You can imagine how many emails we at Campaign Monitor see on a daily basis. And as a bunch of email geeks, nothing thrills us more than stumbling across a beautiful, fully optimized email campaign.
However, we also see a lot of not-so-great emails. And we want to change that. Email marketing has the power to bring in massive amounts of revenue, increase your customer loyalty, and create an authentic connection between your fans and your brand. Every time we come across a poorly designed, not-optimized email, we can’t but mourn all the missed opportunities.
We believe that the more companies can execute beautiful and relevant email campaigns, the better for all of us. After all, when consumers know they’ll receive highly valuable and relevant content from their favorite companies, they’re far more likely to sign up for multiple email subscription lists.
So in the spirit of better marketing, we’ve rounded up the best emails we’ve received from the publishing industry lately to point out what these companies get right and how you can adopt similar techniques in your own email marketing strategy.
Email roundup: publishers
Discover the tips you need to ensure you’re delivering the best emails for your industry:
1. Lily Lines
Lily Lines is the newsletter from The Lily, a product of The Washington Post.
They have multiple versions of their newsletter—the one that comes on Mondays, the one that comes on Thursdays, and special series—and each one sends different information. This variety ensures that subscribers will open each: Just because a person reads the one that comes on Mondays doesn’t mean they don’t need to read the one that comes on Thursdays.
Source: The Lily newsletter
They also include prominent links for readers to share the email with their friends, encouraging their readers to expand the publication’s reach and audience.
Lily Lines also does a great job including a brief summary of their newsletter at the top for their readers who might not have time to read every detail thoroughly. Including a snippet of your newsletter means your subscribers will still open and read your emails even when they don’t have time to read every piece in detail.
Lily Lines also provides a short introduction to each of their stories, encouraging readers to click-through and finish the stories they are most interested in on your website.
Native, a publication featuring Nashville’s creative culture, uses their newsletter to drive traffic to their site by optimizing for a mobile experience. Clickable graphics and utilizing whitespace in design leads to an optimized experience on desktop or cell or tablet.
Source: Native newsletter
Likewise, the way Native includes only the most important activities for the week entices readers to click-through to the website.
It’s important for a publisher to include enough information for the newsletter to be enticing for readers to open and read, but it also needs to drive traffic to websites and increase the value of print. Native does this by communicating time-sensitive information like the details for local events their audience is interested in. Their magazine can’t remind people of upcoming events as well as a newsletter since the magazine is published less frequently.
3. The Bitter Southerner
The Bitter Southerner features and promotes stories about the new South in essays on Southern culture and it also includes fiction. Their newsletter includes beautiful graphics and a preview of their current feature story, a link to their store, and a few more headlines sure to catch their subscribers’ curiosity.
Source: The Bitter Southerner newsletter
One of the first things you might notice when looking at the Bitter Southerner newsletter is the stand-out copy of their primary call-to-action (CTA): Island Life. No Margaritas. Now that copy is unique and sure to catch readers’ attention. The copy also matches the tone of the story, which is about island life that’s about to vanish along with the island due to climate change.
The newsletter also includes a link to their general store, making it easy for their readers to buy some unique gifts this holiday season. Promoting their store during the holiday season means that they’ll see increased revenue but it also means that, as subscribers buy gifts for their friends, the publication becomes more visible and can potentially increase their readership.
4. The Book of Man
The Book of Man is a UK-based website dedicated to offering advice and inspiration to men during a time of great change and amidst a rise in depression and even suicide in men. Their newsletter, delivered daily, features the top content from their website that day.
Source: The Book of Man Daily Bulletin
They do a great job of keeping their newsletter short and to the point. They know their subscribers are busy and won’t spend their morning reading long emails with a lot of text. Instead, they spend the most space on graphics with a short, interesting summary that’s meant to drive traffic to their website.
They keep their goal in mind: Whereas some newsletters want to include a complete picture of what’s going on in their areas of interest, the Book of Man designs their emails to increase the number of people who click-through, driving traffic to their site.
Refinery29 aims to “inspire, entertain, and empower” young women by focusing on “optimistic and diverse storytelling, experiences, and points of view.”
Source: Refinery29 Everywhere
Refinery29 is a hub for a myriad of topics from politics to wellness, fashion to career advice. They publish stories, videos, and have their own shop. Needless to say, a newsletter from such a diverse company has to serve a diverse range of functions.
It’d be easy for such a packed newsletter to be entertaining, but Refinery29’s newsletter is easily digestible and rarely overwhelming. They manage this by ensuring there’s always plenty of whitespace in their emails. They also clearly label everything headline and divide them all into categories for easy perusal.
Refinery29 manages to design a newsletter full of great content that’s easy to understand at a glance. Ultimately, this means that all of Refinery29’s subscribers can find a headline that interests them, allowing the publication to fulfill its mission to serve a diverse range of readers.
6. Beer Connoisseur
Beer Connoisseur offers a Beer in Review newsletter for members who don’t pay for their premium membership. However, they include an option to upgrade in every email they send as their free edition.
Source: Beer Connoisseur’s Beer in Review
Even though the Beer Connoisseur includes a lot of links—which can sometimes confuse subscribers and lead to them clicking on nothing—they keep their links secondary to their main content, beer reviews. By keeping the images of beers and their scores primary, the reader doesn’t get overwhelmed with choices or feel like they can’t decide what to do.
The primary purpose of the email is clear: It provides an easy-to-scroll, easy-to-skim review of six beers, complete with pictures of their cans. Because the bold fonts and pictures make it easy for readers to jump from one topic to the next, they don’t get distracted by all the links.
Ultimately, it’s easy for beer lovers to scan the email and find something they’re interested in without putting in much effort or even paying for a Beer Connoisseur membership. Their subscribers will associate the Beer in Review emails with high value and are more likely to open them time and time again.
7. Travel + Leisure Ten
Travel + Leisure offers a few newsletters that anyone can subscribe to, whether they receive the Travel + Leisure magazine or not. One of which is their Travel + Leisure Ten, featuring ten of the most popular stories on their site.
They include ten of their top performing articles on their site, meaning they don’t try to include an introduction to every story on their site. As a publisher with a lot of content to offer, including all their stories from a week or even a day would be too much. Instead, they focus on driving traffic to certain posts, allowing them to track the effectiveness of their email campaign with ease.
By utilizing an easily digestible list format, they’ve included ten unique CTAs that will encourage click-throughs instead of paralysis.
When you’re allowing your readers to consume your content in the way they find most suitable, they’ll associate your publication with value and benefit, and thus remain loyal readers of your newsletter and your publication over time. Though you might think email marketing for your publication is redundant since—most likely—your content is already available for online consumption.
However, email marketing provides an easy and affordable way to create dedicated readers and increase the reach of your publication, driving awareness and ultimately revenue.
When you go to design your next send, remember to include these tips:
- Provide enough information to increase your readers’ curiosity while still giving subscribers a reason to click-through to your site to learn more.
- Optimize your platforms to be easy to access on mobile devices, whether your subscribers are using their tablets or cell phones to read and engage with your content.
- Include prominent links that make it easy for your subscribers to share the email with a friend they believe will be interested in your content.
- Utilize whitespace to keep a newsletter filled with stories or links easy to understand at a glance. Adding too much information to your emails can overwhelm your readers and lead to them deleting your email instead of trying to sort out what content is most valuable to them.
By constantly sending high-quality emails, you’ll tap into a new channel for delivering your best content and see increased engagement with your fans.