Author: Liz Willits

12 Exceptional Newsletters That Will Change Your Approach to Email Forever

The best email newsletters provide value and captivate subscribers week after week. That’s how smart email marketers get their audience to open, click, and share their newsletter again and again.

But how do you consistently produce and deliver an engaging newsletter? A little inspiration from the most successful email newsletters can help!

The AWeber team is constantly scouring the internet for the top email newsletters on the planet. Here, we narrow the results down to 12 of our favorite email newsletters.

1. Total Annarchy by Ann Handley

In her bi-weekly email newsletter Total Annarchy, Handley, a masterful digital marketer and author of “Everybody Writes,”  shares writing tips, links to useful content, and, as she says,“some high-spirited shenanigans.”

“The tone is unique, bold and confident, which I think many email newsletters lack these days. Ann is a true authority in content marketing and this newsletter isn’t afraid to make that known. I’d say it’s ‘long,’ but that might imply that it’s verbose and boring. It’s not. It’s thick, but in a good way— more like a hearty bowl of soup. Full of useful content, both original and curated. Can’t recommend this newsletter enough.”

– Tom Tate, Product Marketing Manager at AWeber

2. InVision Weekly Digest

A weekly email about the latest design trends, InVision packs their email newsletter with their most recent content, as well as curated articles from other brands.

We absolutely love their creative call-to-action button content. Plus, the simple design and concise content make this newsletter one you can skim in seconds.

“I really like the InVision newsletter because it contains content that is specific to my interests. The article titles and images are eye catching and easy to digest, making it easier for me to navigate the email quickly and efficiently.”

– Nicole Mascola, Brand Designer at AWeber

3. FoundersGrid

With more than 10,000 subscribers, FoundersGrid is a weekly email newsletter focused on delivering the best tech and startup news. It’s packed with valuable content in a digestible format.

“I like that it’s easy to digest. It’s a ‘Goldilocks’ type email — just enough content that can be quickly skimmed and consumed.”

– Erik Harbison, Chief Marketing Officer at AWeber

4. The Daily

Entrepreneur and business expert Jay Clouse reflects on his latest learnings from building his own business in his newsletter The Daily. His down-to-earth and human tone builds a relationship with subscribers that keeps them reading and coming back.

“Jay always brings his real self in his emails, but maybe my favorite part is very minor towards the bottom. He always adds his feelings on the day before, wins he had, and what he’s focused on. I love the way this adds a level of commitment and progress.”

– Mike Smith, Art Director at AWeber

5. Product Thoughts

For anyone who wants to learn about product management and business leadership, Product Thoughts is a must-subscribe. In a weekly email, the newsletter helps more than 1,500 product leaders stay on top of the latest strategies and tips.

“He includes a thought, something he’s working on, and a trend at the beginning — almost a short blog post — and then includes a curated section of good posts from around the web. It saves me a lot of time because I don’t have to search for this content myself.”

-Meghan Nesta, Product Manager at AWeber

 

6. Early to Rise by Craig Ballantyne

Week after week, Ballantyne delivers a well-written and insightful newsletter – Early to Rise – which provides his own thoughts on health, wealth, and life. The secret to his success? His deliberate, consistent, and unusual writing schedule.

Ballantyne wakes up at 4 a.m. every day. For two hours straight, he writes. And writes. And writes. He calls this window his ‘magic time,’ when he’s most productive.

“The early wakeup call works. Craig churns out content. He’s always in my inbox — offering original wisdom about fitness, health, business, and self-improvement. His advice is typically wrapped in interesting and relevant anecdotes, so it’s creative and never boring. His consistency and unique delivery makes his newsletter a must-open.”

– Jill Fanslau, Content Marketing Manager at AWeber

7. Jocelyn K. Glei’s Newsletter

Providing value in your newsletter doesn’t always translate to a long-form blog post or video. Your audience might appreciate other forms of content as well — like beautiful art. Jocelyn K. Glei’s newsletter mixes a bit of art and content in her emails.

“Jocelyn always features various artists work in her newsletter, giving credit where credit is due. But beyond that her links and articles are always the best curated from around the web.”

– Mike Smith, Art Director at AWeber

8. Smashing Newsletter

Some email newsletters stand out because they’re unique. Others rise above the rest with an unwavering dedication to quality. Smashing Newsletter manages to do both in their bi-monthly letter to subscribers.

