A Beginners Guide to Create Email Newsletters For Your Small Business

We know you are already convinced of the significance of newsletters for small businesses. And that’s why you’re here! 

But before we get into learning how to create email newsletters, here are striking statistics just to show how crucial it is for businesses today. 

  • Publishers tend to get a 22% open rate on their newsletter as per Industry benchmarks, higher than to the fraction who see the same on your social media conversions.
  • Email newsletters are successful to bring back customers that stopped connecting with you, and that too with an increase in 7% retention.
  • According to Vox, a newsletter reader spends an average of 110 seconds on the website as compared to 40 seconds going through Facebook.
  • As per Greentech Media, newsletter visitors spend 80% more time than any other visitors that come from other channels.
guide to create email newsletters

So these statistics clearly depicts how newsletter helps in 

  • Increase engagement on your website 
  • Brings back the inactive users 
  • More chances of conversions 
  • Establishes long-term trust with the brand 
  • Boost traffic on your website 

So it’s great that you are taking your first step into this world of newsletters as well as email marketing. 

For now, let’s dive in how you can create a newsletter for your small business. 

Firstly, What is Email Newsletter? 

Email newsletter is a type of email that a company, organization or an individual sent out to their subscriber list.  

This subscriber list can be pre-existing such as a list of potential customers collected as a contact list over time. 

It can also be people who have deliberately signed up for the newsletter from a company, website or individual expecting email newsletters from them. 

What is important is, subscribers must have given their consent to receive an email newsletter from the company. 

Email newsletter provides valuable content, product news, blogs, curated content, guides, reviews, recommendations, round-up lists, tips, announcement, new product alert and much more. 

Newsletters are meant to be sent regularly depending upon the time frequency decided by the brand. 

However, it popularly happens to be weekly, monthly, bi-monthly and even daily in some cases. 

Newsletter as a marketing strategy

Email Newsletter is the crucial part of email marketing strategy of any brand. It helps them nurture their targeted audience and contacts. 

Newsletters are actually the  most content-driven emails amongst others in email marketing campaigns.

how to develop effective newsletter

Subscribers are meant to receive the best value from the brand through regular newsletter in form of high-quality curated content, discounts, offers and free resources. 

Newsletter also helps in driving traffic to the website. 

When you curate some really helpful blogs from your website to your subscribers, they are tempted to go to your website to read blogs. 

It increases the audience engagement and builds a network of your readers to follow your brand closely. 

In good cases, big email contact lists are so fulfilling that it drives most part of the revenue from your website. 

Step-By-Step Guide To Create An Email Newsletter 

If you want to create an email newsletter, and it’s your first time, you need to learn the step-by-step process that goes into making the best newsletter. 

Here is a detailed step-by-step guide, more like a checklist of things you need to do while creating an email newsletter. 

Set A Specific Goal For Your Newsletters

Before you incept the idea of a newsletter, you need to figure out what is the specific goal with your newsletters. 

Also, you need to analyse what role it will play in the larger content marketing strategy of your brand. 

It must align with your primary email marketing strategies and even comply with other sets of campaigns you are running. 

What goals do you want to achieve with your newsletter?  

  • You want to generate leads through newsletters.
  • You want to build larger email contacts.
  • You want to increase brand awareness 
  • You want to build a consumer community 
  • You want to send traffic to your website 
  • You want to directly sell your products. 

Well, depending upon what your goal(s) are, you will able to : 

  • Analyze the success of the campaign
  • Track and Monitor the progress using your goal as a metric
  • Design your newsletter specifically for your purpose
  • Customize the copy according to your goal 

Having a goal will just make things easier for you while you create your newsletters or the overall newsletter marketing strategy. 

Identify Your Target Audience 

The more defined your audience will be, better conversions you will be receiving. When you know your audience well, you tend to deliver what they exactly seek. 

Identifying your target audience isn’t just about learning their preference for your niche. But it goes more than that. 

You need to figure out : 

  • Who is your audience exactly?  
  • What are their demographics? 
  •  What interests do they have? 
  • What are their primary challenges?
  • Where do other brands fail to deliver them?
  • What expectations do they have from you? 

and more set of questions to ask 

The aim is to be as specific as possible. Don’t try to do everything and cater to everyone. Look for specific problems, interests and preferences and provide value accordingly. 

