in: Newsletter Marketing
by: Katie Hellmuth Martin
Don't let this happen to your newsletter:
In the picture above, the first email is a newsletter I received from a friend's New York based photography business. I was out walking my dog and checking my mobile inbox from my iPhone. After I scanned the new emails, I almost deleted my friend's email, thinking it spam, and that his address book got hijacked. Had I not known him, I wouldn't have spent the time puzzling over the bizarre email message that appeared under the subject line:
"Use this area to offer a short teaser of your email's content."
BAM, then it hit me. He'd forgotten to fill in this super important, highly overlooked, yet very valuable real estate of his newsletter. So let's explore why the "Teaser Field" is so important:
Prior to even opening the newsletter, I scan for three things (and I bet you do too):
- Who sent the email
- What the subject line says
- What is the gist of the email in the faded gray text.
As you can see from the picture above, I can scan pretty quickly to see which email is important, which I can skip and never open, and which I can open later (I'm happy that Sabina bought Yoga jeans at Zulily, and I know I can indulge in that later).
In a normal email sent by a person at their inbox, the faded gray text is the first line of their email. But in a business newsletter that is sent by a program like MailChimp or Constant Contact, most likely, there is a "teaser field" that is programmed to display in the person's inbox. Some programs have a phrase they program to display if you don't change it. Meaning, if you don't change it, you just got caught with your pants down.
Not only that, this teaser field can be a make or break to someone opening your newsletter. Maybe you have a dynamite, compelling subject line, but you also have this copy to deal with and make compelling as well.
HOW TO IMPROVE THE OPEN RATE
The most commonly asked question about e-newsletters asked by business owners and marketers is:
"How do we improve the open rate of the newsletter?"
Easy. Write a more effective, compelling subject line. And then follow these Top Ten Tips.
And, write a very tempting teaser line the piques the curiosity of your reader.
THE TEASER aka THE DESCRIPTION FIELD
Second to the subject line, yet less obsessed-over, is the "Teaser Field" or "Description Field" of a newsletter. In the inbox, before a person opens the newsletter, it's a line that is read by a lot of eyeballs. But in the body of the email itself, your readers probably won't notice it. Default copy for it can include these embarrassing phrases:
- "Use this area to write a short teaser of your email's content"
- "Write your description here"
- "To unsubscribe from this newsletter, click here" (WHY???)
- "Email not displaying correctly?"
WHERE IS THIS TEASER DESCRIPTION?
In an email that your subscriber receives from you, your teaser will look like this:
The teaser description is shown below the subject line in the inbox of a subscriber. Next, I'm going to show you a picture of where it's located in the body of the newsletter. The example I've used is from a Tin Shingle newsletter, and one of our most opened issues. The first few words in the subject were clear, and appealed directly to what most of our readers want: "Real Simple Magazine". So instantly, the reader thinks "Ooh! Real Simple Magazine! I want that..."
But what does the reader see next? The "descriptive" content. They read this content before they even open the newsletter. In my example, the Description said this:
"Looking for a clue as to what magazines want to publish? You're *this* close."
Take a look at where it shows up in the actual newsletter, after the reader has opened. In the picture below, I've made an arrow to it it at the top of this newsletter issue:
See how it appears nowhere close to the main body copy of the newsletter? Its value is only in the inbox, before your reader opens the newsletter. Its importance is second to the subject line.
This screenshot is of a newsletter in MailChimp. If you are using MailChimp, simply click on that text, and you will be taken to the box where you can edit that text.
OPEN RATES ON MOBILE PHONES AND TABLETS
Especially common on mobile devices is this descriptive teaser area. People on the go are scanning their inboxes and looking for three things:
- Who is an email from?
- Can I tell what they want quickly?
- If it's not an urgent message, am I curious enough to open now while I'm in a taxi or in line at a store?
A newsletter is not going to get top priority for a person on the go, unless it's super, duper important. Hence, you are now going to write amazing teaser copy right after you've written a spot-on subject that you know your readers respond well to.
Watch your open rates to see if your copywriting skills paid off!