6 Proven Tactics for Creating Email Newsletters That Convert in 2024

Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to nurture leads and drive conversions. In fact, the average ROI for email is $38 for every $1 spent, far outperforming other channels like social media and paid search (Campaign Monitor).

However, with the average person receiving 120+ emails per day (Radicati Group), it‘s harder than ever to create newsletters that stand out in a crowded inbox. How can you craft campaigns that not only get opened and read, but also inspire people to take action?

In this guide, I‘ll walk you through six research-backed strategies to take your newsletters to the next level. You‘ll learn how to optimize each key element of your emails, from irresistible subject lines to powerful calls-to-action. Plus, see real-world examples you can model in your own campaigns.

Whether you‘re a total beginner or a seasoned email marketer, read on to get proven tips you can implement right away.

1. Craft Eye-Catching Subject Lines

Your subject line is the gateway to your email content. It doesn‘t matter how great your newsletter is if nobody opens it! In fact, 47% of email recipients decide whether to open an email based on the subject line alone (Invesp).

To boost your open rates, aim to keep your subject lines:

  • Clear – Communicate exactly what‘s inside the email, no vague teases
  • Concise – Aim for 41 characters or less to avoid getting cut off
  • Compelling – Highlight an intriguing benefit, pique curiosity, or create urgency

Personalized subject lines in particular can increase opens by 26% (Campaign Monitor). Try including the recipient‘s first name or referencing their location, interests, or past behaviors.

Here are some high-performing subject line formulas to try:

  • [Name], Your Exclusive 20% Off Code Expires at Midnight!
  • The #1 Reason Why [Desired Result]
  • How I [Achieved Impressive Result] in Just [Timeframe]
  • You‘re Missing Out on [Benefit] (Open Now)
  • [Name], I Thought You Might Like This [Resource/Offer]

A/B Test Your Subject Lines

Not sure which subject line approach will resonate best? A/B test! Create 2-3 variations and send them to a small portion of your list. Then, send the winning subject line to the remaining subscribers.

Just be sure to test only one element at a time (e.g. length, tone, inclusion of numbers) so you can pinpoint what made the difference.

2. Draw Them in With Preheader Text

After the subject line, your preheader text is the next thing subscribers see before opening your email. Also called preview text, this short snippet can further persuade people to click through.

Your preheader text should:

  • Expand on your subject line with a secondary hook
  • Be 50-130 characters long
  • Include a call-to-action if space allows

Place your preheader text at the very top of your email, above any logos or graphics. This ensures it won‘t get pushed down and truncated in the inbox preview.

Here‘s an example of enticing preheader text:

Subject Line: [Name], Get My 10 Best Productivity Hacks
Preheader Text: Exclusive tips for [Company] customers only. Claim yours now before I take this down!

Test Your Preheader Text

Just like with subject lines, it‘s worth A/B testing your preheader copy as well. Try variations focused on different value propositions, CTAs, or levels of urgency. Even small tweaks can lead to significant lifts in opens.

3. Design Mobile-First, Scannable Layouts

Once someone opens your email, you have mere seconds to captivate their attention before they click away. A poor visual experience is one of the top reasons people unsubscribe from newsletters.

To keep readers engaged, your email design should be:

  • Mobile-optimized – Over 70% of people delete poorly formatted emails within 3 seconds (Adestra). Aim for a single column layout that‘s around 600px wide for easy mobile viewing.

  • Scannable – Use a clear visual hierarchy with short paragraphs, ample white space, subheadings, and bullet points. Your main message and CTA should be visible without scrolling.

  • On-brand – Incorporate your logo, brand colors, and imagery to build trust and recognition. In fact, consistent brand presentation can increase revenue by 33% on average (Lucidpress).

  • Accessible – Use a minimum 14px font size, left-align your text, and choose high-contrast colors for easy readability.

Here‘s an example of a mobile-friendly, scannable newsletter design from Cook Smarts:

[Insert example screenshot]

The single-column layout, large typography, and generous white space make the content a breeze to digest. The prominent CTAs are easy to tap, even on a small screen.

Test for Different Devices and Clients

Email rendering can vary widely between devices and clients. Send test emails to yourself and view them on multiple screens, from iPhones to desktop clients like Outlook.

For a more comprehensive check, use a tool like Litmus to preview your campaigns across 90+ email clients and devices. The goal is to create an optimal experience for every subscriber, regardless of how they‘re viewing your newsletter.

4. Write Compelling, Reader-Focused Copy

Crafting email copy that converts requires you to focus relentlessly on your reader. What are their goals, pain points, and desires? How can your newsletter help them achieve a transformation?

Follow these copywriting best practices to captivate your audience:

  • Focus on benefits – Don‘t just list features, paint a vivid picture of the results your reader can achieve.

  • Write conversationally – Use simple words, short sentences, and a warm tone, like you‘re writing to a friend. Avoid jargon or overly formal language.

