We all know UX matters on your website and in your product, but people forget that it matters in the emails you send as well. Apply these 15 email newsletter UX tips to your email marketing efforts, and you'll create a newsletter that people will love to read. This will result in more opens, more clicks, and more sales for your business, and much happier email subscribers around the world.
You know the importance of a great User Experience on your website and within your product, but a lot of people overlook the importance of UX when it comes to the marketing emails you send.
A newsletter with positive UX will grip your subscribers, leading to more opens, clicks and sales for your business.
Unlike your website or product, where UX is often a question of design and information architecture, the UX of your newsletter is more about the relationship that this forms with your subscribers and customers.
Here are 15 Email Newsletter UX Tips, which your subscribers will love and which you can use to increase the revenue of your business.
1. Send from You, not your company
People connect with other people, not corporations.
No matter what Mitt Romney may tell you, corporations aren’t people. An email from “Bob Jones” is much more compelling than an email from “Whatever Enterprises Limited.” Send from you and you’re using email in the spirit that it was intended, as a person to person communication.
2. Avoid ‘Do Not Reply” Email Address
Email is a two-way communication. Send messages from a real email address that you or someone on your staff actively monitors. The replies you gather will be a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of your newsletters, and gather feedback from your subscribers.
3. Write Clear, Informative Subject Lines
The purpose of the email subject lines is to tell people what your email is about. Sure, you may get good opens with the odd mysterious subject line, but in the long term it will hurt your credibility.
4. Fulfil the Promise of the Subject Line Right Away
If your subject line begins with “An Amazing UX Secret” your first sentence better be about that amazing UX secret.
People are busy and won’t scroll through your whole email to find it buried down there somewhere. Fulfil the promise of your subject line at the very beginning of your email, and people will trust you and want to read more.
5. Use Frequent, Clear Calls to Action
Most emails you send to your list will have a clear call to action, an action you want people to take upon reading your email.
Keep it clear, use only one call to action rather than two or three, but make this one call to action frequent. If you’re writing about your latest blog post, include at least three links to that blog post throughout your email, so it’s as easy as possible for people to click through.
6. Make it Easy to Unsubscribe
Don’t be shy about your unsubscribe link. If people don’t want to be on your list anymore, let them leave. They’ll just drag
your stats down by not opening your emails and, even worse, hitting the ‘spam’ button. Better to have a small, engaged, targeted list than a massive list of freebie seekers.
7. Be Yourself
People like emails from people, not companies, as I started earlier.
So, prove that you’re a human being!
Mention aspects of your life casually throughout your emails to make you seem relatable, someone that they can connect with.
“Gotta wrap this email up now, my husband’s calling me for dinner, click here to read that post I mentioned – you’ll love it.”
8. Give Value, Don’t Just Sell
When people get another email from you, their knee jerk reaction should be excitement.
They should drop whatever else they’re doing just to open and read your email.
To do this, condition people to expect value from you. 2/3 of the email you send should be about giving, 1/3 or less should be about selling.
9. Be Entertaining
People are bored. To stand out and have an email newsletter with great UX, be entertaining. No matter what subject you’re writing about, find an angle to make it interesting, and infuse your emails with this attitude. See this post on UsabilityTools blog (by yours truly) for an example of how the Usability Tools team put an entertaining new spin on a classic tool.
10. Email Frequently, but not too frequently
If you email your newsletter every 6 weeks, they’ll most likely forget who you are.
If you email them every 5 minutes, they’ll want to reach through the internet and strangle you.
So, keep it balanced but as a rule more communication is better. It comes down to the expectations your subscribers have. Which brings me to
11. Warmly Welcome New Subscribers
Have an awesome welcome email which makes people feels great about signing up, brings them into your overarching story, and conditions their expectations as to your newsletter. Tell them who you are, why they’ll benefit from being there, how often you’ll be contacting them, and what you’ll be contacting them about.
12. Use Images, Tactfully
Images should clarify your message, not distract from it.
OR they should entice curiosity, and get people clicking.
If you’re using images, make sure they have a purpose, and make them clickable through to your call to action. Don’t get bogged down with worrying about a super fancy newsletter, an elegant design with tactful use of images to break up the text is all you need.
13. Tell Stories
What really draws people into to you and your newsletter are the stories that you tell.
Tell captivating stories and case studies related to your niche, and don’t always finish them. Use open loops and cliffhangers to keep people curious, and you’ll notice your open rates skyrocketing as people anxiously await your next instalment.
14. Segment Your List and Send Targeted Emails
Not everyone on your list will be interested in everything you have to say.
Use click tracking and visitor behaviour to segment your list based on the specific interests of your subscribers, as well as how committed / advanced they are in your funnel.
Don’t just blast your whole list every time. Be a surgeon.
15. Mention Subscribers By Name
This is a great little way to really get engagement and take the user experience to the next level.
Every now and then, send an email to your newsletter that draws on personal interactions you’ve had with your list. Get their permission first, and use it in a story. “John Smith wrote to them the other day and asked an awesome question, which I thought I’d answer for you today.”
This reinforces the fact that you’re real, and shows that you listen to your subscribers.
Apply these tips to build an email newsletter that people will love to be a part of. The more they feel connected to you, the more your subscribers will be eager to buy what you sell.
Treat your list like a community or tribe, and delight them at every opportunity.
About the author:
A former member of the UsabilityTools team, Nathan Thomas’s first online business came out of a hobby and paid his way through university, growing a newsletter of over 20,000 subscribers and earning a mention in the New York Times. After Nathan sold the company he traveled the world for two years, and now shares his email marketing advice on his blog NewsletterMarketing.IO