An email newsletter can be an incredibly effective way to communicate with your audience. I’ve seen reports of ROIs as high as 3100%! But knowing where to start can be a challenge… how do you create content, what information are you going to share and what design are you going to use? Follow the seven steps below to improve your chances of success.
What is an email newsletter?
An email newsletter is a regularly occurring email sent to subscribers, either daily, weekly or monthly. This marketing tool can contain a variety of content, including announcements about news products and services, company-related information and upcoming events. Email newsletters are great ways to deepen audience engagement and drive sales. According to SalesForce “email newsletters might still be the best marketing tactic ever”. And an article from McKinsey & Company found that email remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media - nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined. Enough reasons to create your own.
How to create a newsletter
1. Develop a strategy
Before you start with creating your newsletter, there are a few things you need to consider. It will not only help you craft content, but it will also decide how you are going to measure success. There are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
Why and for whom am I creating a newsletter?
What kind of newsletter would I like to create?
How much time will it take to create one?
Are there costs involved? What’s my budget?
What will be my call to action? What am I trying to achieve?
If you can’t answer these questions yet, then you need to take a step back and work out what they are.
2. Creating content
Once you have created your strategy, you have to think about your content. Depending on your company and target audience, you can convert your ideas into a format that you like. For example, a lot of web shops will send newsletters with the newest products or discounts to drive traffic to their websites.
For those targeting more business-like audiences - it might be details about new solutions, or insights and blogs that share your expertise. Decide what you want your readers to do. Is it to see a new product and buy? Is it to visit your website? Is it to pick up the phone to you? Your content should drive these objectives.
3. Choose a template
By having a consistent template, your audience will recognise your newsletter. This can increase their engagement, and have a positive effect on your brand, and future open-rates.
Nowadays, you don’t have to worry about complex design elements - services like Mailchimp make it easy for anyone to create a beautiful looking email newsletter in a matter of minutes.
Personalize your letter, choose a great headline and put your most important news at the top of the page, as this part will have their first impression. Be sure to use good quality pictures, and take care of what it looks like on mobile devices.
4. Timing is key
There are different opinions on when to send a newsletter. Usual times for consumers are at the end of the morning, around lunch time or at the end of the day. At these times, a lot of people will use their computer and they can see the pop-up of this email.
However, if you’re targeting businesses then you want to send as they are coming into the office, or when they are likely to see it at work.
In general, Monday is not an ideal day to send newsletters, as this is the start of the week. Members of staff will have a lot of emails and are working most of the time on current projects. Friday is also not the best day, as a lot of people are off this day - either physically or mentally! To see what works best for you is by testing this. Send emails on different days and times to see what achieves the best results.
5. Include an unsubscribe option
There are a few rules related to subscribing and unsubscribing to a newsletter. One of the mandatory things of a newsletter is having an unsubscribe option. Many services don’t even have this as an option - it’s compulsory - so you don’t have to worry about it!
Either way, make sure that this link is easily accessible and visible. Furthermore, if you have a manual system, then make sure that you delete the emails from those who have unsubscribed!
Having a clear call-to-action helps ensure your readers are engaging with your content in the way you would like. You want to encourage your readers to do something. For example: ‘read more’, ‘download now’, ‘register here’.
It’s always a good idea to measure your results. Depending on the platform you are using, you can check how many recipients have opened the newsletter and which hyperlinks they have used. It’s important to measure this, especially in the beginning. You can check if you are creating the right content and what’s important for your audience.
In addition, if you can see which users have clicked on certain links, then you can start to be more intelligent with your emails. For example, if I sell clothing and I notice some users only ever engage with content about shoes, then maybe you should stop sending them emails that are irrelevant to them, and instead send them a dedicated offer about footwear. Use these insights to better understand and target your audience types.
So, make sure that you know your audience and that you have a great headline. Stay on schedule, so your readers know when they expect it in their inbox. Give your readers something to chew on. And remember, even if you think you’ve created a stunning email newsletter, it’s not worth much if people aren’t opening it. Test, send and measure - then take the feedback and continue to learn.