  • Personalize the content – Segment your list so you can tailor your messaging to each subscriber‘s unique needs and interests. Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates (Experian).

  • Keep it concise – Aim for 50-125 words per paragraph and 20 lines of text max. Use bullets and subheads to break up longer copy.

  • Address objections – Anticipate and counter any reasons why a reader might be hesitant to take action. Use social proof and credibility-building elements to build trust.

The most effective emails make every word count. Ruthlessly edit your copy and remove anything that doesn‘t directly support your main objective.

Test Your Messaging

Not sure which angle will best resonate with your audience? A/B test your newsletter copy! Try varying your hooks, benefits, stories, offers, and CTAs to see what drives the most engagement.

Just be sure to test only one element at a time so you can attribute any differences in results.

5. Leverage the Power of Segmentation

Segmented email campaigns earn 100.95% higher clickthrough rates than non-segmented ones (Mailchimp). By tailoring your newsletters to specific audience groups, you can dramatically increase the relevance and value for each individual subscriber.

Here are some ways to segment your list:

  • Demographic – Age, gender, location, job title
  • Behavior – Email engagement, website activity, past purchases
  • Interests – Specific topics, content, or product categories
  • Customer journey stage – New lead, engaged prospect, customer, etc.

To gather the data for segmentation, try:

  • Surveying subscribers at sign-up or periodically
  • Progressive profiling on landing page forms
  • Integrating data from your CRM or e-commerce platform
  • Tracking email and website engagement

For example, say you sell running shoes. You could segment subscribers by their self-reported fitness level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and send each group tailored product recommendations, training tips, and resources.

The deeper you understand your subscribers, the better you can craft targeted, high-converting campaigns.

6. Guide Them With Clear Calls-to-Action

Your call-to-action (CTA) tells readers exactly what to do next, whether that‘s reading a blog post, registering for a webinar, or making a purchase.

To create irresistible CTAs that drive action:

  • Make them specific – Use first-person, action-oriented copy like "Start my free trial" or "Get my discount."

  • Prioritize one CTA – Include a single, primary call-to-action per email. Any more than that and you risk choice paralysis.

  • Use a button – Make your CTA a prominent, tappable button. Emails with a CTA button earn 28% higher conversions than text links (Campaign Monitor).

  • Provide multiple opportunities – Include your main CTA in several locations, such as the top, middle, and bottom of your email.

  • Create urgency – Compel immediate action with limited-time offers, scarcity, or exclusive content. Subject lines that create a sense of urgency have a 22% higher open rate (Email Institute).

Here‘s an example of an effective CTA from Dropbox. The copy clearly communicates the benefit of taking action, while the bold button jumps off the page:

[Insert screenshot example]

Test Your CTAs Religiously

Your call-to-action is one of the most critical elements to test in your newsletters. Even small tweaks to the copy, design, or placement can lead to big lifts in your click-through rates.

Try A/B testing variables like:

  • First vs. third-person copy
  • Benefit-focused vs. action-oriented messaging
  • Long vs. short copy
  • Button color and shape
  • Placement (top vs. bottom, left vs. right-aligned)

Aim to run a new CTA test with every newsletter send. Over time, these incremental improvements will compound into significant gains.

Key Takeaways

Let‘s recap the six essential strategies for high-converting newsletters in 2024:

  1. Craft compelling subject lines – Aim for clarity, brevity, and personalization to stand out in a crowded inbox.

  2. Hook readers with preheader text – Expand on your subject line to further entice opens.

  3. Design mobile-first, scannable layouts – Optimize for small screens and short attention spans with clear visual hierarchy and prominent CTAs.

  4. Write reader-focused copy – Keep your messaging concise, conversational, and laser-focused on subscriber benefits.

  5. Segment your audience – Group subscribers by demographics, behavior, interests, or stage to send hyper-relevant campaigns.

  6. Guide them with clear calls-to-action – Use specific, first-person copy and urgent offers to compel immediate action.

Of course, this advice will only take you so far. The key to truly optimizing your newsletters is to run your own experiments and let your unique audience be your guide. Continually collect feedback, analyze your engagement metrics, and test new approaches to see what works best.

The more value you provide and the stronger relationships you build with your subscribers, the more effective your email marketing will be in driving bottom-line results. Implement these six strategies with every send and watch your conversions soar.

About the Author

[Your Name] is a conversion copywriter and email strategist who helps [niche/industry] brands craft high-converting campaigns. Through his consultancy [Company], he‘s helped clients like [impressive client] achieve [impressive result]. [Your Name] has been featured in leading industry publications like [example] and [example]. When he‘s not nerding out over email marketing, you can find him [unique hobby/interest].

Connect with him on [social media platform] or grab his free [lead magnet] to get his best email tips delivered straight to your inbox.

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