Another great way to target your audience even better, is to use email segmentation. 

It allows you to create groups of people and send different email newsletter as required. 

Decide How Your Newsletter Can Bring Value 

You want your newsletter to be something valuable for your subscriber. Even before you want to be credible enough to be welcomed and well-accepted. 

People give their email address very often for various reasons but that necessarily doesn’t mean, you won. 

Actually to sustain into your Subscriber’s inboxes and provide value to them should you be your target. 

You don’t want to be banished from their inboxes just like the treatment those weight loss scams and spam emails get. 

Image Source: Venngage

To assure your significance for subscribers, you need to decide what value you can bring to them. 

  • You can provide exciting pieces of content curated from your website or around the web.
  • You send them free discounts, offers, freebies and coupon codes works on your retail store.
  • Share free resources such as buying guides, e-guides, e-boos, tips, online e-learning resources and much more.
  • You can also share some free digital products that you offer alongside your paid ones.
  • Use your newsletter to interact with your subscribers and resolve their issues through dedicated extensive blogs
  • Share informational product-related content helps them as consumers. 

And there are much more ways you can bring value to your subscribers. 

Get Your Content Together 

tips gathering content for newsletter

Once you have decided your goal for your newsletter, now you need to assimilate content for it. 

Finding content becomes crucial here because for every newsletter, you need to write high-quality engaging content to interact with your subscribers. 

And that too, in the consistent frequency. 

So here you see how often you will require content depending upon what frequency you are setting for sending newsletter emails. 

It can be daily, weekly, or bi-weekly. Apart from these, there also can be event-driven or some other occasional newsletter you might have to send throughout the month. 

Overall, here are different factors become crucial when you gather content for your newsletters : 

  • How often are you sending newsletter emails? 
  • How many newsletter emails you are planning to send over a month? 
  • What is the goal or purpose of your newsletter? 
  • How much time will you get between two email sends to gather content?

There are two kind of content you will gather for your newsletter in given time : 

  1. Active 
  2. Passive 

Active content will be those pieces of content that you will hunt, find or gather to either solve a specific issue or dedicated to a certain goal. 

Passive content will be something you will randomly stumble upon the web or seem to be a nice fit for your newsletter. 

Your newsletter content must be something that resonates with your brand or products. Focus on providing something that helps the audience and gives them value. 

Design Your Newsletter Template 

Your newsletter template design plays a crucial part in the success of your newsletter email campaign. 

So it is important you first visualize how your newsletter will look even before you write your content. 

Deciding the template before will help you to create and format the content accordingly. Because the other way around can be tricky! 

Also, you will be knowing what space you have to communicate a certain message or content. 

Image Source: Moosend

Deciding to write first and design later can be frustrating, especially when you struggle to fit your copy into tight spaces. 

But designing doesn’t mean it needs to  be fancy or flashy. 

In fact, newsletters with minimal design, well-spaced text and color formatting works the best. 

Focus on making your newsletter easy and quick to read and efficient to scan. It should be also easy for the reader to click on the elements on the newsletter. 

According to Litmus research, the number of people who read their emails on mobile devices are 30% higher than ones who read on desktop. 

It is also highly recommended to have premade newsletter email templates if you are starting out. 

Setting The Size Of Your Email Newsletter 

Now, why even size of your email newsletter a concern here? 

You may ask! Well, unfortunately when you send an email newsletter to your subscribers, they do not adjust their size themselves. 

People open emails on different devices and various email service options are there too. 

So how can one decide an ideal size or resolution for your email newsletters? 

The best way to optimize this is to start from a standard or default size that can be selected by all senders and recipients over multiple devices and platforms.

Image Source: Pinterest

You can choose 600X wide along with another 30X padding on all dimensions of the email body. 

Make sure the newsletter design you create must fit inside the area of 600px width otherwise your content won’t survive to fit or adjust in the new setting. 

Now, selecting the height of your newsletter is a bit of relaxation here. Because emails can be as high as you scroll it. 

