Email marketing is still one of the most effective communication channels for marketers. But as the average attention span gets shorter, the average inbox busier, it is imperative to not send out average newsletters.
Storytelling in e-newsletter
Many of us view email marketing as sending out targeted, segmented, sequential campaigns. But that is only the science part of it. To hook and keep readers engaged, storytelling comes into play.
You can build up suspension and expectation just like producing TV series. Examples include email courses - where marketers provide educational value to readers. A bigger umbrella term is "drip campaigns". However, we are not discussing the technical details of how the emails are triggered here.
In the context of newsletters, marketers can gradually build up value and brand familiarity through storytelling. Examples:
- Sharing personal stories or success stories of others.
- Having interested and relevant themes (not just design-wise)
- Offering irresistible freebies that tie in with the story theme.
Don't forget the technical side
Although obvious, many make the rookie mistake of sending out emails with broken images, dead links and so on. Thus, test if you email displays are working properly on different email clients or mobile devices. It is always a good practice to give readers the option to read plain text emails if rich HTML format is blocked.
Unsubscription is not that bad
If you are measuring your email campaigns using vanity metrics, you will most likely lose sleep over a high unsubscribe rate or a sudden hike.
Like open rate doesn't give marketers a meaningful picture on it own. It is better to have a small email list of active and engaged audiences than a huge list of mildly engaged or not engaged at all contact.
The lesson: Monitor the engagement rate with metrics such as clickthrough, conversion and bounce rates. When you notice inactive subscribers, try re-engaging them first. Otherwise, don't be afraid to clean up your email list so that it only contains high-quality leads.
Case in point: HubSpot purged 250, 000 subscribers from its list to avoid sending out graymail - "email you technically opted in to receive but don't really want." They even implemented an automatic workflow that unsubscribes unengaged subscribers.