How to Write a Company Newsletter Your Audience Will Want to Open

If you’re like most folks, you receive approximately 130 emails every day. You’ve already trained yourself to filter out Facebook notifications, the daily deals that you keep forgetting to unsubscribe from, and any subject with an exclamation point. But you still spend about two hours a day sifting through your email, cherry-picking only the few that really catch your attention.

If you do that, it’s safe to assume that your audience does the same thing. Your company newsletter is one of over a hundred emails that they receive in a given day. How do you grab their attention and then get them to open your email? That’s exactly what we’re discussing in today’s post. Let’s get straight to business.

One Focus Per Email

Don’t try to multitask with your email. If you need to update your audience on various topics, spread them out into a series of emails (preferably not in the same day, though). Also, it’s okay to have a different email for each target audience: one group receives Email A and the second group receives Email B, depending on their interests or demographics.

Remember that the point of your email is to drive your audience back to your blog or your website. Your company newsletter should be straightforward and to the point, which means that you shouldn’t try to tackle too much within the body of the newsletter.

In fact, the less content you can write (and get away with), the better. Make sure that the ultimate focus of your email is to get your audience to do something (sign up for your webinar, read your blog, buy your ebook, et cetera).

One Subject Line to Rule Them All

Not to sound dramatic or anything, but you will live or die by your subject line. Create a good subject line, and you’ll get that all-important open. Create a boring subject line, and you’ll meet certain deletion, or worse– the spam filter!

Scary stuff.

A good subject line will pique your audience’s interest. And it will promise something of value in return for their attention. Here’s a few of my favorites:

  • Last chance to receive XYZ
  • This one strategy helped us double our views…
  • X reasons why you’re not winning at life (and one powerful tip to change everything)

These subject lines work well for different reasons. Let’s dissect.

The phrase last chance creates a sense of urgency. Your audience knows that they need to click right away, or the opportunity is gone forever.

The second subject line appeals to those who want to know more about how to do a specific topic. It promises to share helpful information.

The third subject line is all about controversy. Your subject line may be a little abrasive, but it gets people to click, and that’s what it’s all about.

Of course, there are tons of subject lines you can choose from.

Tommy Walker at CrazyEgg compiled a list of 557 email subject lines to inspire you. Just remember that your subject line will  determine whether or not your email is opened.

No pressure.

Here’s a few tips for your subject line:

Don’t summarize. Your subject line shouldn’t encapsulate everything that’s inside of your email. Its only purpose is to get folks to open the email. How do you do that?

Leave an unanswered question. This is how you get them to click your email. It’s the question that drives us. (Name that movie reference!)

Your First Line Matters, Too

Your subject line isn’t the only thing you should focus on. The first sentence of your email, or more specifically those first few words that are shown in the email preview, will also drive your audience to click on your email newsletter.

Ideally, those first few words will build curiosity and excitement. It should be a smooth continuation of your subject line. For example, if I used the phrase “Last chance to receive XYZ” as my subject line, I would begin my email newsletter like, “XYZ is flying off the shelves– Duck! And then get yours before it’s too late.”

Go Minimal

Flashing text, lots of color, a photo explosion– your email newsletter isn’t really the place to get fancy. You need a simple, plain text design. Here’s the biggest reason: 42% of all email is read from a smartphone or tablet and 41.9% were opened on a mobile device. Because it’s more likely that people are reading your newsletter from a smaller screen, you don’t want to clutter it with unnecessary design elements that crowd the text and overwhelm the message.

Image courtesy of VentureBeat

Remember, your focus should be to drive your audience deeper down the rabbit hole, not to make them stop and stare at how cute your newsletter looks.

Add Personality

Don’t deprive your audience of your personality. Your newsletter should sound like an actual human wrote it, not like a combination of buzzwords and recycled calls to action. We’ve all come across generic newsletters that are tragically formulaic. I’ve encountered some that didn’t even bother to erase phrases like “your name here.”

Because you’re not creating a lengthy newsletter, you should take the time to create a good one. Write in a conversational tone that engages your audience. Don’t be afraid to speak like you write.

And to further illustrate your humanity, sign off with your own name. Your email shouldn’t be signed by your company because your company didn’t write it: an individual did.

This is the way you build trust with your audience: speaking to them person-to-person.

Remember the 80/20 Rule

You can sell in your company newsletters, but don’t make sales the main focus of every single email you send out. If you do, your audience will eventually catch on and stop opening your emails because they’ll know it’s just a sales ploy.

Instead, focus on adding value through your newsletter. Your intent is to serve your audience. Do that by sharing highly relevant and useful tips with them. Remember that your newsletter is only a tool to point them in the right direction. Whether your value comes through educational blog posts, webinars, or downloadable ebooks, you should give away as much as possible as often as possible.

And you should do it at least 80% of the time. This is your opportunity to build trust and credibility. The other 20% of the time can be spent selling your product/ service.

Final Thoughts

Writing a company newsletter begins with a laser-beam focus on one subject at a time. Epic, value-added content increases your open and click-through rates. Remember to infuse personality as you go, and don’t forget to make the content useful and relevant to your audience.