Listen, these things aren’t going to blow your mind – deep down you probably know them all already, but the idea is that having it all in one place to refer to will be helpful for you. And the formulas might just be something you find useful when you’re writing or reviewing copy.
Top tip: Data is your secret weapon – analyse the results of every newsletter your send out to find out what’s working and what’s not. For example, if you’re getting an incredible open rate but seeing no uplift in sales/visits to your website (whatever your KPI is here), you may want to look at your distribution list, service offering, messaging, or call to action.
- A subject line that makes people feel great – and compelled to open it
Unless your loyal following opens emails from you no matter what, the subject line of an email newsletter will make or break your open rate.
So, what’s the secret?
Behavioural psychology. Specifically, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Plus, a bit of luck on how busy your recipient is when they see your email in their inbox – but this will become less about guesswork the more unmissable content you send out and have available to analyse.
Maslow’s neat little pyramid basically says that once we’ve had our basic needs met – food, water, sleep, and our safety needs met – warmth and freedom from danger, our primary needs become attention and praise from others. Need proof? Look at the meteoric rise of social media in the last 10 years.
If, with your e-newsletter, you can create something that will make people feel good or that they can share to feel popular, clever, or funny, you’re onto a winner.
Keep in mind that all content is a mix of science and art – it has to look good, read well, and be something that hits the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – self-esteem and self-actualisation. We recently heard of a brand campaign costing more than £500,000 that didn’t directly or indirectly result in a single piece of new business. Yikes, someone isn’t into the science.
Top tip: Write the primary objective of your newsletter in 60 characters or less and refer to it with every new section of copy you include. Then ask yourself if that section supports your objective. At the end, re-write the subject line using insights from your previous newsletters, and the formula in point two, below.
- Irresistible headline and copy formulas
In the words of Jennifer Anniston for L’Oréal, ‘here comes the science’…
Just as with your email subject line, how you convey your message is as important as the message itself. And success comes from understanding the human brain and how we’re wired to respond.
First, what’s your primary message? It’s tempting to pack every offer or latest bit of news into one newsletter, but you’ll be better off picking one or two key talking points; we all struggle to process more than one piece of information at a time.
Second, pick your primary response. Do you want the content of your newsletter to entertain, inspire, educate, or convince your audience? If you’re trying to be funny and educate someone and convince them to buy something from you, you may end up confusing your audience and turning them off. If you’re funny and make them laugh, they may feel an affinity to your brand that encourages them to look at you a bit more seriously.
Third, check out these three formulas for winning headlines (there are many many more, but this is a good place to start):
- The how to headline – How to write headlines that will make more people read them
This is one of the most popular headline types, and for good reason. Headlines and posts that include trigrams (three-word phrases) like ‘how to get’ and ‘how to make’ ranked 18 and 19 respectively in BuzzSumo’s Top 20 headline phrases on Facebook in 2019/2020, with average engagement of nearly 3,500.
- The tutorial headline – A quick tutorial on effective content creation
With education a huge part of our careers now – did you know that ‘more organisations report that learning is valued by senior leaders: 83% either agree or strongly agree, up from 75% in 2020 – offering tutorials is already a strong proposition. Making it ‘quick’ or ‘comprehensive’ makes the proposition even more enticing, don’t you think?
- The explanation headline – Why agency partners make you more effective
Often seen as clickbait, this headline formula has a bad reputation, but as long as you’re backing up your claim in the body of your e-newsletter, this is a great option for product and servicing messaging alike.
- A call to action that’s a bit more than ‘read more’
According to AddRoll, adding a call to action (CTA) to your Facebook page can increase click through rates by 285%. WordStream agrees, finding that emails with a single CTA increased clicks by 371%.
So, a CTA is important, but what if you could supercharge yours and make it a bit more than ‘read more’? Here’s some inspiration for you…
- Sign up for weekly goodies sounds better than Sign up for our weekly newsletter
- I’m in is more enticing than sign up
- If this sounds familiar, let’s talk is more empathetic than get in touch
- Just dropped is more exciting than buy now
We’re ready to be judged on our headlines and CTAs. Come at us…