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1. What is your goal?

What do you want your reader to DO after reading your email? This is the call-to-action (CTA). Have one CTA, make it obvious, and make it simple for your reader to do it.

For a newsletter, set one goal, this will keep the content focused and keep your reader interested.

2. Who is your audience?

Segment your email: have a specific audience, understand your audience and write to that audience. The more targeted and specific your email, the more successful it will be. Curate email newsletters to your audience: make your content valuable, interesting and educational to your readers.

3. How does your audience read email?

54% of emails are read on mobile devices (Litmus). Optimize your email for mobile (iModules templates are mobile-ready). Make sure links in the email go to mobile-friendly pages. Be mindful of text size on a smaller screen size, and overall length.

According to the Nielsen Norman Group, the average reader spends 51 seconds scanning a newsletter. Yes, only 51 seconds! Newsletters that are overly lengthy and take too much time to read demand too much from the reader. Make the newsletter simple, useful, and easy to deal with.

4. When will the email(s) send?

A campaign frequently will require more than one email. For example, an event email campaign may involve a save-the-date, an invitation, a reminder, and a follow-up email. Plan out how many emails there will be and when you will send each email in the series.

When planning a newsletter, your readers will appreciate a consistent email schedule. (Madison Update always sends at the same time on the same day every week.) How often does your audience want to hear from you? And do you have enough content for a quality newsletter at this frequency?

5. How much time will you need?

Give yourself plenty of time for the email process. Put your data request in early, write, build, make edits, send it to your boss, look at it on your phone, make more edits... Newsletters are especially time-consuming; creating great content is hard. You'll have to write, edit, find pictures, build and send; manage recipient lists, read replies, evaluate effectiveness, etc. Emails beings sent through iModules may not be released more than one day in advance.

6. Wash, rinse, repeat...

Learn from your email campaigns once they've ended. Are they effective? What could you do differently? 

You'll learn a lot about your audience from looking at opens/clicks and things like web traffic, registration, and replies. Always be evaluating what is working well for your target audience, and seek to improve with each email.

Before you hit send...

Make sure your email meets the following criteria! Your emails are the voice of the engaged university and should engage the reader with:

  • interesting, relevant, and useful content (not interesting to you, interesting to your reader)
  • interesting visual(s)
  • easy to read copy
  • a compelling call to action
  • mobile-friendly design

   

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