Experts have long agreed that email marketing is a critical component to content marketing. In fact, Neil Patel, Co-Founder of KISSmetricsCrazyEgg, and QuickSprout says: “Out of all the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them.” Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute, went so far as to say “If I have one regret as a business owner, it’s not focusing on building our email list earlier in the process.”

No matter what type of service you provide, publishing a newsletter is a great marketing strategy because it allows you to regularly connect with your audience.

But a newsletter can do much more than that. By giving your subscribers useful information that showcases your expertise, you’ll cultivate their trust. The greater their trust, the more likely they are to hire you.

Here’s the problem: too many business owners jump in feet first without having a clear vision of what they want their newsletters to do for their businesses. The result is that their emails lack direction or purpose. Below, you’ll find a short checklist of 7 key items to double-check before you hit the send button. Get these 7 things right and you’ll find it much easier to engage your audience and persuade them to do what you want them to do.

#1 – What Is Your Goal For This Email?

Each email you send, whether it’s a regularly-scheduled issue of your newsletter or a promotional offer, has a purpose. You should know what that purpose is before you send it out.

For example, do you want subscribers to hire you for a particular service? Are you trying to boost the size of your mailing list by sending out content that will be shared with others? Are you hoping to nurture the relationships you have with your existing customers in anticipation of launching a new product or service?

Focus on achieving one goal in each email.

#2 – Are You Sending Quality Content?

Make certain that your content is memorable before sending it to the people on your mailing list. Good isn’t good enough. Your subscribers have a lot of options when it comes to which emails they’ll read and which they’ll delete. Make yours stand out from the pack by consistently providing top-notch information.

Remember, your email marketing is competing for your subscribers’ time and attention. If they look forward to receiving your newsletter because it always carries great info, they’ll be much more inclined to open and read it when it arrives. Don’t be afraid to write in a friendly tone to them either. A little humor can go a long way.

#3 – Do You Have A Strong CTA?

Every email you send should have a Call To Action (CTA). For example, you might include a link to your latest blog post and tell the reader to click through to read it. Or you might simply tell the reader to watch for an important message from you on Thursday.

Your call to action should be clear, simple, and to the point. And, make sure there’s only one CTA per email; it should not have to compete with a second call to action. Also important, give your readers a reason to act promptly (for example, “Buy today! Offer ends at midnight!”).

#4 – Is Your Subject Line Click-Worthy?

Subject lines play a major role in whether your subscribers will open your emails. They should be compelling enough to pique their curiosity, but not so vague that they offer no clue regarding what your subscribers will find when they open them.

There are many formulas you can use to craft subject lines that prove irresistible to your audience. The best approach is to test several of them. Track your open rates and clickthroughs to determine which ones are the most effective with your subscribers. Not sure where to start? Check out this blog from HubSpot featuring 23 Sales Email Subject Lines That Get Prospects To Open, Read, And Respond.

#5 – Is Your Email Too Long?

Few people read long emails these days. Even if your newsletter is packed with the highest-quality and most reliable information in your niche, you’re better off providing links to the content on your site

Also, keep in mind that the more someone has to scroll down to read your email, the fewer people that will read it. In addition to keeping it short, include the most important details above the fold. That way, the reader doesn’t have to scroll to read it.

#6 – Time Of Distribution

The best days of the week to email the people on your list are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The best time of the day to do so is a little harder to nail down. Data shows that late morning and late evening are both popular.

Keep in mind that your own email marketing data trumps everything else. Test different days of the week and different times of the day. Track your open rates and clickthroughs. You may find that your audience is more likely to open and read your emails during the evenings on weekends. Once you know your own stats, you can adjust your publishing schedule so the greatest number of subscribers will read your emails.

#7 – Is Your Email Mobile-Friendly?

More people than ever are reading their emails on their phones and other devices. If you want to reach them, you need to make sure your newsletter is formatted properly for the every platform.

Email distribution services, such as Aweber and MailChimp, offer numerous templates you can use to make your newsletters appear attractive on your subscribers’ mobiles. Take advantage of these!

Creating top-notch content for your newsletter is only one part of what makes this marketing strategy so effective. You also need to know what you’re trying to accomplish each time you email your subscribers. The next time you’re about to send out an issue, double-check the 7 items above before you hit the Send button

Your Turn!

Can you think of other elements that are important to the success of an email newsletter? If you’re currently publishing a newsletter, have you tested your subject lines, calls to action, or distribution time? Share your experiences with the community in the comments section!