newsletter should be consistent

Consistency is important – both in the look and feel of your messages and also in how often you communicate with the mailing list.

The frequency of sending emails will depend on your organization and the type of information you want to share. At the very least, you need to reach out to your audience once a month so that you can stay in their conscious.

You should also think about when to send the newsletter.

You can check different days and hours and use the reports to track the results. Once you have determined the hours that increase the opening rates, focus on them. In time, people will start expecting to receive the newsletter and are more likely to click to open.

5. An effective newsletter should include a call to action

Every newsletter should include an action you want people to take.

Sometimes it will be something simple – like visiting your website or blog for more information. But you also want to get people to take more meaningful actions – like donating, volunteering, or attending an upcoming event.

As you sit down to create your next newsletter, think about the most important action you want people to take. Tell readers what you want them to do, and make it really easy for them to do so.

Do not be afraid to start small

When you’ll do it right, the newsletter will become one of your best tools to reach out to important people.

Do not be afraid to start small. Focus on one area in the newsletter that you want to improve this month. Try it and see how the audience responds. With each new improvement, you should see more openings, higher click-through rates, and more significant results.