One of the first questions we ask of our website design clients is: what do you want visitors to do once you get them to your site? After “donate,” the next answer is usually “sign up for our newsletter.”
That makes sense — you want the first date to turn into a relationship after all. But do people want your newsletter? Do they even read them anymore?
The answer, apparently, is Yes. In a widely circulated essay in the New York Times last week, David Carr notes the email newsletters — as old school as it comes in digital age — are still “clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in you inbox can impose order on all that chaos.”
Later, he reminds us why most non-Spam email newsletters arrive in your box: more often than not, you asked for it. “It’s important content you want in list form, which seems like a suddenly modern approach,” Carr writes.
Rebecca Greenfield of Fast Company makes an argument that the revival of email newsletters is linked in part to the death of Google Reader, the RSS tool. She also makes another point: people crave curation.
On that, we especially agree. People are flooded with information. They like it but they want good information. That’s what a clear brand identify is for — to cut through the clutter. Similarly, an email newsletter cuts the clutter.
Sure, a lot of email newsletters are clutter. That doesn’t mean the medium dead. Rather, email newsletters remain essential if done right.
To that end, Hairpin has curated a select few email newsletter tips that we actually agree with:
- Tone: Make it personal, even if it represents your entire organization. Give it a voice. Build a bond.
- Subject Line: Go with content, not mystery. And keep it to 40 characters or so.
- Content: Keep it short and blurb-y. People scan email in between doing others stuff. Link to the full text on your blog or elsewhere.
- Mobile: Choose responsive templates that the recipient can read without adjusting the screen or a magnifying glass. Most people will be reading on their smart phone.
- Timing: Send in the morning — or even Sunday afternoon. You want your newsletter to sit atop the pile.
- Service: Choose one that plays nice with mobile and gives your graphic designer some flexibility. (We’re still high on MailChimp around here.)
We’ll be sharing more email marketing tips in the coming weeks — and perhaps we’ll let you know about them in our newsletter.
Shameless Marketing: Let Hairpin retool your group’s email newsletter. Check out some samples of our work below (shown in desktop view). Call us at 617-288-2020.