Last Updated on January 17, 2022
In this post, I will go through creating a newsletter in 9 easy steps to create a powerful email marketing campaign that gets results.
Are you looking for the information to create a newsletter for your business but don’t know where to start. Don’t worry because it is very easy to create newsletters that can positively impact your business with the right tools and proper planning.
Here I will walk you through all the steps and best practices to create a perfect newsletter for your business.
But first, let’s find out why you need to send newsletters.
Why send email newsletters?
With the growing popularity of social media and online advertising, most people underestimate the power of email marketing. Despite the availability of many marketing channels, email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to generate revenue for your business.
Whether you are managing a business, blog, or ecommerce store, email newsletters can do wonders for you. Email newsletters are a powerful communication tool to create engagements and build relationships with your customers, readers, and contacts.
According to HubSpot, The ROI of email is around 3800%, indicating its effectiveness over any other marketing channel.
In short, email newsletters will remain essential for the growth of any business.
So, let’s learn how to create a newsletter from start to finish in our complete step-by-step guide.
Steps to create a newsletter
Set goals and objectives for your newsletter
Before you start drafting your newsletter, it is essential to define the goals and objectives of your newsletter. Understand how your newsletter can fit into the content strategy.
Your newsletter should be inclined towards your business goals like generating leads, driving more traffic to your website, etc. Once you decide the goal, the newsletter does the rest to achieve it.
The goal of an email marketing campaign is mainly related to internal performance. Always assign a KPI for each of your newsletter goals so you can measure it properly and focus on one goal at a time.
Here are some examples of goals for your newsletter
- Grow your subscriber list
- Increase email open rate
- Increase email click-through rate
- Reduce unsubscribes
The objective of an email marketing campaign is directly related to your marketing strategy and business goals. It is an answer to the question, “what do you want to achieve from your email campaign.”
Here are some examples of objectives for your newsletter
- Increase sales and conversions
- Build brand awareness
- Customer nurturing and lead generation
- Move customers down the sales funnel
- Driving traffic to your website
- Collect feedback and reviews
- Customer retention and loyalty
Plan your content and schedule
After you draft the newsletter, it is crucial to plan how you communicate with the audience.
The newsletter scheduling includes mapping:
- What content will be included in your newsletter
- To whom you will be sending the newsletter
- When you will be sending the newsletter.
And if you have segmented your audience properly then you will be able to send effective and engaging newsletters to right segment of your audience.
You can use a spread sheet like Google sheets to manage your newsletter content schedule in collaborative manner.
Having this newsletter schedule helps you to understand what content should be drafted before broadcasting to your subscribers. Also, since the data is well planned, you will be able to design exciting newsletters for your audience.
Select the right app to send a newsletter
Selecting the right email marketing app to send your newsletter to your audience is essential. Gone are the old days of compiling subscribers’ email addresses and shooting the newsletters in bulk. They look very unprofessional and do not attract more leads to your business.
Moreover, this kind of activity makes your newsletter land in the spam folder of the recipients. It is also very time consuming and not effective because:
- You cannot send professional looking email newsletters
- You cannot measure important email marketing metrics
- You cannot create automate email series
- You cannot split test or a/b test your email messages
You can use dedicated email marketing tools like MailChimp, GetResponse, etc. that allow you to design and send impressive HTML newsletters. It not only helps in driving more leads to your business but also helps with branding.
Build your newsletter email list
Create an email list before you send the newsletter. Here are a few things to check to ensure that your email campaign has a good reach.
Create opt-in forms: Create opt-in forms that are 100% subscriber friendly and comply with the GDPR policy. It means that the users consent to receive email notifications and communication from you in the future. It increases the deliverability rate.
It is recommended to have a double opt-in form to reduce the chances of having a spam email in your list.
Use an opt-in form on your website: Using your existing website traffic is one of the best ways to gain more subscribers. Depending on the type of website you have and where you will be using the newsletter, try to personalize the fields.
Make the opt-in form easy for the readers to subscribe for. Also, mention important information like what your users can expect after opting in. Most importantly, use double opt-in to reduce the spam list in your emails.
Leverage social media: Similar to your website traffic, followers on your social media accounts also might be interested in your newsletter. So, try to share your newsletter link on social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to gain more leads for your business.
Host an event: Another great way to collect an email list for your newsletter is by hosting a free webinar event for your audience. You can conduct free webinars for product demo, how-to guides, etc., to provide free information in your niche and gain more subscribers to your email list for the newsletter.
Organize a giveaway: Giveaways are one of the best ways to gain more subscribers to your email list. You can provide free pdfs on “how-to” guides and free short self-explanatory videos in exchange for the user’s email. In short, offer some free informational content to the user that compels him to sign up for your newsletter to receive more such valuable content from you in the future.
Segment your contacts: Once you have the email database, it is crucial to segment the audience into various categories like current and past customers, lead generation, abandoned cart, demographics, etc. Either way, you need a fully polished email list to get targeted leads.
Design your newsletter template
Before you make the newsletter, get an idea of how it looks after it is completed. Once you have an idea, you will understand how much space to allocate for each piece of content on your landing page.
