How do you gain and retain an audience by building an email newsletter?


There are millions of shiny objects to occupy potential followers. You probably have an inbox littered with messages from various talking heads. Don’t let the email newsletter you create be destined for a spam filter.

How can you make your email newsletters so appealing that people open, read and interact?

Build your audience with a simple fishing idiom: Hook, Line and Sinker.

Step 1 – The Hook: You need something that will captivate their attention.

Respect your readers, period.

Be relevant, get to the point and give them something of value. Before they click delete, start with headlines that demand a second look. The title of your content in the subject line of your email newsletter is your first impression.

Make it a good impression.

Some examples of great hooks in the subject line of a newsletter are:

  • “Where to Drink Beer Right Now” – Eater Boston
  • “The broke girl’s guide to a luxury vacation” – Refinery29
  • “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring” – Warby Parker

Step 2 – Your Line: Give them a reason to go deeper.

Now that they opened your email newsletter, you only have about 10 seconds before they push delete or continue further. Your message may be a diamond in the rough, but hiding it among extraneous information will lose your reader.

Furthermore, something that is important to your organization may not be important to them. Sending newsletters via email is about giving your reader news and information they care and want to know about.

This begs the question, “Why are you contacting them?”

Start by telling your recipient WHY you are emailing them. Say I’m writing a Church email newsletter then I might want to start with –

“Being a valued member of the Antioch community we wanted to keep you fully abreast of what’s coming up this month. Now you can be sure not to miss any important dates”

Provide your current and potential audience with valuable and informative content instead of directly promoting your product or service. Share success stories and images of previous engagements with your customers and readers. People relate to other people’s stories.

Don’t stop there!

Give each round of readers the opportunity to engage with you. It is paramount that you plan out your content for your email newsletter deliberately with a clear long term goal in mind. Content needs to be delivered consistently and purposefully in order to keep them engaged.

Create and Send Engaging Newsletters From Gmail

Step 3 – The Sinker: Drive them to a call for action.

At the end of the day, people will not buy, donate, or commit unless they are engaged. You need to provide a way for your audience to act and interact.
Placing action buttons inside the newsletter does not have to constitute a sales pitch. After delivering valuable content, place a “Share your comments” action inside your email newsletter and be prepared to respond to the comments you receive.

Failing to interact will only hurt your image and the relationships you wish to build. Use the responses to tailor your messaging and use it in future content with permission.

Openly reward people for interacting with you. Turn your lurkers into seekers and convert your seekers into advocates. Building a successful email newsletter campaign is about engaging customers. Go engage them.