How to Create a Great Newsletter
Newsletters are one example of email marketing, which is just a small segment of a digital marketing strategy.
Unlike transactional email marketing (an email that is triggered when a user performs a calculated action), newsletters have (or should have) a regular cadence and should be sent to only certain segments of your overall email list. Newsletter marketing is intended to build a relationship between your brand and the lead or customer you’re targeting.
Newsletters can contain all sorts of content, from company announcements to information about product launches. However, the ultimate goal of a newsletter is to build relationships, drive traffic to your website, roll out a new product or service, or generate or qualify leads. And you want to compel your readers to take some sort of action that benefits your brand or business.
We’ve outlined a few tips on what makes a great newsletter and why you should send one. Keep in mind that newsletter marketing is serious business, so if you don’t have the resources to support it, consider working with a marketing agency to help you.
In the meantime, here are a few tips to creating a newsletter with purpose that we believe your readers will enjoy. We’ve also added some Root and Roam tips for you to try. Read on!
Bring value to your readers
If you’re considering creating a newsletter or want to revamp the newsletter you already have, consider these questions:
- Why do I need a newsletter?
- Are we providing content the reader wants?
- Who are our readers? Do they even read newsletters?
- How do we measure our success?
- Do we have the resources to support the creation, distribution, and analysis of a newsletter?
- How will we promote our newsletter?
Know your readers, and consider creating content they will be interested in, not just something to fill up their inbox. If you bring them real value, they will respond.
Remember, we all get a lot of email, so take that into consideration when you’re creating your newsletter.
Root and Roam Tip: Consider segmenting your newsletter email list and targeting content to that specific email group. Example: if you can identify your most loyal customers, consider a referral program and incentivize them to bring in new customers.
Your newsletter should leverage a bigger digital strategy
Newsletters are usually part of your overall content strategy, which is part of your digital strategy. Each element within your digital marketing strategy should work holistically to achieve your business goals.
After you’ve created your customer personas (that’s a different blog), ensure that your targeted customer wants to receive their information from a newsletter. This is important because demographic information dictates strategy, so leverage it when considering if your target audience responds well to newsletters. And include topics and themes that are tied to a bigger strategy, company goal, or objective.
Root and Roam Tip: Put your most important content at the top of your newsletter. The top of your newsletter gets the most attention from your readers.
Utilize a good newsletter platform
There are dozens of newsletter platforms on the market, so it may be a challenge to choose the right one. We won’t get into details on which ones are our favorite, but here are just a few features you should look for if you’re considering distributing a newsletter.
Keep it simple – Use a platform that allows you to drag and drop or create the newsletter easily. There are plenty of platforms out there that provide a very simple newsletter template allowing you to include your own color palette, branding, and content.
Make sure it measures – Analytics are important. Make sure the newsletter platform you choose measures the effectiveness of each newsletter. Wondering what to measure? You’ll want to measure how engaged your audience was by looking at the “open rate.” This demonstrates how many people actually opened your newsletter. You’ll also want to look at the “click-through-rate” or CTR. This will show you how many people clicked through to your website or whatever platform you’re directing them to. Pay attention to your unsubscribe rate, too. If you see a high unsubscribe rate, consider creating a new newsletter strategy.
Root and Roam Tip: The average open rate for a newsletter is 15-25%, and the average CTR is 2.5%. Consider setting two types of goals: benchmark level goals (meet the industry average) and “stretch goals,” exceeding the industry average.
Choose a subject line that engages and inspires people to open the email
Your subject line may be the most important piece of content in your entire newsletter.
According to Optinmonster, 47% of people open an email based solely on the subject line, while 76% of people will report the email as spam based on the subject line.
And remember, people don’t just receive information on their desktop. Consider the right length of your subject line based on a mobile device.
Finally, it’s okay to be playful with your subject line, so if you feel emojis project the sort of message you want, use them!
Root and Roam Tip: As creative as you may want to get with your subject line, make sure it represents the content inside the newsletter.
Consider only a few topics at a time
Let’s face it, we are consuming more and more data as technology makes it simpler for us to access it. No one wants to read pages and pages of information.
You may have a lot to say, but don’t use your newsletter to tell it all. Your newsletter should focus on one or two main topics presented in engaging and fun ways. Too much content is a turn-off to your reader, and you could end up with a high open rate and a low click through rate.
Think about keeping it light and succinct. Don’t go on and on about a subject. And leverage a storytelling format. People love good stories, so tell one when you’re creating your content.
Root and Roam Tip: People love behind the scenes content. Consider showcasing how something is made or how business is conducted in your organization.
Nurture your email list
Your email list is an asset to your business; it’s something you grow, nurture, and leverage when necessary. Think of it as a garden; you put a lot of work into tending to it, it grows and grows, but you still have to tend to it in order to get it to deliver the best bounty. Your email list works the same.
Use an “opt-in” list only. Opting in to receive information from your business is vital to growing your list organically and important to your business’s reputation. There are single opt-in and double opt-in options. Double opt-in is a two-step process allowing the reader to agree twice to receiving information from your business. Although the double opt-in feature might reduce your email list, it is still the best way to ensure people really want communication from you.
Aside from wanting to grow your email list the right way, it’s also the law. The laws are in place to deter people from receiving unwanted and unsolicited information and spam.
Root and Roam Tip: Never purchase an email list. Not only could this negatively affect your brand, most newsletter platforms will freeze your account if you try uploading massive lists at one time.
Don’t forget your call-to-action (CTA)
Your newsletter should have purpose and tie back strategically to your overall goals and objectives. This is where your CTA plays a role in your newsletter.
The CTA should be prominently placed throughout your newsletter – meaning more than once – and be designed well for maximum visibility.
Use text that is actionable and engaging when creating your CTA. If given the choice between “Click here for more information” or “Get your discount,” which one would be more enticing?
Root and Roam Tip: Create a sense of urgency with your CTA. “Shop now – only 6 left” or “30% off today only” are great examples of CTAs that inspire you to act quickly!
Check your newsletter across digital platforms
Generation Z now makes up 27 percent of the entire US population. What does that mean to me, you may ask? Well, if you’re marketing products or services to this demographic, who grew up on mobile devices, you better ensure your newsletter looks great and functions properly on this platform. More and more people are using their mobile phones to get their information, so when creating your newsletter, be sure to check that it works across devices. Check all versions before you hit send: desktop, laptop, mobile device and tablet.
Just one bad experience with your brand on any digital platform, and you may lose that customer forever.
Root and Roam Tip: Be sure and send a “test” version of your newsletter to your colleagues and have them check it on all platforms. This will ensure your audience gets the best version of your newsletter.
Promote your newsletter!
It’s important to grow your email list, and you can only do this by promoting your awesome newsletter! Consider embedding a sign up form on your website and social media platforms. Encourage people to sign up, and perhaps tie a contest in with it.
Website pop-up windows are a great way to get people to sign up, and if you couple that with a contest, giveaway, or discount code, your sign up rate will increase.
Don’t be pushy. Let your audience feel like they are participating in something that will provide value to them.
Root and Roam Tip: Include a “share” option within your newsletter so your reader can forward your newsletter on, share it across their social media platforms, and encourage their friends, family, and social community to be a part of your newsletter.
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