How to Create a Better Swipe File: 7 Newsletters You Should Subscribe To
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An email swipe file is the best way to get ideas for your own email marketing. It’s a smart idea to setup folders or labels in your inbox to tag emails that inspire you. That way, you have a constantly growing repository of ideas.
But it’s also a good idea to subscribe to lots of newsletters to see what the pros are doing. With all the noise out there, it can be difficult to differentiate between bad email newsletters and great emails newsletters. Every website you visit wants to get you on their subscriber list, and while it’s a good to sign up for lots of them, it’s nice to have a few newsletters you can always depend on for great ideas.
We pulled together some of the best newsletters on the Internet to help you create a real-time swipe file. Pay close attention, these pros are some of the most savvy marketers on the web.
Noah is one of the best email marketer’s we know. Just take a look at an excerpt from a recent email we received from him.
What you can learn from Noah’s emails:
- Get personal. Noah’s emails are personal. He’s a big fan of plain text and often doesn’t even capitalize a single letter. His emails feel like notes from one friend to another.
- Tell a story. He uses storytelling to drive a narrative about life and the meaning of your work. It’s a powerful approach that makes his audience feel something.
- Don’t fear long-form content. He often includes the entire text of a blog post within the email. It makes for a quick and easy reading experience. His call to action is simply to come leave a comment on the blog. No wonder there are so many comments on his posts!
Joanna Wiebe was born with the gift of writing and has spent years perfecting her craft. She is one of the best copywriters we’ve seen and her emails always deliver.
What you can learn from Joanna’s emails:
- Show your skills. No one is better at communicating than Joanna Wiebe. Her writing skills, which she is selling on Copyhackers, really shine through in her emails.
- Present solutions. She is great at explaining a problem and presenting a solution. I often find that I didn’t realize I have the problem until she explained it.
- Don’t chase the lowest common denominator. Like Noah, her emails have a very personal touch. They feel like they were sent to me, rather than the many thousands of people on her subscriber list.
Nir Eyal studies and writes about habits. It’s no surprise that his email updates are habit-forming. This innovative thinker is putting his research to good use in his own email marketing.
What you can learn from Nir’s emails:
- Lead with great content. Nir Eyal leads with content. In fact, he emails entire posts. More importantly, though, his content is so good. Every post explores an interesting topic and is backed with plenty of data and research.
- Streamline the process. By sending out an entire post within his email newsletter, Nir eliminates the step of writing additional copy for a newsletter. For someone with a strong reputation like Nir, this is a great way to save time on every newsletter.
- Brand yourself. Nir has come up with a clever name for his blog and newsletter — “Nir and Far” — as well as a catchy logo. Both are front and center in every email.
Though infrequent, Gregory Ciotti’s newsletter is always a welcome sight in the inbox, thanks to his candid writing and practical advice.
What you can learn from Gregory’s emails:
- Be transparent. This is a personal blog and newsletter, and the content is entirely authentic. Most of his work appears on the HelpScout blog so this is a great outlet for in-the-trenches advice. His posts and newsletter often discuss the challenges he and HelpScout face growing their blog and company.
- Use real data. Wouldn’t you like to know how to get 255,262 views on LinkedIn and 300,000 email subscribers? Gregory uses real data to tell real stories. It’s a huge part of what his newsletter so exciting to receive.
- Email sparingly. Because this is a personal endeavor, Gregory doesn’t have time to crank out content for the blog and newsletter. When he does, however, it’s gold. Don’t blast your email subscribers with junk just to get a few pageviews — make sure anything you send is great.
These four people have created newsletters we can learn from but not everyone is trying to build a personal brand. Here are examples from a few businesses that are really killing it.
Exposure is a photography portfolio platform that sends out a weekly newsletter featuring the work of their users. It’s highly curated and always loaded with beautiful photography.
What you can learn from Exposure’s emails:
- Embrace imagery. Art invokes emotion (and makes for beautiful emails). It helps that Exposure has a community of talented photographers uploading new images everyday but any marketer can use visual stimulation to improve their email. Need images? Get some here.
- Crowdsource. All of the content in this weekly email is user-generated. If, for example, you work in the SaaS world or e-commerce, look for ways to create your own user-generated content. You could collect case studies, testimonials and even showcase your clients’ work to help show the value of your own product or service.
- Bring in guests. Another interesting thing about the Exposure newsletter is that they are often curated by guest photographers. It’s an even trade – the guest does the work for your newsletter and then gets some exposure (no pun intended) in the newsletter.
A service like IFTTT can be overwhelming to us non-programmers who don’t spend much time creating if-then statements. It’s an incredibly powerful service, however, and the use of visual guides throughout their emails and app is enormously helpful.
What you can learn from IFTTT’s emails:
- Feature other brands. IFTTT works with lots of other platforms to make their app more powerful. By leveraging the clout of these other businesses, they add credibility to their own.
- Deep link. They often include example “Recipes” — if-then formulas that connect two apps — in their newsletters. Using deep links, users can enable the Recipes on their own account with a single click.
- Don’t get too wordy. The example email above contains 12 words (not including the text in the sample Recipes). They rely on the images to sell the value of the service.
Sometimes, less is more. The simplicity of Wistia’s emails is refreshing, especially in the crowded marketing space.
What you can learn from Wistia’s emails:
- Show, don’t tell. An email newsletter isn’t a place to convince people to come to your site, it’s more of a notification that there’s something new. Wistia’s straightforward and simple emails simply move subscribers from the inbox to their website without any frills.
- Be proactive. The content in the newsletter above is helping Wistia’s users future-proof their SEO. It’s not only helpful information but the kind of gesture that endears users to the source.
- Get specific. In the marketing community, think pieces aren’t going to do much for your conversions but niche content can really move the needle. “Video in a post-snippet world” is very specific and highly valuable to the right audience.
Are they are any newsletters you draw inspiration from? Let us know in the comments.
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