How To Improve Your eNewsletter

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How To Improve Your eNewsletter

Countyline Nursery in Harleysville, Pa., sends out a great eNewsletter that’s fun, informative and has tons of personality. We took a look at what works well in this eNewsletter, and also made some suggestions for ways it could be even better.

Here’s our “Good, Better, Best” analysis  – see if there are some tips you can use to improve your own eMail marketing.

The Lead: Grab Their Attention

Good: The portion of the newsletter that shows in a preview panel provides a quick summary of what’s below – with links! This gives busy customers a chance to decide what to read. These headlines link to the content below (techie people call them anchors). This lets the user jump directly to the content he or she is interested in.

Countyline also provides quick links to its website, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and perennials info.

Better: The teasers are fun (“The rhythm method” and “Plants, then cupcakes”), but they don’t give enough information. Readers need to know basics. For example, let them know the first item is about garden design. “An easy-to-use garden design trick” might be less sexy, but it’s informative.

Photos: If They See It, They Can Do It

Good: This illustration explains at a glance how repeating “manageable chunks,” or plant groupings, works in a design.

Better: There’s no caption to give readers who only scan the newsletter an idea of what the design is promoting. A good one would be “Repeating a grouping of your favorite four or five plants breaks down your garden design to manageable chunks.”

Best: Use a thumbnail of the image in the newsletter and direct the reader to the website for a full-sized image. You can give more information on your website and introduce people to your other content.

Coupons: The Prize Inside

Good: Countyline provides what its customers want at the newsletter’s end:

1. Who wrote it.

2. How to contact the garden center (address/phone).

3. A coupon.

Better: Mention the coupon in the subject line or position it higher up in the newsletter. It could get lost at the bottom.

Best: Make the coupon easier to print by linking it to a single-page version of itself. Many newer eMail software packages allow a separate print page for items like coupons.

Subject Line: Attention, Attention!

Good: This subject line (The Rhythm Method Exemplified) definitely catches your attention, which is what you want.

Better: Add mention of the coupon below. It will help your open rate.

More eNewsletter Tips You Can Use

Determine Your Goals. This will help you create a newsletter that accomplishes what you need it to do. Do you send an eNewsletter to engage your customers? Share information? Promote products, services and events?

Subject Line. While it’s easy to overlook, one of the most important elements of an eNewsletter is the subject line. It needs to entice the reader to open the eMail and see your message. Shock your readers. Make them do a double take. And then track, track, track. Make note of what kinds of subject lines equal the highest open rates.

Images. Be aware that many of your readers may be opening your eMails on mobile devices, which may or may not download images. Your mobile user rate is a stat your eNewsletter provider should be able to track. 
Good Content. Marketing should be about your readers, not about you. If your newsletter becomes a trusted news source, your readers won’t mind that you also promote your events and sales.

Personality. While you should use a newsletter to inform, there’s nothing wrong with infusing some personality into your newsletter. Entertain while you inform.

Getting The Click Through. As much as the subject line entices the reader to open, the eNewsletter should entice the reader to click through to your website. There’s much more room on your website to give details, and no one wants to read a mile-long eMail.

Use Headlines And Subheadlines. They grab attention and give structure to your content.

Carol Miller is group editor of Today’s Garden Center and Greenhouse Grower. You can eMail her at Sara Tambascio is senior online editor of Greenhouse Grower and Today's Garden Center. You can eMail her at or follower her on Twitter @Sara_GG_TGC.

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One comment on “How To Improve Your eNewsletter

  1. Anonymous

    In addition to the traditional email marketing (mass email) one should look at another marketing opportunity and that is the emails we all send from our corporate email addresses every day. I represent a company that has developed a solution for just those emails and thus this post.
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