“I LOVE Smashing Newsletter because every edition is jam packed with synopses that clearly communicate which articles from the bunch might captivate me, instead of just teasing me into clicking. I also love the fact that there’s a table of contents at the beginning of each newsletter.”

– Chris Vasquez, Director of Product at AWeber

9. Doctor of Credit

While many successful newsletters utilize a designed template and beautiful imagery, this isn’t a necessity.

When you provide huge value and make your subscribers’ lives easier, you can keep it simple. And that’s just what Doctor of Credit does in their daily email newsletter focused on helping people improve their credit and save money.

“It’s super simple but has lots of great info if you are a credit card rewards and points geek like me.”

– Andy Shal, Affiliate Marketing Manager at AWeber

10. Sidebar

Every morning, the Sidebar newsletter sends an email with the top 5 design articles of the day. It contains educational content to help designers master their craft. It’s simplistic, yet crazy useful.

“I like how quick and short this newsletter is. I receive the email every morning, and it’s easy for me to read it as I’m starting my work day. And since I’m a designer, the content is very relevant and helpful.”

-Kelsey Paone, UI Designer at AWeber

11. theSkimm

theSkimm is a daily email geared towards women and delivered at approximately 6:30 a.m.

“Every morning, without fail, I open and read it. The tone of the newsletter is fun and 90’s pop culture references are abundant, which perfectly suits their predominately millennial audience. The newsletter helps me stay on top of political and cultural news without spending hours searching the internet myself. Plus, theSkimm peppers in humor throughout each email.”

– Liz Willits, Senior Content Marketing Specialist at AWeber

 

 

12. The AWeber Newsletter

If you want to stay on top of the latest email marketing trends, see more success with email, and get strategy tips from the experts, the AWeber blog newsletter is a necessity. Our weekly newsletter is packed with valuable email marketing content in an easy-to-skim format.

We’re email marketing addicts and proud of it. When you subscribe, you’ll learn from email experts who spend hours testing new email marketing strategies. (so you don’t need to!)

The post 12 Exceptional Newsletters That Will Change Your Approach to Email Forever appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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How to Get Your First 50 Email Subscribers in Less Than 30 Days

I can’t give you a secret formula for list growth. (Unfortunately, there isn’t one. Trust me, I’ve looked.)

But I can let you in on a secret every top email marketer knows: You don’t need a huge email list to be successful. You just need subscribers who open and click your emails.

A list of 50 highly-engaged subscribers is more powerful than a list of 1,000 uninterested subscribers. It can help you launch a profitable online course. Sell your product or service. Promote your non-profit. Raise money for charity. And transform your business.

 

Ready to get 50 (maybe even 100!) extremely engaged subscribers? Follow the exact steps below.

The Super Simple Way to Acquire Your First 50 Subscribers

Many new email marketers struggle with list growth. Where do you even start? How can you get people to willingly subscribe to your list?

First thing’s first: Ask your current connections to join your list.

That’s right. Reach out to everybody you know. Tell them you’re starting an email list. Explain the benefits. And ask them to subscribe. Send them a link to your hosted sign up form.

Bonus: Not sure how to create a sign up form? This free course will walk you through it.

You might argue, “My connections aren’t my target audience.” That might be true, but they probably know someone who is in your target audience. And it’s surprising how many people will be eager to help you. Just clearly articulate your purpose and the benefits.

Let’s say your a marathon runner who wants to teach other people how to run marathons. Here’s an example of what you could send your connections:

If you’re not a marathon runner, you can use similar copy for your own outreach. Here is a copy template you can fill in:

Hi [first name],
I hope your doing well! I have some big news –– I just started an email newsletter! [Insert how you feel about starting this newsletter.]
[Insert what the newsletter is about and who it is for.] [Insert what subscribers will learn.] [Insert why you’re an expert on this topic.]
[Insert why you decided to create this newsletter. What problem did you want to solve?]
[Insert a request for the reader to subscribe.]
[Insert a request for the reader to share this info with a friend who’d be interested.]
Here is a link to sign up for the newsletter: [insert sign up form link].
Thanks for any support you can give! I’m excited to [Insert why you’re excited about this newsletter].
[Insert your name]

Once you have copy, it’s time to start reaching out to everybody you know. Here’s how …

Who should I message?

