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What Saturday Night Live Teaches Us About Email Marketing

Social Sonar - Thursday, October 04, 2012

Original Cast of SNL, courtesy of guardian.co.ukI recently lamented the decline in hilarity of Saturday Night Live at a family gathering. The show premiered in 1975, and some of its most memorable skits and characters were born during the first few decades. They were the work of formidable comedians, including John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, and so many other amazing artists.

My brother-in-law is studying at The Second City in Chicago, training grounds for many of the show's original stars. He explained the new formula for SNL: each skit appeals to a different audience. Rather than having a show that caters to only one sense of humor, the writers mix things up. This ensures that, while you won't split a seam at every skit, you'll find a couple hilarious. This is how the show has managed to stay on the air for 37 years (its anniversary is coming up on October 11!).

This "something for everyone" approach is ideal for email newsletters. Every email address on your list took a considerable amount of time and money to earn. You want to provide your subscribers with something that appeals to them each time they open an email from you, or they will unsubscribe from your list and you'll lose your investment.

Here are 4 tactics to create an engaging email newsletter:

1. Mix It Up.

It's nearly impossible to have a single article that appeals to every one of your subscribers. Consider the needs of your key demographics and include a piece of content for each one. You could even develop a standardized format with three to four topics. For a personal trainer this might look like: recent health news article, exercise targeting a certain muscle group, healthy recipe, and motivational tip.

2. Keep It Scanable.

People reading their email are not necessarily willing to commit more than 30 seconds to your message. In fact, with the prevalence of smart phones, reading long emails is sometimes painful. Busy people will skip or unsubscribe if your emails become a pain to digest.

Break up the email so it's easy to tell the topics at a glance. Use large headlines and include pictures to organize the design. Rather than having long articles, provide a summary with a link to the full article. Ensure all links are specific about their destination and include action words. Ex: Learn the 4 Tips for a Successful Email Newsletter.

3. Leave Them Wanting More.

There are many reasons to send an email: it keeps you top of mind, educates your audience, and hopefully, inspires them to take an action. Ideally your newsletter drives its readers back to your website.

A great way to do this is to provide a summary of a blog post, then link to the rest of the blog post on your website. Not only is this a great way of to include several different articles in your message, it also increases traffic to your site. This gives you an opportunity to convince visitors to make a purchase or schedule an appointment.

4. Make It Mobile-Friendly.

Recent statistics have shown the rate of emails being opened on mobile devices to be as high as 27%. Your business' statistic could be even higher if your audience is younger and / or more affluent. Keeping your emails mobile-friendly, with large font sizes and easy to click buttons, ensures your on-the-go readers are more likely to engage with your message.

If you don't have time to create a newsletter every month, why not have someone else do it for you? Social Sonar's email marketing package includes a mobile-optimized email design to ensure your readers have a great experience each and every message.

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