Email marketing has come a long way in the past few years, but the improvements have come at a cost. On one hand, you can now reach customers more affordably and reliably than ever before with a good email newsletter. On the other hand, most marketers are seeing their open rates and subscription numbers plummet as buyers choose to read or receive fewer and fewer messages.

So, how can your business make email marketing work when the competition for attention is so intense?

The key is to remember the reality of email marketing, which is that it’s an important outreach tool that needs to be used carefully. To help you understand exactly what that means, let’s look at four best practices you should follow with every new message you send to your subscribers…

Provide Content Subscribers Look Forward to

The most important thing you can do to make your email marketing effective is send out content that your prospects and subscribers actually want to read.

Take a cue from the major magazine publishers and reel buyers in with fun articles, how-to tips, and exclusive pieces of advice. If you present them with enough interesting ideas, they’ll be far more receptive to the offers you make at the end of your email.

Promote Your Email Newsletter

It’s getting harder to win subscribers and keep them engaged, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. You just have to work a bit more to hold their attention.

By promoting your email newsletter through social media, your website, and even live events, you can keep customers thinking about it as a source of valuable insights. At the same time, you can also advertise individual articles or specials within your email newsletter to entice new subscribers to sign up.

Have Messages That Are Easy to Read

You don’t want any obstacles to having readers engage with your email newsletter. That means formatting it in a way that is accessible to all of your subscribers.

This means using email newsletter templates that are responsive and display correctly on phones and tablets. You should also take care to break up long blocks of text, optimize your images for fast loading, and ensure you choose fonts that work perfectly across a wide range of devices and browsers.

Evaluate Every Campaign Based on the Numbers

Building successful email campaigns isn’t just about crafting messages and building lists. Real improvement comes over time as you study analytics to see what your subscribers are responding to.

You can try segmenting your lists, experimenting with different article types, and testing new calls to action. With each new idea you’ll get some hard numbers to back up your assumptions, not to mention a stronger sense of what moves your subscribers to actually make a purchase or appointment.