Newer digital media like TikTok and NFTs may get all the headlines, but according to research email newsletters still have 40 times the effectiveness of social media. Campaign Monitor confers, noting, “These emails…seem to make an impact. They’ve been shown to drive sales, boost social media reach and increase website traffic and engagement.”

Why? Because email newsletters help build:

  • Customer engagement, turning one-time customers into repeat buyers
  • Strong, direct relationships with audiences
  • Habit and loyalty

According to Questline Digital Marketing Director Bethany Farchione, “Newsletters are an authentic way to regularly communicate with customers. Whether you’re handpicking relevant content for your audience or writing a personalized intro, you’re talking with your customers directly and curating an experience for them. It’s difficult to find another medium that offers this level of engagement.”

However, before the content can speak for itself, audiences must first be drawn into the newsletter with the best email subject lines.

A newsletter email subject line is the first thing readers see when they scan their inbox. It is your utility’s initial chance to garner attention, connect with customers and build trust with your brand. The best subject lines must balance being informative and engaging, previewing the valuable information inside and prompting readers to open your newsletter to learn more.

Repeatable Newsletter Subject Lines Take Precedence

According to Questline Digital’s 2022 Energy Utility Benchmarks Report, the best email subject lines utilize a repeatable format, such as “Utility Name + eNews + Month,” delivering higher engagement than newsletters with new or custom subject lines each month.

In fact, repeatable newsletter email subject lines experienced:

  • 28.1% higher open rate compared to newsletters that used new/custom subject lines each month
  • 23.3% higher click-to-open rate (CTOR) compared to newsletters that used new/custom subjects each month

The top 5 most popular non-custom newsletter subject lines of 2021

Questline Digital’s Energy Utility Benchmarks Report found that non-custom subject lines achieved more engagement than custom subject lines. The following are the top non-custom newsletter subject lines from all utility email deployments in 2021.

Chart listing the top 5 most popular non custom email newsletter subject lines

The top 5 most popular custom newsletter subject lines of 2021

Despite performance metrics data showing that non-custom subject lines performed better, custom subject lines still delivered engagement from customers. The following are the top custom newsletter subject lines from all utility email deployments in 2021.

Chart listing the top 5 most popular custom email newsletter subject lines

Tips for Writing the Best Email Subject Lines for Newsletters

Even though Questline Digital data has shown that repeatable newsletter subject lines perform better than customized subject lines, it’s still important to test the best subject lines for your specific audience. Consider performing A/B tests with varying subject lines or segmenting your audiences to see which newsletter attracts more opens or clicks.

When creating customized newsletter email subject lines, consider:

  • Personalizing the subject line with your receiver’s name
  • Be brief; no more than 40 characters
  • Put relevant information at the beginning; subject lines may get cut off
  • Make the subject line timely
  • Try using an emoji to capture attention
  • Offer value within your subject line

When creating repeatable newsletter subject lines, remember:

  • Keep it short and to the point
  • Include your utility’s name
  • Consider incorporating the month or date
  • Try to feature the topic of the newsletter

No matter which subject lines you run with, remember to use a familiar sender name and avoid a “no-reply” sender name. An un-optimized sender name may send your newsletter to the spam or trash folders.

Detailed Suggestions for Writing the Best Newsletter Subject Lines

Connecting with customers in crowded inboxes is no easy feat. When customers look to subject lines for whether or not to open an email, it’s important to put your best foot forward. When writing email newsletter subject lines, consider:

  • Length
  • A/B testing
  • Segmentation
  • Action words

Email newsletter subject line length

Email platforms only allow so many words and characters in a subject line. That’s why it’s important to keep subject lines on the shorter side. Test character and word limits to see what resonates most with your customers, but in general, we suggest staying within six and 10 words or 50 characters.

A/B testing for newsletter subject lines

As mentioned above, testing for what resonates with your customers is imperative. Consider writing different subject lines for various email newsletter sends to see what delivers more opens or clicks. Test word length, humor versus serious tones and including the value of the content. Testing allows your utility to see what makes an impact with customers so you can continue using similar subject lines down the road.

