We have shown you earlier in the Moodlepreneur™ series how and why email can be a good marketing channel for your courses. In this post, we offer clear tips on creating and formatting email newsletters so that they will actually acquire and retain customers for you.
You’ve Got Mail (Now Open It)
Taking the time to create a newsletter is pointless if people are going to open your emails. Do your best to create an irresistible subject line that your readers will be compelled to click on to learn more. In order to do this, put yourself in the shoes of your audience and think about what they would feel compelled to click on and open. The most important rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t click on it, neither will they. Here are a few ideas for creating clickable subject lines:
- Use numbers: For example, ‘5 reasons why you should …’ and ‘3 tips for …’.
- Use the lead piece of content in the newsletter in the subject line: For example ‘How to …’ or ‘Answered: [burning question X]’ or ‘[leading authority in your industry] reveals ways to [do a thing your readers desire]’.
- Create curiosity: For example, ‘Stop [doing X]’ or ‘’The sooner you read this the better’ or ‘Get rid of [a problem or pain point] once and for all’.
The core of a good email newsletter is bite-sized content for which readers have an appetite. If a newsletter lacks tasty content, people will simply unsubscribe or ignore future newsletters from you. What your potential customers will find tasty is information that is useful to them, rather than sales messages from you. Yet you do need to include some sales messages in your newsletters. A sensible and proven approach is to blend the two.
Design Like A Pro
You can create and format your own newsletters by hand if you know HTML. But tools dedicated to the task make it easier. For a professional image, it’s good to have a consistent template and layout that is instantly recognizable as your own, with only the content varying. Newsletter software helps a lot with keeping things consistent, and it’s easy to use. Importantly, dedicated newsletter tools also make sure the newsletter is readable on mobile devices, which are where the majority of newsletter content is consumed. Most email software allows you to preview your newsletter in your browser as it will appear on mobile screens. Email newsletter services also track email opens and clickthroughs, which is essential to monitoring the effectiveness of your newsletter campaign.
Balance Sales Messaging
It is good to aim for a 75%-25% split between useful content and your own marketing messages. You can write the useful content yourself in the form of brief feature articles, or curate the content from around the web. Make sure the content is useful to your target audience – something that will improve their daily lives. This willingness to be helpful, rather than salesy, is the key to effective email newsletters.
Vary Your Marketing Messages
It is important to keep your marketing messages varied, because if each newsletter contains the same calls to action, readers might start ignoring them and just read your helpful content. Here are some suggestions for marketing messages:
- A featured product. An image and brief description of one of your courses with a link to buy it. To create urgency, you could offer a discounted price for the next 48 hours or similar.
- Upcoming events calendar. Any events at which you are appearing, speaking or that you are contributing to.
- Give a special offer on a course if they sign up today.
- A link to a video about your course.
- Any freebies you have to give away when a customer buys a course.
- If your website has an FAQ section, link to it in the newsletter.
- Offer a preview of part of a course as a taster.
- Include a testimonial from a happy customer.
- Add a case study of a customer whose life has been improved after taking your course.
Get Social And Linkback
Make sure to include all your social buttons: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and any others you have. Include as many links to your site as you can: make your logo and other images clickable links that send people to your site. The average person spends 51 seconds reading a newsletter, so give them something to do once they have finished looking at the content, otherwise they will flit away.
A Newsletter Example
As many of you already know, we have a weekly newsletter here at MoodleNews that is published every Thursday. You can view all of the archives of our newsletter without signing up here. (But you can also sign up here!). This newsletter currently goes to almost 3500 people and every week more than 66% percent open the email and more than 20% actually click on one, or more, of the linked articles.
PS – We would LOVE to have your feedback on how to improve our Newsletter to make it more relevant. To give us feedback:
- Simply ‘reply’ to the newsletter
- Post a comment below
- Contact us at this link
This Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: Course Merchant, the leading provider of eCommerce, Training Management and Digital Marketing software for the Education and Training industry. Click here to learn more.