1. Compelling Subject Line

This one is a no-brainer from a content marketing perspective. But some marketers will encourage all manner of wordcraft and witchcraft to use in crafting those subject lines. We don’t love that, though — the restaurant and beer newsletter subject lines that really stand out to us do 2 things exceptionally well:

1A. Communicate to the recipient the overall gist of the content in succinct and plain language

Does it get any simpler than this?

1B. Tell the recipient “what’s in it for you”… And then tell them what to do (and maybe how long they have left to do it).

Making the content relevant to the interests of your recipient solves for an inherent sort of self-centeredness baked into all of humanity. It’s really what every good marketer and sales person should be able to do: obviate the benefit to buying your [thing]. And then you should follow up by actually telling them what to do, using a demonstrative call to action: Make. Reserve. Shop. Stock Up.

Of course, lest you become too bossy in the ol’ inbox, switch it up every now and then. Maybe pepper your newsletters with a sense of urgency in order to incentivize action. But be straight up with them (i.e. no dark patterns or broken promises).

Some fantastic examples from Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Neighborhood Provisions newsletter

2. Visuals.

Brand it. Set expectations. Remember the aphorism “a picture is worth 1000 words”. It really is true — and your job here is to reduce cognitive load for your email recipients by instantly signaling their visual cortexes what’s in store for the reader from here on out.

3. Clear Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

We mean crystal clear. Remember up in #1 where we told you to be a little bossy. Bring that back around. Be polite. Be succinct. But tell your email recipient what clicking that thing will do for them in the plainest possible language.

4. Say Thank You

It’s really that simple. Occasionally thank people for their time, their feedback, their patronage. We all appreciate interacting with business and brands that add value to our lives, but we appreciate it more when there’s a heartfelt thanks behind it.

Not a brewery or restaurant, but Winter Session owner Roy Katz really nails the art of “Thank You”.

5. An Emoji is Worth 1000 Words