Incorporate segmentation and personalization

When it comes to emails, no one enjoys a one-size-fits-all approach. Opening an email should be an experience for customers to see products and solutions that fit their interests or needs. By segmenting your email newsletters and developing subject lines that highlight that personalization, your utility will show it cares about connecting with customers and providing them with valuable information.

Utilize action words in your newsletter subject lines

How many times have words like “Hurry, SOS, Ending Soon” prompted you to open an email you otherwise may have scrolled past? We’re willing to bet fairly often. Although these specific words are more fear-based action words, prompting a FOMO (fear of missing out) reaction, there are many other action words that can generate similar responses from your utility’s customers. Some of the most well-received action words include:

  • Update
  • Join
  • Congratulations
  • Last Chance
  • Final Offer

Avoid using special characters or all caps in subject lines, as these will typically catch the eyes of spam filters.

Make a Good First Impression with Newsletter Email Subject Lines

First impressions are everything and a subject line is the best chance your utility has when it comes to newsletters. Make it count by considering your utility’s message, the value to its customers and why they should open your email. Remember: If it doesn’t pique your interest, it won’t pique your customers’ interests either.

Effective subject lines are critical in engaging with utility customers. Put time and effort into crafting one and the next best email subject line for newsletters could be yours.

Learn more about building lasting customer engagement and satisfaction with Questline Digital’s residential and business newsletter solutions.

To keep customers engaged in between billing notices and program promotions, energy utilities should have a consistent touchpoint like a monthly utility newsletter. This ongoing communication is popular across audiences, from residential customers to small business owners to C&I facility managers.

According to Questline Digital’s 2020 Energy Utility Benchmarks Report, utility newsletter readers are much more engaged with their energy utility’s program promotions. In fact, residential eNewsletter readers open promotional emails at a 37% higher rate. Small and medium business eNewsletter readers click on promotional emails at a 73% higher rate.

To gain more insights, we spoke with Brian Lindamood, Questline Digital’s VP of Marketing & Content Strategy, about the power of eNewsletters and why they are essential for energy utilities.  

Why are utility newsletters a vital customer engagement tool?

A monthly email newsletter is a critical part of a customer engagement strategy for any energy utility. They provide a regular touchpoint — a monthly reminder that the utility is working to improve customers’ lives — which is key to maintaining customer satisfaction over the long run. As part of a comprehensive content strategy, eNewsletters can reinforce messages shared on social media and drive traffic to relevant pages on a utility’s website. This creates a consistent customer experience across digital channels.

eNewsletters are also a more personal connection than other channels. When you reach inboxes on a smartphone — and more than 60% of utility newsletters are read on mobile devices — your message is going literally into customers’ hands. Plus, email is the most flexible channel. By segmenting your eNewsletter audience, you can deliver extremely relevant, targeted content that you know customers will be interested in.  

How do eNewsletters build engagement with customers versus a one-time email?

Utility newsletters are a consistent, reliable touchpoint between an energy provider and its customers. This is a chance for utilities to be part of customers’ lives on a regular basis by answering their questions, providing helpful advice and sharing interesting information.

Ultimately, this ongoing engagement builds trust and helps customers see their utility as a helpful resource. You simply cannot build that kind of relationship with a one-time email.  

What is the recommended utility newsletter cadence for maximum engagement?

We recommend a monthly schedule for utility newsletters. Our performance metrics have shown that this is “just right” — not too often, but not so infrequent that you lose the benefit of regular contact.

An eNewsletter builds engagement in part because of its regular cadence. Customers know to expect interesting content and useful advice from their utility, and they get in the habit of looking for it every month. In our experience, a bimonthly or quarterly newsletter schedule loses that benefit and delivers lower engagement. (See comparison chart below.)

Why do customers often see more value in eNewsletters compared to other types of campaigns, such as program promotions?

Advertisements are easy for customers to tune out. An unwanted promotional email is easy to delete. On the other hand, customers open eNewsletters because they want to read them — they look forward to receiving useful advice. Customers value their utility newsletters because the content interests them; it’s not just trying to sell them something.

What types of content should be included in a utility newsletter?

The best content helps improve customers’ lives. It may be energy efficiency advice that helps a customer save money, do-it-yourself tips that make a customer’s home more comfortable or educational content that helps a customer improve their energy use.

