But what happens when you’re short on ideas? Your emails aren’t going to do much of anything for you if the content inside isn’t killer. To help get your creative juices flowing, we’ve done a little brainstorming and come up with a few non-newsletter ideas you can send to your loyal subscribers to stay at the top of their inbox and to keep them engaged.
1. Progress Updates
Whether you’re a technology company, agency or nonprofit, your subscribers (and your customers) want to know about your progress. Sharing research, client successes or usage reports is a simple way to keep your contacts in the know about everything happening behind the scenes.
Givable, a nonprofit giving site, sends out a monthly impact report so users know where their donations are going and who is benefitting.
2. Holiday-Themed Emails
It’s easy to send discounts and newsletters around the big holidays (think Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc), but try highlighting lesser-known days like National Donut Day or National Dog Day to get the attention of your recipients. It’s almost guaranteed that your competitors won’t be sending out duplicate holiday content on National Talk Like a Sailor Day. You’ll have prime inbox real estate and maybe get a laugh or two.
LastPass didn’t try to sell anything in their Valentine’s Day email. Rather they used it as an opportunity to spread some love (and password security tips).
3. Worthwhile Discounts
Emphasis on the worthwhile part of that. Tiny discounts and half-hearted, desperate offers aren’t going to do anything but annoy your recipients. Five percent isn’t going to push the needle for prospective buyers. The bigger the number, the higher the incentive. If you can’t send something desirable, don’t send anything at all. As a bonus tip, if you want to create a sense of urgency with your list, make sure to put a timestamp on it such as “one day only” or “purchase by the end of the month.”
4. Content Roundups
You’re spending the time to create content that you presume will be valuable to your audiences, but are you actually sharing it with the people who need it most? Roundups are easy and helpful and will get your content more mileage.
Unsplash has a multitude of amazing, free photos that their subscribers might not even know exist. A roundup of their newest or most popular ones is an easy way to keep their contacts informed.
5. Advice and Resources
You don’t have to give away free products to entice subscribers to open your emails, but you do need to give away something of perceived value. Checklists, email templates or videos are easy-to-create resources that your subscribers will appreciate. The key is to offer something for free that your target audience will find useful.
6. Product and Service Updates
Got a new feature or service offering? Share it. Don’t assume that people already subscribed to your site or your social pages will be visiting them on the regular. You never know what a long-time reader will be most excited about or where there’s room for an upsell.
7. Personal Notes
Sometimes (see: often) an HTML email isn’t the answer. No one wants to feel like a number, and with so many emails being sent weekly, daily and hourly, it’s important to make your recipients feel important. A good old text-based email can often do the trick (even if it’s not actually a personal email). Marketing automation can help you reach anyone and everyone in a more personalized way. You’ll get more opens, and they’ll feel more indispensable.
Flywheel does a spectacular job of getting opens and keeping things interesting. Their text-based outreach feels much more personal.
8. Company Milestones
If you’ve managed to build relationships with your email subscribers, they’ll be more than happy to know what’s happening with your company. Your successes are their successes and vice versa. Share milestones, achievements, and improvements openly, and you’ll make your followers feel more like friends.
Everyone wants their voice to be heard. Asking for feedback is a quick way to make your subscribers feel valued and to improve your products or processes. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken.
Chargify’s email simply asks for input – nothing more, nothing less. No need to explain the survey. When you ask, you’re more likely to receive the feedback you’re seeking.
Next time you’re sending an email to your subscriber base, think outside the box. Making your contacts feel like they have a reason to stay subscribed is the easiest way to boost retention rates. Otherwise, that unsubscribe button will start getting more attention than your emails.
About the Author
Jonathan Herrick is co-founder, chief sales officer, chief marketing officer, and chief high-fiver of Hatchbuck, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform based in St. Louis. His extensive experience in digital marketing and sales strategies has been a driving factor in growing Hatchbuck’s sales by over 2,000 percent. A purpose-driven leader in all aspects, Jonathan has a passion for cultivating his team’s culture, spending time with his family, and working to make a difference in the St. Louis community.