E-mail newsletters are very tricky things to get right. If you weigh them down with too much information, people will likely skim right over them. If they don’t contain enough valuable resources, you risk having users unsubscribe. A variety of problems can happen if your newsletter isn’t executed properly that will impact your brand’s credibility and image in the blink of an eye. To help you plan out the content you send to your subscribers, we’ve come up with seven tips for a better e-mail newsletter.

1. Respect Your Reader

There’s nothing worse than alienating your followers because your newsletters are filled with content that isn’t relative to your brand. Take a minute to define your audience by gathering demographics and deciding which topics will be of interest to them. If you’re an ice cream retailer, send out a newsletter about ice cream or material that has to do with ice cream. Don’t start talking about the different kinds of pasta you experienced on your latest trip to Italy. Do you catch our flow? Respect your reader and they’ll trust that your monthly newsletter will contain valuable information that will be beneficial to them. Fail to do so and you’re bound to have a significant portion of your users unsubscribe.

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2. Mix It Up

Nobody wants to read a long, unstimulating newsletter containing article after article of content. Try to mix up your newsletter’s layout with photos, quotes, short blurbs, resource links and testimonials as much as possible. It’ll set your content apart from everybody else’s, especially if you’ve got a great handle on HTML and use eye-catching visuals to get people’s attention.

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Like a good martini, a newsletter should be well-mixed. 

3. Make Your Call To Action Crystal Clear

Often, newsletters are sent out by marketers with the specific goal of having readers make an action after reading them. Be clear on what you’d like your followers to do once they’ve finished going through your content. Would you like them to sign up for something, submit feedback, click on a specific link, give you their e-mail addresses or download a giveaway? Spell out which move you’d like your readers to make. If they enjoy and appreciate the newsletter you’ve sent out based on the two steps above, chances are they’ll respond to your call to action.

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Try to look a little happier than President Obama while doing it. 

4. Research & Proofread

Spelling mistakes, grammar errors, inaccurate or factually incorrect information can severely harm your brand’s credibility and image. If you’re going to be writing subjectively in your newsletter, make sure you’ve got all of your facts straight and your words spelled properly. Consider providing information such as statistics, expert opinions and quotes to prove that you’ve done your homework. If you’re sourcing images or quotes, make sure to give credit where it’s due.

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5. Use Metrics

The great part about e-mail newsletters versus printed ones is that there are services available to track their metrics. You have no way of knowing if a printed newsletter went straight into somebody’s recycling bin or if they loved it so much that they cut out one of its articles and pasted it onto their walls. With newsletter metrics, you can find out how many people have received your email, who’s email addresses bounced, how many people opened your newsletter, how many people forwarded it, who unsubscribed and more. Talk about invaluable information. We love using Mail Chimp, Constant Contact or iContact for our newsletter metrics.

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6. Make Unsubscribing Easy

Ok, we know, the last thing you want is for people to be able to easily unsubscribe from your newsletters. You have to give them an opt-out option though. If somebody doesn’t want to get your content via e-mail, chances are they’re REALLY going to spread their annoyed feelings about you once they realize that it’s nearly impossible to unsubscribe from your newsletters. Avoid needless bad press by making it easy for recipients to unsubscribe from your newsletter if they aren’t interested in reading it.

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7. Test Your Newsletter Before Sending It Out, Because You Can’t Take It Back

With all of the sexy HTML graphics you’re going to be using, you’d better be safe than sorry and test out your well thought-out newsletter before sending it to all of your readers. With testing, you can catch any mistakes you’ve made and make sure that your newsletter is looking as beautiful as possible before presenting it to an audience. This step is where you should be double-checking for any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or factual discrepancies. Campaign Monitor and Mail Chimp offer excellent e-mail testing services. After uploading and importing your HTML content, they allow you to test your template in about 20 different mail clients to make absolutely sure that everything works. The set of tests costs about $5.00, so have all of your tweaking finished by the time you hit send.

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