Might as well jump head into 2006 and address the future of email newsletters. Yes, there continue to be delivery problems, with some open rates averaging as low as 25-40%. Is there hope? Of course.
Research from the Jakob Nielsen Alertbox shows that readers prefer email newsletters for the following 3 reasons:
- Informative: They keep users up to date (mentioned by two-thirds of the users).
- Convenient: They’re delivered straight to the user’s information central and require no further action beyond a simple click.
- Timely: They offer current information and real-time delivery.
Newsletters that leverage these advantages (and other points that users mentioned) have a stable future. To survive, newsletters need only give users specific benefits that help them with life or work issues in the here and now.
So email newsletters must be more scannable. This same research shows that only 11% of recipients read a newsletter thoroughly. There is too much information and too much email to expect that your newsletter will get the attention it deserves.
Solutions? Use lists and bulleted points. Or, excuse me:
- Use lots of lists
- Use frequent subheadings
- Be brief, get to the point
- Don’t spend your time writing long discourses that will not be read
- Make your longer articles available for those dedicated readers who want to know more, by using "to continue reading" links.
- Focus on benefits to readers, what’s in it for them
Here’s wishing you continued success in 2006 with your newsletters and ezines. If you think about it, these solutions are actually going to make your job of writing better ezines a whole lot easier.
Providing of course that you know your subject well. Of course you do! The trick is in being about to boil everything down to essential concepts.
In my own newsletter services, over at my main web site www.customizednewsletters.com, in 1998, I started writing 2000 word articles, treating leadership development in depth. Then, I created 1000 and 600 word versions. I am currently revising older articles into 400 word tips, distilling main concepts.
I am a big believer in delivering quality content in brief bits. Or, at least I’m working on being brief.
I guess I better stop writing this post, before I become a hypocrite!