In our last post, we went over some of the more technical aspects of perfecting eNewsletters. This week, we’re talking about what makes for strong eNewsletter content and how to get people opening your email and clicking.

1. Be Purposeful.
The golden rule of newsletters, and a lot of online communication, is to offer value. Spend some time thinking about what you do best and your area of expertise and how you can best relay helpful information to busy people on the go. Short, punchy and eye-catching are best for headlines, copy and CTAs. Your customers and clients signed up for a reason so don’t be afraid to give away some of your knowledge for free. You’ll always have more inspiring ideas and new things to offer, so never hoard your je-ne-sais-quoi out of fear you’ll run out. You won’t.

2. Know Your Brand. And How it Fits into Bigger Picture.
Don’t be too narrow in defining your focus and miss out on thinking about the lifestyle(s) of your audience and what their interests and hobbies are. Come up with themes you can discuss that are on-brand for you, but not just limited to your product or service. Interview someone in your industry and link to the content in the eNewsletter; tie into relevant news happenings and events and stay current; be a thought-leader in your field and help build community around your purpose.

3. Make It Mobile.
More people are opening emails on mobile devices. You can’t afford for your newsletter not to be optimized for smartphones, and this means certain design and visual considerations must be made. Making sure your design and system are optimized and responsive cross-platform isn’t just important these days, it’s a must. So if you’re evaluating eNewsletter platforms, like Mailchimp, send yourself a test email or two and open it on your own phone to make sure it’s mobile-friendly.

4. Highlight Media, Capture Attention.
eNewsletters are a highly visual medium. Communicating using bright simple icons, GIFs, incorporating interactive content and video, and using compelling images are critical to standing out. Text-heavy, visually unappealing eNewsletters with minimal graphics get closed immediately and might get deleted before even being opened. Or worse, people will unsubscribe. Hint: Include a “Read More” link to keep sections minimal. If your design, typography and layout don’t look good, have weird spacing issues, contain poor graphics or are otherwise janky, the content itself doesn’t even matter because your reader is already out the door.

5. Be Shareable.
Make social sharing easy and intuitive. Be creative in providing bite-sized pieces of content your readers might share, such as an interesting infographic or clever quote. Include clear and simple commands for finding and following you on your social channels.

All eNewsletters go through periods of trial and error, but the key is to keep an eye on open rates, click rates, and other metrics to identify patterns. Make sure you stay on top of what your audience does and doesn’t respond to. Offer incentives for filling out surveys and do occasional contests/giveaways to help keep your audience engaged and interested in keeping in touch with you.

Who’s doing a bang up job in the eNewsletter department? Share some shout-outs in the comments!