August 2, 2021
The Dog Trainer’s Guide to Writing Effective Email Newsletters
Think of it as a conversation between friends.

dog leaning over laptop computer keyboard; blog post on writing effective email newsletters

What’s the secret to writing effective email newsletters?

The truth is, there are a lot of them (secrets, that is). But they all lead up to what should be your main goal:

Getting customers to open — and read — them. Even if they’re not clicking through on every single email, opening them keeps you on their minds. So the next time they need help with their pup, they’ll know exactly where to go.

And while you don’t need anything fancy to start an email marketing program, there are plenty of free options out there that make it super easy to manage yours (read more on that here).

Once you’ve got your program set up, you’re probably wondering what’s next? How do you start writing? What should you write?

What are the elements that make for effective email newsletters?

Let’s break it down:

Keep it Snazzy (and Short)

As one of my favorite copywriters, Laura Belgray, once said: “nobody ever unsubscribed because your email was too short.”

With all of the STUFF that exists out in the world these days, your content is constantly fighting for peoples’ time and attention. So keep it short and sweet and straight to the point.

Write conversationally — the same way you’d write to a friend. That extends to your subject lines, too! The more “professional” or business-like your tone is… the more likely your email will land in the junk or promotions folder (either because the email algorithm will push it there, or because your reader will mark it as one of those two things). Some of the best newsletters out there are funny, weird, or downright irreverent.

That doesn’t mean you have to be wacky to get attention, but before you start writing, consider what your tone will be. Maybe you’re a silly friend, or maybe you’re a wise parental figure doling out helpful advice. Maybe you’re a cool older sibling type with fresh takes on the latest trends.

Whatever tone you choose, make sure it’s in line with your brand and keep it consistent across your emails. People should know what to expect when they get an email from you — and get excited about opening them!

Do More Than Sell

In fact, most of what you write should not be a sales pitch.

I think we all get this — we’re sick and tired of constantly being told what to buy. We can’t escape ads ever these days. So why would your readers want to click on something that’s obviously an ad?

Here’s the magic formula for writing effective email newsletters:

80% information
20% advertising

That’s right — most of what you include should be information, not a sales pitch.

The trick is to tell them something they want to learn — teach them something for free — and then mention how your product or service can help them reach those goals even more efficiently (or with better results). Teach your readers about what you do.

Always tie what you write back into what you have to offer, but you don’t necessarily have to “sell” your customers in your emails. Write about something that would interest them, such as a solution to a common problem. This can help establish you as an expert in the field — and help them see how working with you can benefit them.

Keep Them Interested

Imagine this: A potential client sees your email with a super snazzy subject line in their inbox and they open it. The content is short and sweet — but uninteresting. Maybe they didn’t learn anything from it. Maybe they couldn’t figure out the point of it.

The email goes straight into the trash… and they never open another one of your emails again.

Ouch.

Let’s avoid that… Keeping your readers interested is a two-part process:

  • First, figure out the purpose. Each email should have a reason behind it. Are you trying to get readers to click through to a blog post? Sign up for a class? Offer you feedback on your services? Follow you on social media? Determine what action you want them to take first. Then build the email around that — and be sure to include a call to action (CTA) that clearly and concisely tells them what step to take next.
  • Include information they actually want to know. It’s all well and good to state a clear call to action, but what if the reader just… doesn’t care about what you’re trying to sell them on? They’re probably not going to follow that CTA.

So, how do you figure out what people are interested in?

Think about common questions customers have. This serves a double purpose: addressing them in an email newsletter will reduce the time your staff has to spend talking about them in person. If you have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on your website, consider expanding on your responses to those questions more in depth in a newsletter. Is there a piece of advice you give out constantly that you find tends to catch people by surprise? That’s another great topic you can explore in an email!

Pay Attention to What Works

The last piece of writing effective email newsletters is arguably the most important (and maybe the least exciting for some folks): tracking and analyzing your data.

If you’re not doing this part… your email marketing strategy can be boiled down to throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping it sticks.

Don’t be a spaghetti thrower. It’s just… messy.

Keep track of your most and least effective subject lines, content, times you send out your newsletters, and number of subscribes/unsubscribes. What’s working? What’s not? I keep my data tracked in a spreadsheet that I fill out once a month. Every couple of months, I’ll take some time to look over it and see what trends are coming up.

You don’t need to use a spreadsheet — programs like GetResponse will give you data through reports. The point is that you figure out what works for you; then act on the data to make changes that streamline your process.

Want to learn more about what marketing tips are working for dog trainers? We just wrapped up the most comprehensive survey of the dog training industry ever — you can access the report by signing up for the Click & Repeat email newsletter below!

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