Top E-Newsletter Formatting Tips
Written by Dan Cypra
Just like the Internet, e-newsletters have evolved over time. What started as a convenient way to send out hot promotions, breaking news, and timely information to customers has become much more complex. Now, companies and Websites around the globe are adopting videos, multiple languages, polls, and real-time mailings in order to reel in visitors. Let’s take a look at these trends:
Video content. Video content can take multiple forms in e-newsletters. You can post breaking news clips about products; a site executive could pitch a new promotion. If you’ve just launched a new feature or have something to show your customers, don’t be afraid to use a program like Camtasia to make a screen recording. Then, insert the video into your newsletter.
Not every newsletter distribution service has the capability to put video into mailings, so make sure you check before producing your masterpiece. It’s also critical to make the video clickable; link straight to a relevant page on your site.
Foreign languages. If you’re an English speaker and receive a mailing in French, you’re probably going to hit the delete button faster than you can say “Eiffel Tower.” Likewise, if you’re primarily a French speaker, receiving a newsletter in English is likely to ruffle your truffles. Although you might have a cursory understanding of a foreign language, it would be much more pleasant to get an e-newsletter in your own native tongue.
Mailings that are written in multiple languages and sent to end users who speak them receive significantly higher click-through and open rates. You’ll be amazed at the difference. Pick three or four of the most-used languages based on where your users are located. Then, find people who speak them fluently and have them translate the newsletter for you. Do not paste your text into an online translator. These programs and Websites often provide a very rough translation that could do more harm than good.
If you have images, don’t forget to translate them as well. The entire process, as you might have guessed, takes a considerable amount of time. However, the rewards are well worth it. I can tell you from personal experience that providing newsletter content in multiple languages has a sizeable impact on the bottom line. This trend is quickly growing.
Polls and surveys. Interactive surveys have become quite popular in e-newsletters. They can be used for anything from weighing in on stories of the day to suggesting improvements for the site. Some online marketers have tinkered with polls in order to show the results in real-time as new respondents voice their choices.
Readers welcome interactive newsletters with open arms, making videos, polls, and surveys a growing “must have” in order to differentiate your product in the online marketplace. Check with your newsletter distribution service to see if a poll is doable.
Real-time mailings. Many newsletter services have “triggers” built in that enable a mailing to be sent automatically when a customer performs a certain action. For example, if a reader clicks on a link to read the news section of your site, an email might be sent to him or her suggesting related stories. Another common trigger opens a menu for a person to sign up to receive your newsletter. Some sites use reader birthdays to trigger mailings.
It’s exciting opting into a newsletter and then being sent the most current version within a few seconds. It’s also thrilling to receive an email on your birthday, anniversary, or graduation. It all depends on what information you’ve captured about your customers.
Don’t be afraid to use real-time mailings in order to provide the most interactive user experience possible. Just remember not to go overboard!
— Dan Cypra is an Internet gambling industry expert and writes for several of the leading poker news sites on the Web.