But people do not really prefer the long ongoing email newsletters that seem to be too stretched and even spammy. 

Ideally, make your email newsletter height as long as it takes not more than one second to scroll towards the bottom. 

Optimize Your Newsletter with Personalized Tokens And Engaging Content 

The best email newsletters are basically the ones which seem to be personally written to the subscribers.  

They are not going to read a “salesy” copy or another advertisement. Also, they are smart enough to go through marketing or advertising tricks. 

Image Source: Hubspot

So the best you can do is be genuine and write personally to your subscribers. They feel more like reading if it seems written to a person. 

You need to write in a way that it feels like a friend is writing personally to them. However, a balance between sophistication and personalization or friendliness is best. 

To make your newsletter feel more personal to your subscribers, here are few pointers to look for :  

  1. Consider segmenting your emails. Send an email newsletter depending upon the group who is responding well to it.
  2. Use personalized tokens in your email newsletter. You can optimize it in the marketing software or tool you are using. Only add a few personalized tokens to boost the conversion rates. Make sure you don’t overwhelm your audience.
  3. Focus on the smart content as it helps to customize how it appears to one section of the audience as compared to others. 

Selecting The Subject line With The Sender’s Name 

It has been seen that the audience reacts differently when the subject line is altered. And most important part, personalizing the subject line drives higher open rates on emails. 

It means when you mention the sender’s name in the subject line of your email newsletter, people are more likely to open it. 

Image Source: Campaign Monitor

It seems more genuine and personal to them. You can make it as click-baity as you can but subscribers have developed the tendency to see pass through it. 

However that doesn’t mean you cannot play around with the subject lines. And that’s where A/B testing comes in. 

To really optimize your email newsletter marketing campaign, you need to keep doing A/B testing changing different types of subject lines. 

Choose what works for your audience and subscribers. And don’t hesitate to experiment every once in a while. 

Backing Your Newsletter Content With Alt Text And Plain Text

Backing your newsletter content means here is providing an alternative set of content to your newsletter in case primary or expected design fails to load for some reason. 

So there are two types of alternative content  – alt text and plain text. 

Alt text is the back-up or support content for your newsletter which will appear when your images or graphics fail to load. 

Not all email providers allow you to load images properly. There can be changes in what graphical content will be accepted to load or what not.  

But that should not stop your email newsletter to communicate your message. 

It becomes worse when your CTA is linked to a graphical element like button or an image. Since people don’t see it clearly, they do not click. 

In other cases, some email clients do not really load HTML properly, so you need plain text content to replace it when this happens. 

You need to make sure that your newsletter content looks good even in the plain text. The provided links display well and easy to click. 

Make Your Email Newsletter Compliant Legally 

One of the last aspects of a newsletter you need to check before you hit “Send”, is whether your emails are legally compliant. 

There are two primary laws you need to be concerned about here  – GDPR and CAN-SPAM

GPPR is a more comprehensive privacy law as compared to CAN-SPAM. It was passed in Europe in 2018. 

It allows marketers to only send an email newsletters to those people who manually opted or give permission to receive emails from you.  

Image Source: Termsfeed

When you are asking for emails of the people, you give them the option to check the “opt-in” box where you cannot do that or automatically check it. 

The other law CAN-SPAM is something you need to allow customers free to do if they want. That is give the “Unsubscribe” option to choose if they do not want to receive emails from you anymore. 

Adding Simplicity And Minimalism To Your Newsletter 

You should aim to give a consistent look to your newsletter. It should stand out and reflect your brand identity. 

Inconsistency in your design doesn’t stick with people. 

If you are regular with your choice of colors, design customizations and space, people will resonate with you for a long time. 

One of the greatest mistakes brands do with newsletters is they take design too seriously. It doesn’t need to be creative, vibrant or colorful. 

Image Source: Mailet

You should focus more on these aspects of your newsletter : 

  • Don’t overload your email newsletter with information, or words.
  • Make sure you use white spaces to keep the newsletter simple and effective.
  • Take a minimalistic approach in your design, that always works.
  • Focus more on offering clarity, high readability and professionalism.
  • There must be consistent use of particular text, font color and hierarchy.
  • Being consistent in design and color scheme develop familiarity and trust.
  •  Give it a proper structure to make users read the core message immediately.

