I read e-newsletters but only under three conditions. First, I already know the company (and usually its owner) and, second, something in the email newsletter itself strikes my interest (a photo or headline). The third condition is independent of the others: I have nothing better to do.
Clearly, as a business owner with an e-newsletter, you do not want to wait for your customers to have nothing better to do before reading what you send them. That means you have to make sure your email newsletter contains content that will interest them enough to read further.
This blog has described many of the components of interesting content but for the moment, let’s focus on the photo and headline. One great photo specific to your business is worth 20 or thirty clip art or generic photos. A photo that shows a product or service in use, preferably with an actual customer, is priceless.
Headlines should avoid overused adjectives like “state-of-the-art” or “unique” or “unparalleled.” In fact, the strongest headlines avoid adjectives altogether, focusing on specific nouns and verbs (“Lose 50 Pounds in 5 Days”). People like reading about the 10 best-ways-to or 3 tips-from-the-experts. They feel that they are getting maximum value for their reading time.
Other great headline openings are “How to…” and “5 Reasons Why…” Be careful when using headlines that ask a question. You want to make sure the question is an invitation to read on and not an invitation for a resounding, discussion-ending “yes” (“Are you happy with your haircut?”) or “no” (“Do you want to be more productive at work?”).
One last comment: my original reasons for opening an email newsletter don’t seem to matter so much with print newsletters, and I have noticed this is true of most people. Mail gets attention. So it might pay a start-up business to send out a print newsletter, switching to an e-newsletter after their mailing list is secure.
For good advice and great content for your newsletter–print or email–contact me at TWP Marketing & Technical Communications.