3 Outside-the-Box Ideas for Your Email Newsletter

As more people rely on email, marketers willing to try out-of-the-box approaches can reap the highest rewards.

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By Liviu Tanase

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Just about half of the people on earth have an email address and the potential for marketers are tremendous. More than 60% of consumers say they want to hear from a brand once a week at minimum, and 86 percent would like to receive a marketing email at least once a month.

With email marketing being so effective, there's incredible value in keeping things engaging. Could you use some fresh approaches? Here are a few outside-the-box ideas for your email newsletter.

1. Involve your readers more

Many brands have realized the value of getting user-generated content for their social media channels. This includes reviews, testimonials, pictures and increasingly, videos. One outside-the-box idea is to include more user-generated content in your emails.

Most effective email marketers know that there is great value in encouraging responses from the readers. But maybe you can take this idea to another level. Consider going beyond traditional user-generated content. Depending on your brand, you could invite a reader to write for the newsletter. If you introduce a new product, ask your subscribers to talk about it and perhaps share a few photos. Most people like this because it's like "15 minutes of fame."

Not only will this social proof help boost sales, but it will strengthen the relationship you have with customers. It increases brand loyalty and can grow email engagement because it's interesting for the readers to get a different perspective.

Related: 5 Tips for Better Email Marketing Performance

2. Break the format

Many email marketers emphasize the graphic design of their newsletters. For those people, this suggestion may seem especially outside the box.

According to a Hubspot study, when surveyed, approximately two-thirds of consumers said they preferred image-based emails. However, the study also revealed something interesting. Although people indicated a preference for those HTML emails, in A/B tests plain-text emails had a 17 percent higher click-through rate. Also, the click-to-open rate, which measures the total number of clicks out of the number of opens, was 21 percent higher.

If you use at least one image in your newsletter, try breaking the format. For a change, consider going with a plain-text email, exactly like a friend would send. Then observe how the list responds.

On the other hand, if you already send plain-text newsletters, try including at least one image and observe your subscribers' behavior. You'll get useful information if you run your own tests.

Related: 3 Cold-Email-Marketing Tips to Get More Clients Fast

3. Consider cross-promotions with other companies

We get by with a little help from our friends, and in email marketing, we can do more than get by. We can thrive, and good relationships with other companies are key. What non-competitors could you partner with for mutual benefit?

At ZeroBounce, we've had many co-marketing partnerships through the years. We cherish those relationships. We partner all the time with non-competing email companies.

Why? There's nothing but upside. Their customers may need your service or product, and your customers may appreciate what your partners have to offer. When it comes to email, you may both be able to grow your lists. One potential approach is to offer a discount to your co-marketing partner's subscribers. In exchange, you can let your readers know about a special offer that they come up with.

It's a win-win. You can cross-promote and there are endless possibilities of what you can do via social media, blogs and newsletters.

Brainstorm other outside-the-box ideas

What's missing from a lot of marketing emails is originality. It can be all too obvious when you see someone who is simply following trends. The people who decide to take chances and do something new are the ones who stand out. It's not to say you should be reckless, but give those outside-the-box ideas some serious thought.

What you may think of as silly or unusual could catch your audience's attention positively. Brainstorm tactics. Write down everything that comes to your mind. Then, take the ideas with the most potential and run them by people you trust. Some of these ideas may turn your next email into an example for other companies to pursue.

Related: Why Email Marketing Is Better for Your Business Than Social Media

Liviu Tanase

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Founder & CEO of ZeroBounce

Liviu Tanase is a serial entrepreneur and telecommunication executive with extensive experience in the creation, growth and sale of novel technologies. He is currently the CEO of ZeroBounce, an email validation and deliverability platform.

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