Guide to email marketing: how to make your newsletters stand out

Here, we take a look at how email marketing can help benefit your business and how you can make your newsletters stand out.

As the internet and the world of commerce becomes increasingly entwined, our email inboxes are constantly overwhelmed with commercial newsletters, offering news, special announcements, deals, and contests. And the number of businesses using this method of communication is only increasing. But with so many emails flooding our inboxes each day, how do we distinguish between junk and valuable content?

Most people use the subject line to judge whether a newsletter is interesting or relevant, and those that don’t make the cut usually get deleted or ignored immediately, confined to the depths of the spam folder. So how can you ensure that the content you’ve poured your heart and soul into doesn’t suffer this disappointing fate? Let’s take a look at the best ways to boost your open rates.

Define your specific goals

Before you start with email marketing, you need to have a list of clearly defined objectives. If you don’t know specifically what you want to achieve with your newsletters, it’s going to show in the form of thin content and erratic delivery. This will translate into lower open rates and could potentially even lead to people cancelling their subscription to your newsletter entirely. We’ve written before about the importance of ensuring your newsletters are tailored to the appropriate audience – the “spray and pray” simply does not work. Whether it’s competitions, news highlights, or sales announcements, work out exactly what information or services you wish to provide. This will help to keep you on track as you plan content for future newsletters.

Have a professional and branded email domain

Having your own email domain creates an air of professionalism and therefore makes your communications appear trustworthy and reliable. Additionally, personalised email domains can communicate a lot about the nature of the company, which helps the recipient of your newsletter decide whether the content will be interesting or relevant. The good news is that this is easy to do: simply check whether your brand name is available as an email address, and you can get up and running fairly quickly. Although, if it’s already been taken, you may have to get a little creative.

The main danger of sending newsletter updates from a personal address or a domain that does not have an obvious link to your business is that the recipient could immediately dismiss the content because there is no indication as to what the email contains. Besides the trust that a personalised email address for your brand fosters, it also helps to strengthen your branding. By ensuring that your brand name is consistently present across all marketing areas, both online and offline, the likelihood that people will remember and feel familiar with your brand is significantly increased. Plus, it simply looks far more professional.

Write an eye-caching subject line

There are many ways to do this. While some companies use intriguing, open questions as a kind of bait to encourage users to click, others rely on emphasising keywords using all capitals, usually right at the beginning of the title. Another relatively new option is the use of emojis or symbols, which gives your subject line an element of visual appeal. As with many aspects of email marketing, each of these approaches have their positives and negatives.

For instance, through attempting to generate intrigue with an open question, it’s possible that your audience may simply ignore the email because it doesn’t communicate its purpose. On the other hand, focusing too heavily on including key phrases (especially in all caps), or using emojis and symbols too liberally, runs the risk of appearing spammy. Therefore, it’s best to experiment with your subject lines in order to find the sweet spot between these two extremes. Keeping the needs and attitudes of your target audience firmly in mind is particularly important for this process.

Link it to your social media platforms

In modern online marketing, creating a holistic brand identity across all platforms is crucial. Plus, when someone opens your newsletter, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to direct them to somewhere where they can actively engage with your brand. Social media is ideal for this purpose. When crafting your newsletter templates, ensure that your social media links are prominent and give your audience an incentive to follow them wherever possible. For example, if your email is about a new product, it would be a good idea to direct them to your Instagram profile and create a hashtag for people to show off their new purchase.

See also: Reactivate your email list and re-engage subscribers

Owen Gough

Owen Gough

Owen Gough is a reporter for He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

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