Where do I start? That might be the question that you are asking now that you have decided to try an email blast, also known as an email newsletter. Your customer’s inbox is a busy place these days. It is crowded, noisy, and spammy. If you want to keep your email newsletters from being relegated to spam status, you need a thoughtful and targeted approach. Remember, by signing up for your email list, your recipients have given you direct access. Maintain this privilege by delivering useful and carefully crafted content to your audience.
When considering how to create an email newsletter, you need to think about what you hope to accomplish with your newsletter in relation to the bigger picture—that is of all the content you put in front of your audience. Is it purely informative or are you trying to create a call to action? Maybe it is both. The key is to deliver value to your current and potential customers and reinforce what you want them to think about your brand. So let’s dig in to some of the nuts and bolts of how to create an email newsletter.
No matter how great your email newsletter might look, if the content does not resonate with your audience then you are just wasting time. You know your customers better than anyone. Create an email newsletter about the topics and trends they follow. Once you have committed to delivering an email newsletter, you should always be on the lookout for ideas and content to include in current and future communications. Have a place to save links to articles and ideas that inspire your content. There is also an opportunity to create a theme around each newsletter depending on your industry. This can help you map out the direction for your email newsletter content for the next several months and keep you from having to scramble at the last minute for relevant ideas.
Learning how to make an email newsletter does not mean learning how to design or code anything. There are many platforms available that have an abundance of templates to choose from that will allow you to quickly and easily create a visually appealing email newsletter. Choose a template with a clean, minimal design that is easy to read and will put your content on center stage. Another important consideration is to make sure that the platform and template you choose deliver a properly formatted email newsletter to a desktop, mobile device, or tablet.
People have short attention spans, so it is important to be concise and get directly to the point. If each component of the newsletter is a teaser that leads to the full article on your blog or website, make sure that the text displayed gives them an clear idea of what they are about to read. You also want this text to be interesting enough so that it entices the reader to click the link and keep reading.
While you are delivering multiple pieces of information, you want your overall messaging to be clear and consistent. Pairing a relevant, robust image with each topic can help with this. As you build in the content, you should be able to see a logical order to the elements based on the content and images. Move things around until you get a look and feel that you like, but also check to make sure you’re still following the 10 Golden Rules for Email Blasts.
The sender’s name and the content of the subject line are the first thing your reader will see. The best subject lines for email marketing are catchy and stand out to the reader. Many effective email newsletter subject lines have a call to action or offer an incentive to the reader. Using an individual’s name as the sender, as opposed to a business name, can sometimes encourage more people to open your email newsletter. You can test the effectiveness of the sender and subject line strategies by splitting your email list into two different groups. Send the email newsletter to each group utilizing variances and see which yields the best results. Always try and use personalization tokens that will automatically insert the recipient’s first name. This is a common feature. People know you are sending out to a list, but little touches like this do make a difference.
Exclamation points are overused, but we thought if we use one in this entire article this would be the proper place to do so. Do not be in a rush to send your email newsletter if you have not done a proper review of everything. Twice. It helps to have another set of eyes look at your content and layout. Test each link to make sure it goes to the proper webpage. Most platforms allow you to send out a test email first. Try viewing the test email on a mobile device and a tablet. Open it on a desktop computer in Chrome and Explorer. Each of these different pieces of technology will handle things a bit differently. Once you have checked and rechecked, take a deep breath and hit send.
Now only time will tell how well you have hit the mark with your audience. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress. You’ve put in the time to learn how to create an email newsletter and execute your first attempt. Now it’s time to look at the analytical performance of your email newsletter to see where you have room to improve. Once your email newsletter has been around for a while, things might start to feel stagnant to your readers. Continue to deliver the content that proves to create engagement, but also keep things fresh.
An email newsletter is an important component of email marketing for small business owners. Follow the tips and suggestions in this article and you will create a solid foundation for an email newsletter that your customers look forward to opening each and every month.