Have you ever wanted to learn how to create an email newsletter that’s sure to impress your customers and build long-term relationships with them? Look no further! We have all the tips you need.
Email has been around since the early 1990s and has grown exponentially in popularity for marketing purposes. If you’re a business owner and you haven’t learned how to create an email newsletter yet, you’re already falling behind! Many people underestimate the power of a good email newsletter, but email newsletters are actually more popular now than ever before.
The rise of smartphones has only made email more popular and accessible.
Studies show that an astounding 93% of consumers subscribe to at least one brand’s email list. Furthermore, 49% of consumers have actually made a purchase as a direct result of an email newsletter.
So not only are email newsletters one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing, they’re also an amazing tool to maintain communication with a consistent audience no matter what type of company you run.
An increasing number of businesses have moved from sending out print newsletters to email options. Email newsletters are better for the environment and allow for great tracking and data gathering options that print media simply do not. They’re also cheaper to make and distribute than paper newsletters.
Newsletters can be sent daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even just once a year. When sent out to a list of email subscribers, they can:
- Generate more traffic to your website
- Build brand awareness
- Keep previous or current customers informed about your brand
- Promote sales
- Provide value to your subscribers
- Build customer loyalty
…and much much more!
Having an email newsletter is one of the best marketing strategies to establish your brand as an industry expert and maintain consistent brand awareness.
Email newsletters are great for turning prospects into customers and customers into repeat customers. Keep reading to learn how to create an email newsletter for your brand!
Step 1: Set Goals
Anybody who knows how to create an email newsletter could tell you that the very first step is to set a goal for your newsletter. You can’t write anything until you’ve decided on a goal you want your newsletter to achieve. Whether you want to send traffic to your website, generate leads, or even just entertain your subscribers, your end goal will steer the course of how to create an email newsletter for your business.
Not sure where to start? Consider your overall marketing goals. Typically, the goals of your email newsletters should match those overall goals. If your marketing goal is to gain 10 leads per month, gear your email newsletters towards generating or nurturing leads. If your goal is to increase your brand awareness, your newsletter should be designed to solidify your brand’s place as a leader in the field and include plenty of links to your website and social media sites. Your goal can even just be to entertain your audience. If your newsletter sounds too much like a sales pitch, people might be more inclined to unsubscribe. There has to be something of value for them.
Don’t get too caught up in metrics like opens and clicks. Those numbers are great to track and can be indicators of success in your email marketing campaign, but your goals should be more tangible and specific. There has to be a strategy behind your newsletter. In fact, newsletters fit in well with many larger, long-term marketing strategies. Consider your target audience and their needs. What type of content would your subscribers want to see? What value do they get from your newsletter? What do you want them to do as a result of your newsletter?
Now that you’ve set your goals, keep reading to learn how to create an email newsletter that helps you meet your marketing goals.
Step 2: Structure Your Newsletter
You may think you’re ready to start writing your newsletter, but not so fast! Though it might seem counterintuitive, you should actually consider how you want your newsletter to be structured before you start drafting the content. That way, you know how much space you have to discuss certain details within your newsletter. It also gives you an idea of the types of multimedia you should seek out to incorporate into your newsletter.
The last thing you want is to write great copy only to have to cut some out or struggle to squeeze it all in because you didn’t account for the structure of your newsletter before you began writing.
Next, we’ll discuss how to create an email newsletter format. Your format doesn’t have to be particularly flashy or detailed. In fact, sometimes the most simple layouts are the most visually appealing. Just make sure your email newsletter is structured in such a way that makes it easy for people to read, skim, and click on important elements.
Many of the same principles that apply to print newsletters apply to email newsletters as well. Content should be organized in what is referred to as a “pyramid style”. This means that the most important information should come first and the least important information should be at the end of the newsletter.
Realistically, many people will only read the first paragraph or even just the first sentence or two of your email. That’s why the most important information should appear in that first paragraph.
Another important thing to consider when you’re looking into how to create an email newsletter format is to keep key conversion points above the fold. This is also a concept borrowed from print newsletters.
Of course, there is no real “fold” on an email newsletter, but the point at which a reader must scroll down to continue reading is often considered the same as a physical fold on a piece of print media like a newspaper. Ideally, people shouldn’t have to scroll at all to see the most important parts of your newsletter. You want consumers to put in as little work as possible to find your conversion points.