In terms of format, we recommend using a mix of text articles, videos, infographics and interactive games and quizzes. Some topics lend themselves to different formats better than others — say, because of the complexity or visual nature of the information. But more important, customers want to engage with content in a variety of ways. Sometimes they want to learn about energy through a fun quiz or watch an entertaining video. Other times, they need the visual detail of an infographic that breaks down a complicated topic.

Why is audience segmentation a valuable strategy for eNewsletters?

The goal of any content strategy is to build a long-term relationship with customers by providing content that is interesting and useful to them. Of course, not every customer is interested in the same things. If you can identify those differences, and provide specific content that meets those interests, you are more likely to increase engagement and build a strong connection with those customers.

A simple example, and one we recommend, is to create residential segments for homeowners and renters. Homeowners will be looking for energy efficiency advice that includes more elaborate renovation projects — such as insulation or HVAC replacement — where renters are more interested in efficiency measures that don’t require a large investment, like using LED lightbulbs or smart power strips.

To engage business customers, we recommend creating industry-based segments. For example, a retail shop, manufacturing plant and healthcare facility have wildly different energy needs. Through a segmented eNewsletter, we can deliver specific content to each industry. This is not only more useful to the customer, but it increases engagement and ultimately improves customer satisfaction.

A Look Back: Quarterly vs. Monthly Utility Newsletters

Since a majority of our utility partners now deploy monthly eNewsletters, 2017 is the most recent year we have metrics on monthly versus quarterly sends. In our Energy Utility Benchmarks Report, we looked at the average performance metrics across business audiences.

Based on this data, energy provuders were able to increase reach by 17 percentage points when sending utility newsletters monthly instead of quarterly.

Chart showing the performance of quarterly newsletters and monthly newsletters

Monthly newsletters perform better than quarterly newsletters across all categories. We continue to see that when communications become less frequent, customer engagement suffers.

Learn how Questline Digital’s utility newsletters can build engagement with your customers.

Newsletters have been around for a very long time — building relationships with readers since the 16th century. In the 1990s, the rise of email started the modern eNewsletter and delivery of curated content to inboxes. While email newsletters have been around a long time, they are still as effective as ever. In fact, eNewsletters have experienced a resurgence in recent years as customers increasingly look to personalized communications and relevant information from the brands they trust.

In Questline Digital’s Plugged In webinar, “The Resurgence of eNewsletters and What It Means for Your Utility,” Bethany Farchione and Ashley Guttuso shared best practices to help your energy utility’s eNewsletter stand out from the rest.

eNewsletters: The No.-1 customer engagement tool

In recent years, there has been a resurgence in eNewsletter popularity. Today’s digital landscape has transformed into a “creator economy” with over 50 million independent content creators, curators and community builders (i.e. social media influencers). With this shift, consumers are looking for useful information and a little bit of personality from the brands they know and love.

A powerful customer engagement tool, eNewsletters help turn one-time or prospective customers into repeat buyers or clients. For energy utilities in particular, eNewsletters are a consistent touchpoint that builds loyalty and stronger customer relationships over time.

“eNewsletters provide energy utilities with the ability to send information directly to a particular audience and deliver value over time to make a good impression,” said Ashley Guttuso, Director of Marketing at Simple Focus. “Through regular eNewsletter touchpoints, customers begin to trust your brand when they want to make a purchasing decision.”

Your customers want curated content

Customers appreciate that eNewsletter content is delivered directly to them based on their unique needs and interests — compared to being bombarded with content on social media that isn’t relevant. In fact, eNewsletters have 40 times the effectiveness of social media.

A successful eNewsletter can also help your energy utility achieve greater engagement with other types of communications. According to Questline Digital’s Energy Utility Benchmarks Report, eNewsletter subscribers open promotional emails at a 16% higher rate. “If your newsletter content continually helps your readers, they’ll be more receptive to future promotional content,” noted Bethany Farchione, Marketing Director of Questline Digital. “Quality editorial content earns brands the right to be promotional.”

While eNewsletters are a welcomed and popular form of customer communications, not all eNewsletters are created equal. To be successful and benefit from this resurgence in popularity, energy utility marketers need to think of their eNewsletters as editorial products or publications.

