By Kelly Forst April 27, 2021
What’s the best way to engage subscribers week after week with an email newsletter? Find out now.
Top marketers have similar strategies when it comes to creating addictive newsletters. And while flawless writing and beautiful email design are important, they’re not the most important things to writing newsletters that keep subscribers engaged week after week.
It’s an understanding of what subscribers actually want in their inboxes.
Because when you understand your audience’s wants and needs, you can create content that interests them, addresses their problems, and more.
So what do all great email newsletters have in common?
In this post, we uncover 5 common characteristics of successful email newsletters that will help you craft addictive newsletter content your readers won’t be able to find anywhere else.
How to write a newsletter: 5 characteristics of addictive newsletters
1. Newsletter content is helpful.
If you’ve ever wondered how to write a newsletter that keeps readers engaged for weeks, months or years, then you’ve probably looked for different ways to serve your audience and be helpful.
And the best way to create helpful content is to brainstorm topics that address your audience’s needs.
Not sure what your audience needs? Figure out their biggest “pain point” — or the problem that keeps them up at night. After all, people don’t buy a product or service because of it’s flashy features. They ultimately purchase a product because it solves a problem for them.
By understanding your subscribers’ biggest pain points, you can more effectively promote your product and write convincing marketing copy. Here’s how to find your customers’ pain points.
2. Addictive content is interesting.
To create interesting content, there are a few writing principles to keep in mind.
First, choose a tone that works best for your audience. In many cases, taking a conversational tone can improve readability and make your brand more relatable.
However, if your audience expects a serious tone because it’s more appropriate for your industry, then keep it formal.
Regardless of whether your tone is light-hearted, witty, irreverent, or formal, you should treat your subscribers with respect, says John Corcoran, founder of Smart Business Revolution.
“I don’t talk down to people,” says Corcoran. “I make it worthwhile to read my emails. I even bury jokes in the ‘P.S.’ and small font at the end just to delight and surprise people who are paying attention.”
Second, organize your email content in a way that’s easy for subscribers to read and skim.
In today’s fast-paced world, you may only have a few seconds to showcase the value of your email. Structure your content so the most important information is at the top.
Additionally, use headlines, subheadlines, and bullet points to break up large chunks of text. (It’s so much easier to read on mobile devices. At AWeber, we recommend paragraphs being 2 to 3 sentences max.) To emphasize important parts of your message, try bolding, italicizing, or underlining words and phrases.
Related: 8 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Write Killer Emails
3. Top email content is one-of-a-kind.
In order to make your content stand out from the rest, try taking a new angle on a topic. This will also help establish you as a thought leader in your niche.
For example, many people think that you need a ton of email subscribers to be successful with email marketing. But this isn’t the case! So we wrote a blog post about how a small, engaged email list is better than a huge, disengaged one. This post was extremely successful because it provided a unique angle on an important topic.
You can also try new content mediums where your competitors may not have big audiences. If your industry is flooded with blog posts and ebooks, experiment with other forms of communication, like podcasts or video.
Not sure what to write in your emails? Check out these 45+ free email writing templates to get you started.
4. Incredible newsletter content is transparent.
A big reason why subscribers disengage with an email list is because the emails no longer deliver the value they were expecting. So don’t try to get readers to open an email with “click bait” — or a subject line that’s enticing, but has very little to do with the content inside the message.
The first step to transparency with email: Explain what content you’ll send and how often you’ll send it on your sign up form, like we did with our newsletter landing page.
By telling people what they can expect before they sign up to your list, they’ll know what they’re getting into. Plus, you’ll be more likely to attract the right subscribers (which are more likely to engage with your content and purchase your products or services).
The second step to transparency: Stick to your promises!
If you say you’ll send an email once a month, don’t bombard your readers with emails every two days. If you say you’ll send helpful tips and advice, don’t send advertisements. If you do, you’ll see your unsubscribes and spam complaints increase almost immediately, which will ultimately hurt your business in the long run.
Related: 16 Proven Sign Up Form Ideas to Grow Your Email List
5. Addictive email content builds relationships.
We enjoy doing business with people we know, like, and trust — as opposed to a large faceless corporation. Humanize your message to increase connection and engagement with your subscriber.
The deeper a connection you make with a subscriber, the more likely they are the engage with your emails, buy products from you, and tell their network about your business.
One way to do this: Ask questions. The more feedback — good and bad! — you gather from your subscribers, the more likely your business is to succeed.
By asking your subscribers questions, you may discover a flaw in your product that is stopping them from purchasing. Or maybe they all mention one feature that they absolutely love, and that you can capitalize on in your marketing material. Or maybe they’ll tell you their biggest business challenge, which leads to your next great product idea. Or maybe you gather a bunch of fantastic testimonials and case studies that you can promote on your website.
Feedback is fuel for your business.
Another way: personalization. You don’t need to be pen pals with each of your subscribers. But you should make them feel as if you’re sending them personalized emails.
Here’s why: 74% of marketers said that targeted messages and personalization of emails improves customer engagement rates.
Try including your subscriber’s name in your message. You can add their first name in the middle or end of the email copy instead of at the beginning, which draws your reader’s eyes downward and keeps them reading. Or you can collect your subscribers’ birth dates on your sign up form. Then send them a celebratory message or a coupon on their birthday.
The more you try to connect with your readers, the more successful your email marketing will be.
For more ideas on how to personalize your emails, check out this post on engaging subscribers with contextual emails.
Learn how to write a newsletter people love.
Creating a newsletter that gets people to open week after week is just one piece of the puzzle.
First, you need to build an audience. Then, you need to stand out.
Learn how to write a newsletter and see examples of the best email newsletters to inspire your own.
And tell us below what your subscribers love about your newsletters!
Additional reporting by Monica Montesa, Liz Willits and Jill Fanslau.