Forever my favorite source of research-backed useful user research, the Nielsen-Norman Group just released new findings about email newsletters.
Newsletters are a key way all nonprofits establish and maintain a relationship with supporters, so I was keen to read the findings. All nonprofit communication staff need to read this article.
- Emotional connections with newsletters have decreased because people’s inboxes are so flooded with emails.
- It’s critical that newsletters are relevant to users, though that relevancy doesn’t have to be personal. It could be seasonal or tied to a major news story. What’s important is that the content doesn’t feel random and unexpected.
- Because people are less-connected to newsletters, they’re more willing to sign up for a newsletter. This means short, low friction sign up forms work. Keep forms as short as possible. (A general good rule of thumb for all forms!)
- Many subscribers are simply people who haven’t taken the time to unsubscribe because they either filter or delete the messages rather than unsubscribe.
- Single-column newsletters with lots of big images are in and effective, though you should always consider file sizes of the images.
Like I said, these are interesting and actionable points. The loss of emotional connection is disappointing, but it still ends with this key point that should keep everyone motivated and emailing.
Our research participants still appreciate good emails and read them. So if your brand can deliver relevant and interesting emails, this aging media form is still a superb way to stay in touch with your customers.