There are so many options!

  • Message people on your social channels –– like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  • Check your Gmail or Yahoo address book and email people you know.
  • Text your contacts.
  • Talk to your close family and friends in person and invite them to join.

Just remember: Tailor your communication to each platform. Depending on where a conversation is happening, people communicate very differently. When you text someone, you should be more casual than in an email. If you’re talking to someone in person, you shouldn’t be reading from a script you wrote beforehand.

Don’t forget: Keep your audience in mind.

Hold up! Follow these best practices

Before you reach out to people, there’s a few best practices you should keep in mind:

  • Message people you have a relationship with. That random Facebook dude you don’t remember meeting probably isn’t the right person.
  • Use WIIFM. WIIFM stands for “What’s in it for me?” Every time you message someone, make sure to tell them how your newsletter will benefit them or their friend.
  • Be yourself. I shared outreach copy for you to use. Make sure to customize this to fit your own personality. Tell your story. Share your feelings. Be vulnerable and real. People will subscribe and share your sign up form because they want to help YOU.
  • Be brave. This is intimidating. It’s difficult to put yourself out there and ask people to help you. But this works! And remember: The information in your newsletter will help people. It’d be selfish not to share it with the world. :)

Don’t put this off. Start reaching out TODAY

If you have less than 10 subscribers, now is the time to act. Start reaching out to your connections today. You could have 50 subscribers in less than a month. Or, even a week! Dare I say it? Perhaps you could even get 50 subscribers today.

Don’t have a hosted sign up form? Get a 30-day free trial of AWeber and build one today.

Already an AWeber customer? Here are step-by-step instructions for launching your form.

 

The post How to Get Your First 50 Email Subscribers in Less Than 30 Days appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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We Added 2 New Emails to Our Blog Series — and Increased Clicks by 630%

You’ve probably read about email segmentation. In fact, pro email marketers recommend it all the time.

But is it really worth the work? After all, segmentation takes effort. It’s much easier to simply blast your list with a generic email.

To find out, we decided to put segmentation to the test.

We updated our blog’s email automation series. The goal? To ask each subscriber what content they wanted in their inbox, and email them segmented content based off their choice.

We got some pretty crazy results — like an email click-through rate 630% above our average.

Here’s how we did it …

How we redesigned our blog welcome series to collect subscribers’ preferences

When people subscribe to our blog newsletter, they receive a weekly email with our latest and best blog content. We also send them an automation series right after they subscribe.

This series is our way of welcoming subscribers to our email list. We explain how often we’ll send them emails and what kind of content they’ll get. Then, we give them an actual glimpse into how awesome our content is by emailing them our best content –– like our top blog posts and our best free courses.

But something was missing from the series …

We didn’t know what topics our audience was most interested in learning about, and we had no way of segmenting our audience based off their individual learning interests.

This info was important for two reasons:

  1. Knowing what the majority of our audience wanted to learn about would help us write the right content for our audience. If most people were interested in automation, then we should be writing more posts about automation!
  2. Knowing more about each individual subscriber would help us send more relevant content. Instead of sending every subscriber the same blog post, we could send blog posts to subscribers based off their interests.

That’s why we redesigned our blog series. In the redesigned series, we asked subscribers what they wanted to learn about. All they needed to do was click a link. With a simple click, they could tell us what they wanted to learn about.

There are 6 email marketing topics our audience typically asks questions about. We made these 6 topics the options a subscriber could choose from. They could decide to learn about how to:

  • Grow their email list
  • Automate their email marketing
  • Create and send emails
  • Design emails
  • Make money with email marketing
  • Improve their open and click-through rates

Or, they could choose to learn about everything!

To gather our subscribers preferences, we added this simple email to our blog welcome series:

When a subscriber clicks on one of the links, they get access to a landing page where they can download the free guide we promise in the email. On that page, we also share some of our most popular blog posts in their chosen category.

But behind the scenes, even more is going on! Using AWeber’s Click Automations, we automatically tag subscribers with a label that matches their choice when they click on one of the options. For example, if a subscriber clicks “Grow my email list,” they receive a “grow email list” tag.

