Three Tips for a Better Email Newsletter

This may bring back memories of Netscape and websites with frames, but there was a time when a radio station email newsletter was a really, really cool idea.

How the years have flown!

Now, getting out the station email newsletter is just a chore for many people who are responsible for them.  It shows.  “Open rates” … the percentage of people who receive them who open them … are often in the cellar.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

For a station whose target audience includes a lot of folks who listen at work, and receive the newsletter at their work email address, there’s the opportunity to be a welcome break in the workday.  That’s a whole lot better than being fodder for the spam folder.  So if your target still frequently emails, then email is a good way to talk with them.

ACTION ALERT: Here are three things you can do starting with the next newsletter you send.

1.  INCLUDE SOME EXCLUSIVE CONTENT. It doesn’t have to be big.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  But you want your station newsletter to be more than just a rehashing of what people already hear on the air or see on your website.  There has to be some regular value in signing up for your newsletter.  It can be a special or a secret content … or an extra way to win an existing on-air contest … or a list of new releases or format music history in the next couple of weeks … or some other special content that relates directly to your brand.

Make sure you include something special like that every single time you send out a newsletter.  Teach your fans that there’s a reason to open your newsletter.

2.  PUT THOUGHT INTO THE SUBJECT LINE. What’s the real benefit to a listener of opening that particular newsletter?  That’s what you want your subject to be.  Again, it has to be something actually in the newsletter, whether it’s a secret or special contest, some interesting info, or a chance to engage with the station somehow.  You want to make people a promise with the subject line, and then make them glad they opened it up.

Think about the exclusive content you’re including.  Music info … contest info … some special advantage to win or lifestyle info that only you have … these are all things to think about for the subject line.

Finally, keep the quality of the promise high, and the hype level low.  Write it with no exclamation points, so you pass through spam filters more easily.  “When To Listen To Win Bob Seger Tickets” is a lot more powerful than “WAAA HAS YOUR FREE BOB SEGER TICKETS!!!”

3.  REDUCE x2. If you send out a newsletter every week, cut back to once every other week.  If you feature more than four or five items, cut back to only the most important stuff.

This is all part of making your newsletters special.  Start growing the attitude around the station that not everything gets in the newsletter.  Going from sending out a newsletter every week to every other week will probably raise your open rate a few percentage points by itself.  Cutting your content back to three or four items … and only the most important stuff to your brand … will make your newsletter look and feel more valuable.  If there are items you have to include above and beyond that, graphically make them look like ads and put them at the bottom of the newsletter.  They need to look different from the key content you send out.

Bring these up at the next promotion meeting, and re-commit to sending your audience something meaningful that helps you reach your goals!

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