Here are 7 best practices to create a great eNewsletter for your energy utility customers:

  1. Position your newsletter like a product: Inbox attention is hard to get and keep. Think about what content would be most valuable to your audience and what your competitive advantage will be. Farchione and Guttuso recommend creating an experience for your readers that becomes a part of their routine. Figure out how to differentiate your eNewsletter from the competition — perhaps it will have a different voice or a unique format such as a top 10 list.
  2. Create an opt-in experience that works for your customers: An important aspect of your eNewsletter is deciding if a double or single opt-in is best. For example, in a double opt-in approach, after a customer signs up for an eNewsletter they receive another email asking them to confirm that they want to subscribe. According to Guttuso, your energy utility may want to consider mixing both opt-ins, which the experts at Litmus do.
  3. Stop focusing on the ideal length and readability: There is varying data on the best format and length — that’s why you should focus on readability, not word count. Your eNewsletter should have short sentences and paragraphs for easy reading on mobile devices. Use bulleted lists, bold headlines and line breaks to make your content skimmable. Your customers are accustomed to scrolling on their phones, so they are willing to go deeper in your emails, Guttuso noted.
  4. Use a combination of curated and original content: Content development is a time-intensive task. In fact, blog articles can take an average of three weeks to write. Consider working with partners to curate quality content for you, and don’t be afraid to share links to credible sources. Think of your energy utility as a curator of the best industry news and advice for your subscribers.
  5. Talk like this isn’t the first time you two have met: Think about the inbox experience and what your energy utility can do to make it feel more like a message from a friend, not a company. This might include using an individual’s name as the sender (versus just your company name). For example, your key accounts eNewsletter could include a personalized message from an account manager that works with these business customers. This approach is refreshing for customers, as they want the companies they interact with to show personality.
  6. Make the content engaging: Your eNewsletter content should include a mix of imagery, articles, infographics and videos. Quality visuals increase engagement, and videos always perform well compared to other types of content. According to Questline Digital Benchmarks data, there were 90,000+ video views from eNewsletters in 2020 and customers spend an average of 96.3 seconds on each video. Questline Digital’s research has found that residential and small business customers prefer quick-hitting, skimmable content, while key accounts customers gravitate to more technical, in-depth articles.
  7. Use a simplistic design: Design is more important than ever before. More than 40% of emails are opened on mobile devices, so readability on small screens is key. Keep the number of sections in your eNewsletter to under five with one main idea. Your eNewsletter should feature high-quality images and a simple design that is great for scrolling.

eNewsletter sends and segmentation

To maximize engagement, it’s important to be consistent with your eNewsletter by sending on a regular cadence (weekly, monthly, etc.). Remember, if you’re delivering valuable content to your customers, frequency is not a nuisance. For a majority of energy utilities, a monthly send is both effective and manageable.

Farchione and Guttuso also suggested segmenting your eNewsletter based on audience interests. For example, AEP Ohio increased their business eNewsletter engagement by 84% through segmentation. The energy utility segmented their general eNewsletter by multiple industries, including healthcare, education and manufacturing, to achieve success.

Every successful eNewsletter has a mix of these best practices. Think of your energy utility’s eNewsletter in an editorial approach to serve your audience. Perhaps you’re providing helpful advice that customers can use in their daily lives, or you’re curating the best industry news they need to know.

According to Guttuso, eNewsletters that fail have one thing in common — they are focused on the company, not the people receiving them. For your eNewsletter to be a success, focus on creating high-quality content that customers can’t wait to receive in their inboxes.

Questline Digital’s eNewsletter solution can build lasting digital relationships with your energy utility’s customers.

eNewsletter popularity has exploded in recent years. News publishers and brands alike are producing top-tier content and delivering it directly to your inbox.

Yet not all eNewsletters are created equal — some stand above the rest.

We asked the creative and content teams at Questline Digital to share their favorites. We’re diving into the 11 best eNewsletters and identifying what makes them great.