Using AWeber and tags, we can build segments of subscribers who have a particular tag, and then send one-time emails or automation series to that segment. This gives us the ability to do some pretty powerful things.

Let’s say we wanted to share our latest post on increasing email open rates. Instead of blasting our entire list, we could send that post specifically to people who told us they wanted to improve their open and click-through rates. By segmenting our audience in this way, we hypothesized that we’d get better open and click-through rates.

But there was one flaw with our method. Not everyone opens an email. Even fewer people click on it. Our new email would only collect the preferences of subscribers who chose to engage with it. This meant that we wouldn’t be able to collect the interests of everybody on our list.

That’s why we added a second, similar email at the end of our welcome series:

This email gave subscribers who didn’t click on the first email another chance to share their preferences. By adding it to our series, we were able to encourage even more people to tell us what they’d like to learn about. And the best part? Using segmentation and automation, we only sent this email to people who didn’t open or click the other email asking for their preferences.

Here’s how we structured the redesigned series:

Email 1: Welcome to the AWeber blog newsletter!

  • Goal: Welcome subscribers to our list, tell them how frequently we’d send emails, deliver our incentive, and ask them to whitelist us.
  • Delivery time: Immediately after subscribing
  • Audience: All subscribers

Email 2: Share your interests and we’ll send a free guide

  • Goal: Encourage subscribers to share what they’d like to learn about email marketing by clicking on a link in the email
  • Delivery time: 1 day after email 1
  • Audience: All subscribers

Email 3: Explore the best email marketing content

  • Goal: Share our best blog content with our audience and get them excited about being a subscriber
  • Delivery time: 1 day after email 2
  • Audience: all subscribers

Email 4: Get 45+ email copy templates and master your content

  • Goal: Delight our subscribers with even more educational and free content –– our “What to Write in Your Emails” course.
  • Delivery time: 1 day after email 3
  • Audience: All subscribers

Email 5: Would you like another free guide?

  • Goal: To encourage more subscribers to click on a category and tell us what they’re interested in.
  • Delivery time: One day after email 4
  • Audience: Subscribers who didn’t click on a category in email 2

To get a visual picture of the original series versus the new series, here’s an automation map of the original:

And here’s the automation map for the updated series:

In the updated series, there are 7 content categories subscribers can choose from. However, we only use 6 tags in our series. That’s because the final option is to “Learn it all!” If a subscriber clicks this, they are tagged with all 6 tags, rather than a 7th separate tag.

Pro tip: Instead of sending people to a landing page when they click on a Click Automation, you can send them to a hosted form that says something like “Thanks for sharing your preferences! We’ve updated your info.” This can be easier than creating a landing page.

But we still had a problem … what about our current subscribers?!

When we updated our welcome automation series to include these 2 new emails, we already had thousands of subscribers on our blog newsletter list. And since this series was only for new subscribers, current subscribers didn’t receive it. Which meant that we wouldn’t find out the interests of our current subscribers through this series.

So we decided to send all of our current subscribers a one-time broadcast email to ask them the same question.

This email functioned in the same way as the 2 emails we added to our automation series. When a subscriber clicked on one of the options, they received a tag that matched their choice. The email content is nearly identical to the ones we added to our automation series:

After sending it, thousands of our current subscribers clicked on an option to tell us what they’d like to learn about.

40% of them clicked “I want to do it all!” The second most popular choice was “Grow my email list,” with 21% of people clicking this option.

We chose the most popular category and gave subscribers a cool freebie.

Since the majority of our subscribers said they wanted to learn about list growth, we decided to email them our free course “Email List Growth Blueprint.”

And we saw phenomenal results. Our open rate for this email was 118% higher than our average open rate for this list. Our click-through rate was an astounding 630% higher than our average click-through rate. 😱

This record-breaking engagement is thanks to the power of segmentation and sending the right content to the right people.

Theory proved: Segmentation works.

Skyrocket your engagement! Try this out yourself.

Want to do something similar on your own email lists? Simply follow these steps:

  1. Write 1 or 2 emails and add them to your automation series
  2. Add a question and answers to your new emails.
  3. Add hyperlinks to your answers. You can link off  to a hosted sign up form or landing pages
  4. Use AWeber’s Click Automations to tag subscribers based off the link they click. The options you give subscribers don’t need to be about their content preferences! You could ask subscribers for their skill level at a certain task, what products they’re interested in, or anything that helps you send more targeted content!
  5. Send relevant one-time and automated emails to your subscribers using AWeber’s tags to build your segments.