If email formatting is not your strong suit, consider hiring a professional to design your newsletters for you.
Step 3: Content
Once you have your desired structure and format all settled, it’s time to figure out how to create an email newsletter full of engaging content designed to meet your goals.
Some of the most common pieces of content to include are:
- Articles from your company blog
- Information from your FAQ
- Updates about company policies or offers
- Promotions or special deals your subscribers can benefit from
- Entertaining tips, infographics, or videos
One good rule to keep in mind is to make 90% of the content in your email educational with some sort of value to your readers, leaving the remaining 10% for promotional material. People don’t typically stay subscribed to email newsletters that are just advertisements without offering any discounts or insider information.
With so many options, it can be tempting to cram too much into one newsletter. If you find yourself falling victim to that pitfall, try splitting up some of your content ideas into multiple different newsletters. You don’t want your emails to be too long, or else people may be discouraged from reading them. A study by Constant Contact found that newsletters with the highest click through rates had an average of about 20 lines of text or 200 words.
Your email newsletter content should contain more than just engaging copy. You also need to emphasize your point with eye-catching graphics and engaging links. Hyperlinks within your email newsletter should send people to landing pages that have been optimized for conversions. Just remember that images are meant to supplement your copy, not overwhelm readers. You should also diversify the types of multimedia included in your newsletters as much as possible.
Content also includes alt text (the text that appears when an image doesn’t load properly). Alt text is important in case a certain device or email provider fails to properly load your images properly. You still want people to be able to tell what your newsletter is about, even if they can’t see the pictures. Alt text is also imperative for visually impaired readers.
Be sure to keep your content relevant and timely. For example, seasonal recipes or holiday-themed blog posts tend to add more value to subscribers than evergreen content that they can read whenever. This way, your brand will seem more modern and tuned in to the wants and needs of your audience. Plus, themed newsletters based on holidays or events tend to be more consistent and easier to follow for subscribers.
One last tip when it comes to how to create an email newsletter full of engaging copy is to personalize your newsletters. Most email marketing providers allow for the implementation of personalization tokens. Have you ever opened an email from a company that mentioned your specific name? How about a personalized email on your birthday? This was all done with personalization tokens!
While personalization tokens are a great tool to make members of your email list feel special, don’t go overboard. It can sometimes come off as invasive or a little off-putting if you attach too many personalization tokens to one email. Remember, personalization tokens don’t just come in the form of using somebody’s name. You can also reference the specific location they are in.
Step 4: Subject Line
The subject line of your email newsletter may be more important than all the rest of the content combined. We’ve all heard not to judge a book by its cover, but there’s no way around it: people are going to judge your email by the subject line. In fact, almost half of all email newsletter recipients report that they decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject line.
No one will even open your newsletter to see all the great content within it if the subject line isn’t compelling. The job of the subject line is to inspire people to want to read your email. Think of your subject line like a first impression. It may be a small part of your overall newsletter, but it sets the tone for how people will view your email and whether they’ll even open it at all.
Try to keep your subject line brief, but stay true to the content of the email. Lengthy subject lines often get cut off, especially on mobile devices. Losing half your subject line can destroy the whole message. Generally, you should keep your subject line to 50 characters or fewer.
Also, don’t try to mislead or trick subscribers with a subject line that has nothing to do with the newsletter inside the email. If somebody feels tricked by one of your subject lines even once, they are going to be distrustful of all your subject lines from then on, that is, if they don’t unsubscribe.
Want more tips on how to create an email newsletter subject line? Your subject line should create a sense of urgency. Don’t let people think they can wait until later to open your email. Otherwise, they’ll probably forget all about it. If you’re offering a discount or coupon in your newsletter, let people know in the subject line! Also, you can create a feeling of exclusivity with phrasing like “You’re Invited” or “A Special Gift Just For You!”
Just be sure not to make your email sound like spam with a subject line that’s in all caps or contains too many exclamation points. Trust us, this won’t make your email stand out; it will just make people less likely to open your newsletter.
One of the main reasons people subscribe to email lists in the first place is for a chance to get special deals. Playing off relevant current events in your subject line is also a great way to pique someone’s interest by referencing a topic they likely care about at the moment. Also, make sure your subject line is unique. You want it to stand out in a sea of marketing emails in a recipient’s inbox.