While these eNewsletters differ greatly in design and topic, each example still has a lot in common. The best eNewsletters always have the following attributes:

  • Niche audience
  • Consistent schedule
  • Simple design
  • Helpful content
  • Links to more information
  • Not overly promotional
  • A bit of personality

Don’t have time to read our full breakdown? Here are high-level tips to take away from these best eNewsletter examples:

  • Don’t be afraid to include bold imagery or multimedia.
  • Write for your audience — some prefer short content while others want longer form.
  • Content should not only be interesting but helpful to your audience.
  • Keep it simple and focus on providing quality content.
  • Do the work for your readers by giving them a topic overview and relevant links.
  • Try offering something exclusive to subscribers.
  • Personalize eNewsletters based on subscriber interests or behaviors.
  • Use a repeatable format.
  • Offer your customers topic-specific eNewsletters.
  • Always teach your audience something new they can apply to their daily lives.
  • Save your audience time.

1. Lily Lines, Washington Post

The best eNewsletters are typically known for their extremely clean designs. Lily Lines breaks the mold by focusing on incorporation of unique illustrations. Still simplistic in image size, placement and organization, the Lily Lines eNewsletter showcases bold visuals in every issue.

Delivered consistently on Mondays and Thursdays, Lily Lines curates important and empowering stories for women in the know. It is one of the many specialty eNewsletters published by The Washington Post.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s Senior Copywriter, Breanne George.

Takeaway for your energy utility: Don’t be afraid to include bold imagery or multimedia. Eye-catching illustrations, animations and videos go a long way in building eNews engagement.

Example of best eNewsletters from Washington Post
Example of best eNewsletters from Washington Post

2. Robinhood Snacks

Catering to an audience of busy readers, Robinhood Snacks provides stock enthusiasts with bite-sized updates on the financial market. Subscribers can see what’s new with stocks and the economy in just three minutes a day.

Focused on information sharing, the eNewsletter doesn’t include much imagery and sticks to providing hard-hitting advice and news.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s Creative Director, Joe Pifher.

Takeaway for your energy utility: Write for your audience — some prefer short content while others want longer form. Understand if you’re writing for people who are short on time or for those that want an in-depth understanding.

Example of best eNewsletters from Robinhood
Example of best eNewsletters from Robinhood

3. School of Motion, Adobe

Curated specifically for users of Adobe products, this best-in-class eNewsletter delivers motion design video tutorials, podcast interviews and in-depth articles. Lighthearted in tone and bright in color, School of Motion caters to its community of creatives.

All eNewsletter content is focused on helping subscribers grow their skills and capitalize on capabilities within Adobe products. It is delivered weekly and shares helpful blogs and upcoming courses.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s Video Animator, Mary Harrison.

Takeaway for your energy utility: Content should not only be interesting but helpful to your audience. Make sure to always provide value.

Example of best eNewsletters from School of Motion
Example of best eNewsletters from School of Motion

4. Energy Rant

This eNewsletter sends a full blog post to its subscribers every week. It hits on energy efficiency issues, adding a bit of satire. With minimal design, Energy Rant is a great reminder that content trumps all. Your readers subscribe because they want to see what you have to say.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s Senior Energy Analyst, Mike Carter.

Takeaway for your energy utility: Keep it simple and focus on providing quality content. The best eNewsletters don’t need to be fancy to be impactful or engaging.

Example of best eNewsletters from Energy Rant
Example of best eNewsletters from Energy Rant

5. MLB Morning Lineup

This daily eNewsletter is built for baseball fans who don’t have enough time to watch every single game. It includes snazzy headlines, video clips and links to game summaries and highlights. For added fun, Morning Lineup also includes a daily trivia question seen only by subscribers.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s Content Director, Scott Miller.

Takeaway for your energy utility: Do the work for your readers by giving them a topic overview and relevant links. Skimmable is the magic word.

Example of best eNewsletters from MLB Morning Lineup
Example of best eNewsletters from MLB Morning Lineup

6. The Morning, The New York Times

The New York Times daily eNewsletter, The Morning, is a powerful example of unique content. It’s Editor David Leonhardt includes exclusive stories and entertainment made only available to subscribers.

Covering a wide range of news, the eNewsletter guides readers through current events and provides useful links, opinions, recipes and games.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s Creative Director of Video Content, Matt Irving.

Takeaway for your energy utility: Try offering something exclusive to subscribers. Maybe it’s a discount, chance to win, piece of information or a game. Either way, this makes subscribers feel special and gives them a reason to subscribe.