Need help setting this up? Call, chat, or email us. We’d love to walk you through it!

Want to try this, but don’t have AWeber? Get a free account for 30 days and test it out.

The post We Added 2 New Emails to Our Blog Series — and Increased Clicks by 630% appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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Your Holiday GIF Guide: Festive GIFs to Spice Up Your Holiday Emails

Holiday GIF

Congratulations! Santa told us that you landed on the nice list this year — not the naughty email spammers list.

So here’s AWeber’s gift to you: 11 animated GIFs for your holiday email marketing campaign. The AWeber design elves whipped up these festive options, shown below. Place them in a Black Friday or Cyber Monday email, a holiday newsletter, or a New Year’s sale message to your subscribers.

 

Plus, these holiday GIFs aren’t just eye-catching. Data has shown that GIFs in emails can increase click-through rates, conversions rates, and revenue rates. Talk about the GIF — er, gift — that keeps on giving!

Not an AWeber customer yet? Join us! Create your FREE account right now, and see how easy it is to use one of these GIFs in our Drag-and-Drop message editor.

How to download your holiday GIFs

Step 1: Find the animated holiday GIF below that you want to use in your email.

Step 2: Save it to your computer by either right clicking the GIF and selecting “Save Image,” or by dragging the GIF to your desktop.

Step 3: Upload the GIF into your email template.

Related: Everything You Need to Know about Using GIFs in Email

Holiday GIFs

Christmas GIFHoliday GIF

Holiday Garland GIF

Happy New Year GIFs

Happy New Year Sale GIF

Black Friday and Cyber Monday GIFs

How can I use these GIFs in my emails?

Try one of these three GIF placements.

Place the GIF above the headline

Add a holiday GIF above your email headline to catch subscribers’ attention and draw them in right away.

Holiday Email GIF

Place the GIF the body of the email

Break up sections of content by adding a holiday GIF into the body of your email. It’ll keep your readers moving down the page toward your call-to-action button.

Holiday Email GIF

Place the GIF at the end of the email

Want your subscribers to read your entire message first? Place a holiday GIF after the call-to-action button.

Holiday Email GIF

Best practices for using holiday GIFs in email

1. Don’t overdo it: Use only one GIF per email.

2. Actually, only use a GIF when you think it’ll help your email perform better. If it distracts your subscriber from reading your message or clicking on your call-to-action, then skip the GIF.

3. Consider removing all other images besides your GIF so that subscribers aren’t overwhelmed with visuals.

4. Hyperlink your GIF to the landing page you’d like people to visit. (Many people will click on the GIF itself.)

5. Creating your own GIF? Include your call to action in the first frame. That way, your subscribers can click through even if the animation doesn’t work.

6. Always test your emails. Most email clients will display GIFs, but there are a some exceptions like Outlook 2007-2013 and Windows Phone 7. In these clients, the GIFs will display as static images.

Related: 3 Ways to Test Your Emails before You Hit ‘Send’

7. Keep your GIF’s file size small (aim for less than 40KB). You can use Photoshop to decrease the file size if need be.

8. Your GIF should be relevant to the rest of the content in your email. Make sure it supplements your subject line, call to action, and message text.

9. No matter what GIF you use, make your call to action loud and clear. (Here are 8 Powerful Email Copywriting Techniques to use in your next email.)

10. Test a GIF in different locations within your email to see where it performs best. (AWeber’s powerful split testing feature allows you to test GIF placement, subject lines, send times, copy, templates, buttons, and more! Try it out today for FREE.)

If you like this post and want to receive more free GIFs, email marketing tips, and educational courses, subscribe to our weekly newsletter, FWD: Thinking.

The post Your Holiday GIF Guide: Festive GIFs to Spice Up Your Holiday Emails appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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5 Ways to Increase Your Deliverability by Boosting Email Engagement

email deliverability

This is a guest post written by Rozina Hussain, a Product Manager at BriteVerify. BriteVerify provides real-time email verification solutions that improve email data quality, inbox deliverability and email marketing ROI.