Step 5: Call to Action
Aside from the subject line, the call to action is the most important part of your email newsletter. Make your call to action stand out at all costs. Don’t be afraid to bold the text and change the color. If your call to action isn’t compelling, people will move on to the next email in their inbox.
Remember, the call to action is what fuels your click-through rate. It’s easy to just slap a “Click Here” or “Learn More” button on your newsletter, but try to think outside the box and be more specific. For example, instead of saying “Shop Now,” try saying “Get Your Discount Code Here,” if you’re offering some sort of special deal.
Now that you know how to create an email newsletter call to action that is both eye-catching and compellingly worded, what about placement? Like we mentioned earlier, it’s best to put the most important details of your newsletter near the beginning.
That being said, your newsletter should also always end with a clear call to action. The best thing to do is to place your call to action at least twice within your email: once at the very end, and once towards the beginning, but only after the purpose of your newsletter has been made clear.
Step 6: Segment Your Lists
Now that you’ve set goals, designed your newsletter, filled it with compelling content, and adorned it with a conversion-focused subject line and call to action, it’s time to think about who you are actually sending your emails to!
If your email list isn’t very big, you may not have many options other than sending your newsletter to your full list of subscribers. However, if your list is large enough, you can segment it to send different newsletters to the groups they will be most relevant to. For example, if you own a restaurant, it might not make sense to send emails about your new selection of burgers or steaks to vegetarians. Likewise, you may only want to send your Mother’s Day discount to subscribers who are actually mothers.
Email lists can be segmented by age, location, relationship status, education level, gender, industry, and any other relevant demographic information. However, you can also dive a little deeper and segment lists based on how many times certain people have visited your website or how far along your advertising funnel they are.
Furthermore, if you have a specific goal in mind that does not pertain to your whole audience, you can segment your list to target only the most relevant people. For example, if you want to improve your Google reviews, send out an email encouraging people to leave a review and send it to only those who have not yet left one.
It’s also a great idea to use segmented email lists for retargeting. Personalized emails can be sent out to just the members of your email list who have left an item abandoned in their shopping cart.
Step 7: Design Time
One of the most important design elements of a good email newsletter is making the layout responsive. Responsive layouts are layouts that are coded to adapt to any screen size or device type including smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptops.
51% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, so you could be losing half your audience if your email newsletter layout isn’t responsive. Make sure readers don’t have to zoom or scroll too much on your newsletter, otherwise, they won’t read it.
Some other good design tips for your newsletter are to include a header with your logo and a footer on the bottom with your contact information, links to your company’s social media accounts and website, as well as an unsubscribe button.
Step 8: Proofread
The final step for how to create an email newsletter is to proofread! Look over your newsletter several times, taking long breaks in between to refresh your mind. It also helps to have a friend or co-worker read it over to catch any mistakes you might not notice. Reading the copy out loud is another tactic to catch mistakes you might otherwise miss.
Proofreading is particularly important when you create an email newsletter because you can’t go back and edit mistakes once the email has been sent out like you can with a social media post or a blog. If there is a mistake in your email, you either have to email out a correction or just hope people don’t notice.
During the proofreading process, you should also make sure your email newsletter complies with the CAN-SPAM Act. In an effort to curb spam, this act made it mandatory to have a footer in your email with your address and an easy way to unsubscribe from emails, among other things.
Step 9: Testing
Once you’ve sent your newsletter, the work still isn’t done. You should be tracking data and consistently A/B split testing your newsletters. Think of each email as an experiment. You should test one thing in each email, changing little things like the call to action button color or size. Once your newsletter has been sent out, wait a couple of days to analyze results. It can be tempting to refresh the results constantly but you don’t want to judge results prematurely.
To advance your split testing, you can send slightly different versions of emails to small sections of your audience and compare results. Just change one thing to test like a different subject line or different images or a different call to action. This will help you know what your audience prefers. You can even test out an email by sending two slightly different versions to small segments of your audience and when you have your data, send the rest of the audience the better performing email only.
You should be tracking how many people open your email, which links in the copy get the most clicks, and the rate at which people unsubscribe from your email list. This data gives you a great launching point for your next newsletter! Most email marketing software comes with complex tracking tools to help you gather all this data and more!
Now that you know how to create an email newsletter, you have all the tools you need to start building better relationships with your customers! If you’re still thinking you might need some help with this process, then feel free to reach out to us. One of our specialists will help you figure out which email marketing service we offer is best for your business.