Some of us send out email newsletters as part of our efforts to expand our reach and give readers the very latest and best that we have to offer. In fact, most of you are reading these important words after clicking the link on an email newsletter announcing that The Kicker is fresh for this week.
They are an art unto themselves. A lot of smart people put a lot of thought into the look of these emails, the message they convey, even the typeface they use. One of those people is Sarah Marshall. She is the social media editor for the Wall Street Journal, among other things. (Follow her on Twitter @SarahMarshall or Sarahmarshall3 on Tumblr.)
This week, on the occasion of notable achievements from a couple of web-based mobile news aggregators, Marshall gave some tips on making the best email newsletter. I won’t run through them all. You can read them yourself.
But I wanted to point out a couple that may be less than obvious.
I use Mail Chimp to send out The Kicker email blast. I know many of you are familiar with the platform. You can search for it on Google. It’s not difficult. Any sixth-grader can send out a mass email this way. It takes about 20 minutes to set it up with the appropriate links, and I try to do it early Friday morning. Why? Well, it’s not an exact science, but I figure that way people all across the United States have an opportunity to see it before they leave for the weekend. I send it on Friday because it seems like an appropriate time, at the end of the work week, to take a step back and consider the wider journalism world. Marshall agrees: Timing is important on these blasts. …
She also suggests that pretty pictures aren’t very effective on mobile devices. If that’s true, that will be a significant paradigm shift from the desktop Web, which seems to be more visual all the time. I’m not sure I agree. Do you?
Lastly, she says that those click-throughs we all covet may not be the point. (In case you are wondering, 46 percent of recipients opened the last email I sent out updating The Kicker. The industry average is 17 percent, so thanks for reading!) Marshall says you aren’t harvesting clicks, you are furthering your brand. You are giving mobile readers a quick update. You are becoming an indispensable part of reader’s lives.
Nothing is easy. You even have to give the email you send analytical thought.