Text and Font: The newsletter need not be too flashy for the audience. It can be straightforward with an attractive color combination that grabs the attention of the audience. Readers should be able to find the essential elements in your newsletter quickly. Also, the font should not be too weird, making it challenging for the audience to read. Since most of the users read the email on their mobile phones, check if the newsletter looks good in mobile resolution. Try to maintain the same font style throughout the newsletter if you want to drive good results.
Images and Videos: Add some relevant photos and videos that support the content in your newsletter. As goes a famous saying, “a picture speaks more than a thousand words,” have a good image that explains your product/services to the audience, without requiring much effort to read all the elements in your newsletter. Since most of the audience prefers going through videos to simple plain text, have a short video embedded in your newsletter. Make sure that the images are well aligned to display correctly on mobile devices and the laptop.
Call to Action: Call to action needs special attention in the newsletter. Proper placement of a Call to action button helps you drive desired outcomes like making the visitor purchase a product, getting the user’s information like name, email, address, etc. Call to action buttons are also responsible for increasing your social media followers, generating traffic on your website, etc. Also, make sure not to have too many CTA buttons on your newsletter than required. It disrupts the user flow.
So, to make a compelling call to action button, it is vital to choose a color that is different from your newsletter background. Also, use powerful words on the CTA button that helps users take action. Please place it in the correct position on your newsletter. It should not disrupt the reader flow.
Make it easy to share: Make your newsletter easy to share with readers. Most of the email marketing tools have this feature enabled. Having a share feature enabled on your newsletter helps it gain more traffic from other audiences, not on your mailing list. It, in turn, increases the chances of conversion for your product.
Test your newsletter
Always test your newsletter before sending it to the audience on your mailing list. It helps you identify your newsletter’s mistakes and fine-tune them before setting up a real campaign.
Design test: Check how is the design of your newsletter is being displayed in various contexts. For example, a newsletter might look good in Gmail, whereas it might look bad in Outlook. So, check if the newsletter is displaying correctly on all major platforms where you would like to send it. Tweak your newsletter before sending the final mail to the audience.
Also, make sure to check if the text is being displayed correctly on all the platforms.
Spam test: The next step to perform is the ‘spam test.’ Create a simple newsletter and send a test mail. See if it is arriving in the inbox or not. The majority of email marketing tools allow you to perform spam tests. Send it to multiple email providers like Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc., and see if the email is flagged or delivered to the inbox. If most of these platforms deliver your newsletter to your inbox, it is a green signal. Else, you need to change the elements in your newsletter.
Browser test: The email code isn’t read the same way by all email providers. For example, emails shown in Gmail in Chrome browser do not display similarly in Edge browser. So, it is recommended to test your newsletter on all possible browsers and email platforms before sending the final copy to the audience.
Email client test: Some email clients do not display HTML code correctly. In such cases, your email newsletter might show clumsy to the audience. So, before you send out the actual mail to the audience, it is recommended to test whether the email clients are displaying your newsletter correctly or not. Tools like MailChimp, GetResponse, etc., will allow you to preview your email.
Send your newsletter
Sender name and subject line: Research shows that having a real person’s name on the sender line increases the open rate and click-through. To find out if it will work for you, run an A/B test. It must be recognizable, so recipients don’t wonder why they received your email. Include action words in the email subject line to get a more open rate and desired outcome of your emails. If possible, try to keep the subject lines short and to the point.
Use personalization: It is more critical to have personalization in your email for your campaign to be successful. Only then would subscribers like to read your email thoroughly. If not, they ignore your emails. If you want to get more conversions from your email, it is essential to tailor the content for your subscribers. If your email makes them feel that the content is being addressed only to them, they are likely to perform the action you desire.
Use the best time to send: As per data-driven research, it has been found that 10 AM works best to send out any email. Another memorable time to send emails is between 8 PM till midnight. During these two timeframes, people are highly likely to check their emails.
Analyze your results
Analyzing the results is very important to track the success of your campaign. Without having solid data, it is challenging to proceed further with any email campaign. These are a few critical parameters that you need to analyze to track the performance of your email newsletter:
Open rate: When you do A/B testing of various email copies, you will likely find that one subject line has more open rate than another. Also, once you know which email variation has a high open rate, it is recommended to clone a similar version in the coming campaigns.
Click-through rate: Research states that text-based links are less likely to get a reasonable click-through rate than button-based links. If you have too much text in your newsletter, it is recommended to use CTA buttons in the right place to increase the click-through rate.
Conversion rate: Having personalization implemented in your emails is essential if you aim for a high conversion rate. Sending emails in bulk without any personalization token will show fewer conversions for your campaign. Hence, it is recommended to have tailor-made content for each audience segment in your mailing list.
Unsubscribe rate: It is natural to see some audience unsubscribing from your email list. However, it is recommended to track the number of unsubscribers at a given point in time. If the number of unsubscribers in your mailing list is increasing rapidly, it looks unnatural.
Some of the common reasons for unsubscribing might be producing content that is not aligned with the audience’s interest, sending too many emails without giving any intervals, etc. So, it is recommended to send out a mail to your audience containing a short survey, to understand what kind of content they are interested in. It helps you produce the content they like, which drives good business for you.