How To Improve Your Newsletter: Part 1

Posted By: mattl

Last Updated: Tuesday May 17, 2016

While it is difficult to get users to agree to sign up for your mailing list it’s many times more difficult to keep them opening your email once they do sign up.  Here are some good battle tested general tips to improve your newsletter.

It’s Mail Time! It’s Mail Time!

Content First, Marketing Second

A lot of new email marketers fall into the trap of making their entire mailing a sales pitch.  Unless your site is built around rapidly adding products and deep discounts then you’re going to need to include some good content as well, or you risk your audience growing bored and unsubscribing.

If you’re already writing articles or blog posts then you should include some of that content in your mailing (consider giving subscribers a “sneak peak” at new articles).  Try to teach your customers something that is useful or interesting and related to your field.  For example, if you sell computers & computer accessories on your website you might include a list of tips for keeping your computer running smoothly, or a warning about a new Windows vulnerability.

The bonus here is that any content you write for your newsletter can be added as a page on your website and more content is always a good thing.

Stay On Schedule

It’s best to send your newsletter around roughly the same time every time you send it.  Not only because you will find that specific days & times convert better but also because loyal readers will appreciate that they can expect your newsletter at a certain time each week.

You can use this custom Google Analytics report to find your highest converting day of the week.  It’s not the best way to find the right time to send out your mailings but it’s a good starting point.

Once you have a sufficiently large mailing list you can begin to experiment with split testing different times / days of week to find what’s right for your specific use case.

Include Contests & Giveaways To Engage Your Subscribers

Contests are a great way to keep subscribers clicking into emails, even after they’ve already purchased from you.  A simple trivia question related to your field with a small value gift card is an easy way to get the ball rolling.

If you’re not in the business of selling products or services you can always just give away products that are somewhat related to your field.  Be on the lookout for cheap but cool items on the various wholesale sites like dealextreme.  Get creative, people love to win and you’ll be surprised how many people will be interested even if the “prize” is cheap.

Write Unique & Compelling Subject Lines

Don’t reuse the same subject line every week! It might convert well for a while but your longtime subscribers will see this and stop clicking (or worse, unsubscribe).  Here is a good subject line example for a site specializing in travel deals that is personal and includes a solid call to action.

✈ You Earned it! Spend This Weekend On The Beach for $249


You can even…

Occasionally Use An Emoji In The Subject Line

Example Of Emoji In Email

Yes they can be annoying, but for an email marketer they are a great way to make your email stand out from the pack and draw in some extra clicks.  This is especially true on mobile where the emojis are typically larger. This isn’t a one size fits all solution (😭 Loss Of Loved One Got You Down? 50% Off Slightly Irregular Coffins!) so make sure that it’s appropriate for your market first by testing.

You can view a list of Emojis (and what they look like on major operating systems) here.

Make Unsubscribing As Simple As Subscribing

You should include your own unsubscribe link very high in your mailing and again at the bottom.  Your unsubscribe process should be simple and painless, never require a user to login to their account to unsubscribe.

This may seem counter-intuitive, obviously you don’t want to lose members. Just remember that the only way someone is going to click unsubscribe is if you’ve annoyed them sufficiently to where they don’t want to be bothered by you anymore, they’re never going to convert into a customer and bothering them is just going to make them dislike you & your brand more.

Not doing this will lead a lot of users to click the unsubscribe link in their email client and oftentimes that will block your emails and report you as spam… this is the worst case scenario for you because when this happens enough it will affect deliverability for your entire mailing list.

Thanks For Reading!

Part 2 coming soon.

Have a great tip you want to share? Comment below!

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