Apart from the CTAs you will offer to your subscribers where they can respond after reading your newsletter, there is more to do. 

You can add social links to your newsletter along with RSS icons. 

This is because if your subscribers are loving your newsletter and content you’re offering, then they would want to reach you through social media. 

Image Source: Sendinblue

Adding social media links at the bottom or top right/left of the newsletter email will help you increase social media engagement as well. 

It is a call-to-action for subscribers to follow you on multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and more. 

Customize the graphics of social media logos as per your brand identity so it goes well with your overall design. 

Image Source: Hubspot blog

You also add an option like “Share with Your Friends” as well encouraging subscribers to share the piece of content with their friends and family. 

It is even better because then your subscribers will be helping in promoting your content on social media. 

But all that can happen only if you put social network icons and links to your newsletter. 

Never Be Pushy With Your Copy

Lots of brands misuse the power of the newsletter as they think it’s like sending a sales pitch to your customers every day.

And that fails miserably!

In fact, small businesses and brands need to be very careful with how they are positioning newsletters to the subscribers. 

If it comes as pushy and assertive, your subscribers will eventually unsubscribe from your contact list. 

Don’t be particularly pushy about your call-to-action buttons. 

If you appear forceful or desperate even for you it is just a “sales” or “marketing” language, people become reluctant to respond. 

Image Source: AWeber Blog

What you need to be is trustworthy, subtle and yet be humbly suggestive. Focus on telling your subscribers how your product might help you. 

The best way is to tell people and not sell to people because if you get them to listen, read and invest their time further in your website or product, they are more likely to end up buying it. 

Optimize Your Newsletters To Be More Responsive 

Optimizing your content as well as the entire funnel for mobile devices is essential these days. That’s why because 65% of emails are opened on mobile devices. 

So your content and design, both should be responsive to the mobile devices. Lots of brands avoid the significance of mobile devices as an interface. 

If you optimize your newsletter to be more responsive towards mobiles, it will surely give you leverage over other newsletter or content choices. 

Here are few pointers you need to take care of :  

  1. Choose only one-column templates for your newsletter, so your email newsletter does not get too wide for mobile devices.
  2. The text in your newsletter must be divided into multiple sections making it more responsive to read. Smaller chunks of text are easier to read on mobile.
  3. Place your CTAs as links in your newsletter which must be easy and accessible for people. It boosts the chances for users to follow the CTAs.
  4. Create highly responsive landing pages that must be easily accessible on mobile devices. Landing pages assure you get more Click-through rates.
  5. Avoid adding images that are too large as they make your newsletter load slow. It increases the overall load time of the content as well.
  6. Don’t rely on images to communicate your message. The image might not load for various reasons, so it is better to create a newsletter that doesn’t need images to put the information across or offer CTAs.
  7. Test your newsletter on multiple devices before getting it out. You need to check your newsletter on different screens, devices, email applications, and layouts. 

Analyze and Improve  Your Email Newsletters 

Analyzing, iteration or improvement comes when you have already sent your email newsletters to your subscribers. 

Well, first of all, Kudos for creating your first email newsletter. 

Now, if you are sending newsletters every week or two a month, after a while, it is necessary to find out the results. 

Analyzing the results is a necessary step you need to keep doing, so you can learn what’s working and what’s not. 

It further helps you to improve your newsletter while creating them for the next time. So that’s how analysis can help in creating better newsletters. 

Image Source: Inovapoint

But to really optimize your results in order to improve, you need to understand these email metrics. 

  • Open Rates :  The percentage of your subscribers who opened the newsletter you have sent.
  • Click Rate: It is the percentage of newsletter recipients who have clicked at your Call-to-Action links ( at least one of them).
  • Conversions / Revenue per click:  It is the percentage of your readers who have completed the call-to-action task successfully. It can be buying the product, signup for membership etc)
  • Unsubscribe Rate:  The percentage of your subscribers who cancelled your newsletter subscription and are no longer the part of campaign. 

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