Example of best eNewsletters from New York Times
Example of best eNewsletters from New York Times

7. Goodreads

Highly personalized, the Goodreads bimonthly eNewsletter delivers book recommendations based on subscriber behaviors. Your reading history guides what your eNews issue covers – whether newly released mystery books or an interview with a popular sci-fi author. Messages are always colorful and full of imagery.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s Content Strategist, Alexandra Greenberg.

Takeaway for your energy utility: Personalize eNewsletters based on subscriber interests or behaviors. Including dynamic content is easier than you’d think!

Example of best eNewsletters from Goodreads
Example of best eNewsletters from Goodreads

8. Sustainability Saturday, Pela

Published by the phone case brand Pela, Sustainability Saturday shares environmental news with consumers who care about shopping intentionally.

This eNewsletter uses the same simple format every week, highlighting five stories paired with beautiful imagery. It includes product recommendations, sustainability tips, in-depth reads and clean recipes.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s Marketing Manager, Maureen Mierke.

Takeaway for your energy utility: The best eNewsletters use a repeatable format. Readers appreciate the uniformity, and it makes your job of content curation easier.

Example of best eNewsletters from Pela
Example of best eNewsletters from Pela

9. Axios

Known for their quick-hit reporting, Axios eNewsletters are the definition of skimmable. Entire stories are shared via bullet points and are link-rich so subscribers can move on quickly or click for a deeper dive. Axios eNewsletters are also expertly segmented with special topics that range from gaming to space. Subscribers can choose their own adventure and see only the news that interests them most.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s VP of Marketing and Content Strategy, Brian Lindamood.

Takeaway for your energy utility: Offer your customers topic-specific eNewsletters. It’s unlikely your readers are interested in everything you have to say.

Example of best eNewsletters from Axios
Example of best eNewsletters from Axios

10. Stacked Marketer

Want to keep up with Google updates? Subscribe to Stacked Marketer. This daily eNewsletter delivers tips for professionals in SEO, social media, ecommerce and digital advertising. Its editors recap the top news stories and curate the best articles and Twitter threads to help you elevate your marketing efforts.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s Marketing Director, Bethany Farchione.

Takeaway for your energy utility: Always teach your audience something new they can apply to their daily lives. It will keep them coming back for more.

Example of best eNewsletters from Stacked Marketer
Example of best eNewsletters from Stacked Marketer

11. growth glue

Sam always has something interesting to say and helpful to share. She fills her growth glue eNewsletter with links out to usable marketing and social resources that you’ll be thankful to hear about. She sleuths the news and available tools so you can stay in-the-know, without spending the time.

Recommended by Questline Digital’s Marketing Director, Bethany Farchione.

Takeaway for your energy utility: Save your audience time. Curate the best content and resources so they continually look to you for help.

Example of best eNewsletters from Growth Glue
Example of best eNewsletters from Growth Glue

Crafting your own best-in-class eNewsletter doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these best practices, you can establish an engaging digital relationship with your energy utility’s customers.

Be helpful and interesting, keep it simple, make it personal.

Learn about Questline eNewsletter solutions for your energy utility customers.

Newsletters: we read them, we write them, we live them. What started out as society publications (think Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers from Netflix’s “Bridgerton”), quickly turned into print newspapers. Then, as the digital age began, print publications turned to email and the eNewsletter was born.

Today, we can find eNewsletters for nearly any topic of interest.

Politics? Check — POLITICO Playbook.

Example of email newsletter from Politico

Beer? Check — Good Beer Hunting.

Example of email newsletter from Good Beer Hunting

Positivity? Check — Milkshake.

Example of email newsletter from Milkshake

Funny thing is, these are just single examples for each of these topics. There are thousands of eNewsletters for every topic imaginable. Do a quick search on Google and you’ll be overwhelmed with what to read in a matter of minutes.

But just because it seems like everyone is doing a newsletter doesn’t mean everyone is doing it well. Whether inside the energy utility industry or outside of it, here are five common eNewsletter mistakes you don’t want to make.

1. Putting Important Content Last

What is the purpose of an eNewsletter? According to Brafton, an eNewsletter is used “to share relevant and valuable information with a network of customers, prospects and subscribers…allowing you to share engaging content, promote sales and drive traffic to your website.”

