What Makes a Newsletter a Trendsetter?

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Last winter, a study entitled “The Social Breakup” made the claim that “77 percent of consumers report being more cautious about providing their e-mail address to companies versus last year.” Yet this year, the fear of being un-followed seems to have subsided and brands are back to refocusing their collective creative energies on email marketing campaigns. Thanks in large part to smartphones and tablets, branded content like newsletters are actually getting readers. In the spirit of this resurgence, we wondered what makes a really great, readable digital newsletter?

The easy answer is, as always, creative content. Nobody wants to read or even glance at a newsletter with zero personality. The best newsletters floating around the web have videos, articles with eye-catching titles and snazzy layouts that make a delete-happy reader stop dead in their tracks. The latest tablets are now equipped with direct access to personal emails, meaning newsletters with that extra zing are more likely to be devoured like popular blogs and websites are by tablet enthusiasts. There is no reason a company newsletter shouldn’t have the same visual impact that an online magazine or blog has.

Another thing all great newsletters have in common is a diversity in articles. Three pieces blabbing on about the same thing is no one’s idea of a party. It’s refreshing to read a newsletter that can balance all the marketing mumbo jumbo along with the human interest stories, product profiles and a little dash of humor, too. A variety of voices in newsletters helps shake up the monotony as well while lightening the work load for the online marketing guru. We love it when we see articles in newsletters written by the CEO as well as the mail room clerk and receptionist.

Yet the biggest component of a great email newsletter has to be the front page. That study we mentioned at the top of the blog also found “91 percent of consumers have unsubscribed from opt-in marketing e-mails.” This means our newsletters have to look great, read brilliantly and load in a matter of seconds. Otherwise, we wind up deleted and dumped like the emails that 91 percent said goodbye to. But great newsletters can be a snap, especially if you have the right people (that would be us, by the way).

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