As email marketing becomes more challenging, it’s important to evaluate your e-newsletter, or ezine, to make sure you’re keeping up with the times and getting as high of open rates as possible. Here are ten “new rules” that are shaping effective ezine content today.
1. Headlines are more crucial than ever. A cleverly crafted headline (or subject line for email) will determine whether or not your email gets opened and read. Headlines that can appeal to a reader’s desires on an emotional level will be more effective. “Insider secrets,” “5 tips you can apply now to save time/money/energy,” and “What they don’t want you to know,” are examples of titles that work because they are compelling. They offer a promise to solve a problem. They leave the reader with great curiosity. They seduce the reader to open and read the email.
2. Keywords should be placed in the headline. Use them again in the first paragraph, and repeat several times in the body of the content. When somebody sits down and types keywords into a search engine looking for information they need, will your content be found?
3. Content length should be short and to the point. Once you write your message, review it and delete as many words as possible. Ask, “So what?” to each sentence. Keep the focus on your core intention for that email message.
4. Use bulleted lists so readers can scan your points. A Jakob Neilsen survey showed that only 11 percent read an email thoroughly. Make your messages user-friendly. Oh, and use keywords in both your bullet points and your sub-headings.
5. Use stories to make it real to readers. Use your own experiences, or those of your clients. One tactic is to use your own mistakes, and then describe a lesson learned. Readers will be able identify with you and as a result, come to trust you.
6. Always write with the reader in mind. Focus on providing solutions to their pain.
7. The purpose of the content should be clear. Each ezine should have one intention only. One subject, one call to action.
8. Use statistics, testimonials, case studies, and expert references to support your point. Never forget that readers have sensitive BS antennae and a finger poised on the delete key. Don’t waste their time.
9. Make your offer clear. Be transparent, and up-front. Give them a “reason-why” and a reason to act now. Whether you are selling a product or a service, help reduce the readers’ fear of risk. Stand behind what you offer.
10. Go easy on the hype. A good tip is to read your content out loud. If it sounds like a commercial, rewrite it to sound like a conversation. Be friendly, yet professional. Over-use of power-words will trigger the delete finger.
Review each newsletter before you send it out. Use these 10 rules for writing successful ezines as a checklist and you’ll be ten steps ahead of your competitors.
For more leading edge ezine tips check out my partner’s blog CoachEzines.