With this definition in mind, it simply makes no sense to put important content last. According to Chartbeat, 35% of desktop users leave a page without scrolling down at all and the most viewed area of the page is just above the fold (typical height of a browser window) with 80% of viewership.

Today’s consumers don’t always have time or aren’t engaged enough to read a full newsletter, so put the most important takeaways at the top, whether encouraging your energy utility’s customers to watch the latest video in a popular series or educating them about new energy efficiency rebates.

2. No Call-to-Action

Newsletters are a great opportunity to encourage readers to take action after reading. A clear CTA gives readers direction for what to do during or after reading your content. Without a specific CTA, customer engagement ends before it really began. They act as a tool to increase program conversions or enrollments and without one this isn’t possible — it may even persuade customers to reevaluate why they subscribe, potentially leading to increased opt-out rates.

For energy utilities, a CTA could guide customers to your latest programs, incentives or rebates. You can include a CTA within the copy or at the beginning or end (or both) of the newsletter. This gives readers multiple opportunities to click through to more content or resources. For some tips to create CTAs that lead to conversions, Campaign Monitor suggests:

  • Using actionable language
  • Making the CTA easily identifiable
  • Keeping CTAs short, while still showcasing the required action
  • Changing the point of view to address readers
  • Creating a sense of urgency

3. Including Overly Promotional Material

While newsletters offer a valuable opportunity to promote services and programs, there is a thin line between sharing helpful resources and marketing your energy utility too much. Remember: Customers subscribe to newsletters for valuable content that will help make their lives better in some way. They expect content that meets their interests and needs. Promotional material puts focus on your energy utility rather than the customer.

When reviewing your eNewsletter, ensure you do so from a customer’s perspective. Answer these three questions:

  • Does this content help my customers solve a problem?
  • Is the content focused on the customers’ needs or my utilities’ goals?
  • What value is this eNewsletter providing to my customers?

If you can answer these questions and assess that the content is customer-centric then move forward to hit the send button!   

4. Trying to Reach Everyone

We already know customer segmentation is one of the smartest marketing tactics for any industry. According to Campaign Monitor, 56% of people unsubscribe from emails due to content that’s no longer relevant to them. For eNewsletters, it’s imperative your energy utility understands that your customers have different needs.

Business customers versus residential customers, homeowners versus renters — each audience is unique. Decide how many segments makes sense for your energy utility based on your customers’ interests and create personalized eNewsletters for those audiences.

Consider going further to segment your business customers into separate industries. When Questline Digital did this for AEP Ohio, the energy utility saw an engagement increase of 84% for their healthcare sector. In addition, engagement for their education and manufacturing segments increased by 54% and 43%, respectively.

Yes, you could reach all of your energy utility’s customers with a single newsletter, but it won’t serve your energy utility well. Segment content based on your customers’ wants and needs to see higher engagement and satisfaction.

5. Boring Subject Lines

How many emails do you receive a day that you simply discard based on subject line alone? Probably a lot. In fact, Invesp says that a staggering 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line. Don’t let this happen to your energy utility. Invest time into the best practices that make a subject line stand out. For starters:

  • Be descriptive
  • Keep them short
  • Limit punctuation
  • Consider your message

The last bullet is especially important — what you want your energy utility’s customers to know will drive the direction for the subject line. Most importantly, craft a subject line that would make you stop scrolling and open the email.

BONUS: Not Optimizing for Mobile or Dark Mode

Finally,  make sure your energy utility’s eNewsletters are optimized for both mobile viewing  and dark mode. Mobile should be a given — most emails are now read on smartphones — but as customers continue to spend more time looking at screens, dark mode has become increasingly important. In order to encourage more engagement and longer reading times on your eNewsletter, it’s important to consider these two factors in the design process.  

Newsletters are Here to Stay

Newsletters are a popular, and important, way to engage with customers. By creating content that speaks to what they value, your energy utility is showing that you both listen and care about your customers. Continue to be a trusted resource for them by sharing newsletters full of helpful tips, insights and solutions. And don’t make the mistake of making these mistakes.

With an eNewsletter from Questline Digital your energy utility can deliver engaging content directly to customer inboxes.