Question: when was the first time you checked your email?
I mean -- EVER.
The first time I checked mine was in 1999. (The internet reached us late in North Wales, *blush*...)
It felt like some kind of magic.
I also discovered what a “text message” was in this period.
And, hair straighteners.
It was a year of profound changes for me...
But fast forward to today, and for most of us, hair straighteners are par for the course and checking email is a CHORE.
No magic left.
Just a whole lotta spam and junk.
So how do you create emails that bring magic to your subscribers?
That make them smile like Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail" when they open them?
Here are 7 quick tips to get you started and show you how to write better email newsletters:
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1. Use your subscribers' names
Of course, this means you actually have to collect their names when they sign up to hear from you.
And yes, it requires a TINY BIT more effort from them to type their names into your opt-in form.
1) Do you really want subscribers who see a box on your sign-up form to enter their name and think "WHOA, that's an unreasonable ask! Get me outta here!!!"
2) Doing this will let you personalize your emails in an awesome and conversational way.
2. USE EMOJIS, GIFS, COLOR AND/OR IMAGES
Now, I'm not saying to turn your emails into an all-singing, all-dancing kaleidoscope of color like something out of the Wizard of Oz.
And you don't want to overload your emails with gifs and images in case that makes them harder for your mailing service provider to deliver.
But using one here and there in your emails will definitely give them some extra va-va-voom.
3. MAKE YOUR EMAILS EASY TO SKIM
For starters, check that the width of your emails isn't super wide (you may have to go into your email template settings to do this).
Around 400-600px is ideal.
Adjusting the width of your emails means that your readers' screen-shattered eyes don't have to work quite so hard to dart back and forth over sentences that seem to stretch for miles across their screens.
Also, bold sections of text that you want your readers to pay attention to.
And don't write in massive, chunky paragraphs that make your email look more like a postmodern novel than a quick message to a friend!
4. USE ONE OF THESE 3 TYPES OF SUBJECT LINES
Everyone says "write a fantastic subject line".
But how about taking the pressure off yourself for a minute?
Stop aiming for "fantastic" and try using one of these three types of subject lines (that have all been shown to be effective):
- Referencing a problem that you're helping them solve
- Outlining a benefit
Write a few options for each type next time you draft an email newsletter, and choose the one (or two, if you have the option to A/B test) that you think you'd be most likely to click on.
5. HAVE AN ATTENTION-GRABBING OPENING
I used to be a literature student and there was a phrase that we'd use in literary analysis called in medias res (yup, I really did just go there and use Latin in this blog post...!)
It means "in the middle of the thing", and you'd use it when a book, chapter or story opened by throwing you straight into the middle of something exciting.
Try doing that in some of your email newsletters (rather than opening with a polite-but-not-especially-exciting "I hope all is well with you"...)
6. WRITE IN YOUR OWN STYLE
Don't stress about trying to write like other people whose newsletters you love.
If you think about it, you probably read emails from a whole bunch of people with very different writing styles.
And the reason you love each of them isn't because they write in such-and-such a way.
It's because they write in a way that feels natural and easy to them -- in their own voice, rather than trying to imitate someone else's.
Do yourself a favor and do the same.
7. ACTUALLY WRITE THE DAMN EMAILS!
Not every newsletter you write has to be a masterpiece.
It doesn't have to be crazy long or crazy insightful.
But you still have to write the bloody things on a regular basis if you want people to remember who you are!!
Remember: done is better than brilliant.
Sent is better than great.
So if you've been putting off emailing your list...
Go drop them a note.
Take 15-20 minutes to do it.
I KNOW you have something you can say.
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