What’s the secret to better email deliverability? Beyond any technical tips and tricks is a fundamental truth: People are more likely to see your email if you create emails that people actually want to see.

However, there are technical reasons behind this. “If Gmail’s algorithm thinks a marketing email won’t be engaging enough to a user,” says deliverability expert Chris Arrendale, “it won’t deliver that email to the user’s inbox tab.”

Gmail – and all email providers – have a strong incentive to give users a good experience. If you opened up your inbox and saw nothing but spam, you might switch to another service. Since it’s in Gmail’s best interest to deliver engaging emails to the inbox, it’s in marketers’ best interest to be engaging.

Gmail measures engagement based on a variety of factors. Positive factors include opens, clicks, and replies. Negatives include ignoring the email or reporting it as spam.

Even beyond deliverability, making your emails engaging is just a good idea. After all, it’s not enough to deliver a message into a user’s inbox. The final, crucial step is to engage your reader so they remember your message. In other words, the recipient ultimately needs to open and read it.

Sending too many unengaging emails may hasten the dreaded “email fatigue.” Which is when users ignore you or unsubscribe when they think you’re sending them too many emails.

The key point is that emails earn their place in a user’s inbox by being engaging. Marketers must re-earn that right with every email they send.

Here are five ways to help you do that.

1. Get snappier copy

You’d never send an email without checking the spelling and grammar. But did you know that software can help you check your writing style, too? Making your prose crisp and concise can help make your message more readable and more actionable.

To make your copy snappier, try Hemingway, which describes itself as “a spellchecker, but for style.” Copy your text onto the site, and Hemingway will encourage you to keep your sentences simple, your words short and your voice active. It will also give you a readability grade score. If your score is too high, you need to simplify your prose.

2. Hear your words from another perspective

Another way to improve your copy is to experience it from a different point of view. Taking a break between writing and editing can help. Or, having a coworker look it over can give you a new perspective.

There’s also a software solution: Put your text into a service like Text To Speech Reader and choose a distinct voice to read it aloud to you. You’ll get out of your own head, catching typos and stylistic issues you’ve become blind to because you’re so close to the piece.

3. Find amazing photographs

An AWeber experiment found that “most subscribers interact only with the HTML versions of emails” rather than plain-text versions. So feel free to include compelling images in your content. But you might want to leave out the cheesy stock photo of a guy in a business suit shouting into a megaphone; you can do better than that in 2017!

If your stock photo selections are looking a little tired, check out the royalty-free images at Unsplash. You can browse other free stock photos at The Stocks.

4. Sign up to your own email list – and your competitors’

Sometimes, being focused on composing an email makes it easy to overlook what it’s like to be on the receiving end. The email you spent four hours perfecting may end up buried among dozens of messages recipients are trying to go through in just a few minutes.

Signing up to your own email list and joining the lists of your competitors can give you a better sense of what your message looks like in the context of an inbox. Is your subject line more enticing than your competitors’? How does it compare to the many unrelated messages in your inbox? Would a recipient be excited to get your next email – or will they start ignoring them?

Seeing your emails in this broader context is a good reminder that you’re not only competing with marketers like you at companies like yours. In the battle for attention and engagement, you’re up against everything in the inbox.

5. Test your assumptions

A/B testing is a great way to tweak your message to be as engaging as possible. Split-testing subject lines can lead to higher open rates. But you can also A/B test the content itself to see what copy and/or images better engage your audience

Just make sure to keep some consistency as well. Expert Chris Arrendale says that having the same sender name and from domain in your emails is good for deliverability.

6. BONUS: Clean up your list

A user can’t engage with your email if you’re sending to an invalid address.

BriteVerify’s email verification technology helps you ensure you’re sending emails to addresses that actually exist.  Not only will it help you scrub the addresses that would otherwise bounce, it will help you maintain your reputation as a sender. That way, you won’t have trouble reaching the addresses that legitimately want to hear from you.

Make the inbox a better place

Years ago, the process of checking email was a novelty. Today, checking email can often feel like a chore. The good news is that, as a marketer, you’re empowered to make the experience a little more engaging. And as a result, you’ll get better deliverability – and your readers will get a better inbox experience.

The post 5 Ways to Increase Your Deliverability by Boosting Email Engagement appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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