Reading Newsletter: Purpose of a newsletter

What is the Purpose of a Newsletter?

Alan Melton

An email newsletter continues to be a great strategy to grow business. It’s free and doesn’t require a ton of effort to produce. I’m sure, like me, you get numerous newsletters over any given week. If you don’t have your own email newsletter in place, it’s time to consider starting one.

An email newsletter is one of several tactical marketing strategies that we have been writing about. Additionally, a series of email newsletters can be a strategic marketing strategy, which is longer term in nature. You want to “touch” your subscribers at least 12 times. Eighty percent of all sales happen between the 5th and 12th touch. Although you are not likely to win a lot of clients through emails alone, these messages can take your client down the path to your business.  

When brainstorming the idea, there are a few major aspects to consider:  your target audience, your intended purpose, the content, a design for mobile devices, and a compelling subject line.

We’re going to tell you, step-by-step, exactly how to create your own email newsletter.

So, what can a newsletter do for you?

  • Connect with potential clients
  • Establish you as a leader or expert in your field
  • Build trust in you and your business
  • Enhance brand awareness
  • Determine consumer needs and interests
  • Increase traffic to a designated site
  • Acquire more leads
  • Generate more sales

Now, how do I accomplish those outcomes through a newsletter?

  • Provide relevant news, tips, and information
  • Publicize events
  • Send announcements
  • Promote products and services
  • Make special offers
  • Cross-promote partners and business contacts

How to Create Your Newsletter

It’s obvious that there are many good reasons to create a newsletter. It can be a great direct marketing method, and a “goodwill” service for your audience.

Step #1: Establish Your Newsletter Goal

While you’re convinced that you should use email marketing, the next step is to determine the main goal of the newsletter. Ask yourself how it fits into the rest of your marketing strategy.

You may want to simply get more email contacts, announce your company’s launch, or promote a new product line. No matter your goal, make sure to keep it in mind as you work through the creation process.

With an established goal, the next move is to plan your content.

Step #2: Define the Content

Emails should be one of two types to get people to read them: Educational or Entertaining. A mixture of both is even better!

A couple years ago I was working with the owner of a printing business. He was a genius in delivering outstanding content while making it very interesting. He was able to achieve a 60% open rate for his email newsletters, which is outstanding!

Put together content that is useful and relevant for your intended audience. Don’t constantly try to sell something. Build trust by providing helpful, engaging, and well-written material.

You don’t have to grind out all new copy each time. Re-purpose existing content from your blogs, training materials, articles, and marketing brochures.

Make it entertaining by adding jokes, quotes, cartoons, or stories. (I always read an antique dealer’s newsletter because it included stories from readers who found a bargain-priced treasure in a junk shop, yard sale, or other unexpected place.)

Think about how often you plan on sending the newsletter, where you may have already composed content, and its optimum length.  

The next move on your path is to create an outline to follow for each release.

Step #3: Layout a Template

You can use an email service provider’s template but, in our opinion, you should stick with your website design look-and-feel. This promotes your brand (logo, colors, fonts), makes it fit your needs and goals, and your subscriber will immediately recognize that it comes from your company. Make it distinct and unique. 

Now, the format.

Pick from this optional list of formatting elements and characteristics:

  • Text (fonts, colors, sizes)
  • Layout (length, margins, justification)
  • Highlighting (bold, italics)
  • Imagery (logo, photos, cartoons)
  • Columns
  • Tables
  • Lists (bullets, numbers)
  • Repeatable section titles
  • Links (to landing pages, videos, web sites)

Again, let your website style and branding choices drive the look of your newsletter.

Bottom Line > your email template must be mobile-friendly.

Once you have the format down, start compiling your content.

Step #4: Add Your Body Content

Using your template as your outline, start filling in your text and images.

For long body content, definitely use images to break it up. Just as with your website, it’s important to keep a balance between text and images so that your audience keeps reading. Size any imagery so that it doesn’t overtake the size of the text.

Don’t forget to run the draft newsletter by a few people, either inside or outside your organization. Ask them to give honest feedback, including pointing out typos, poor grammar, and factual errors. You could follow up with a short of list of questions to determine if the material met your goals, like:

  • Did you enjoy or appreciate the content?
  • Was it professional?
  • Did you learn something?
  • Was it too long or too short?
  • Would you like to continue receiving it?
  • What part of it did you find most valuable or interesting?

Step #5: Create a Powerful Subject Line

The most difficult part about an email newsletter is nailing down the subject line. It should be short, compelling, immediately actionable, and click-worthy. This bit of magic can be hard to pull off.

Think of it this way – subject lines are just like headlines on your website or the titles of your blog posts. They need to express the idea without telling everything while compelling the reader to want to see what’s inside.

A few points to consider for the all-important subject line:

Is it attention-grabbing?

Does it relate to the email recipient’s needs or interests?

Will it help them solve a pain point or challenge?

Will it spark their curiosity?

Does it match the email content?

Is it a mobile-friendly length of under 40 words?

Can we personalize it by including their name?

Is the spelling, grammar, and punctuation correct?

Did I avoid using CAPS or special characters (!!!)?

Brainstorm some attention-grabbing words and phrases such as:  sneak peak, secret, hidden, solution, little-known, exciting, must know, avoid these mistakes; free, clearance, and discount always get my attention. Avoid spammy verbiage like amazing, open right now, or we need to talk. At any cost, don’t let your subject be vague or boring.

Test out your subject lines just to see if they land in the recipients’ SPAM folder. “Free” may be an appealing word but it can trigger a spam filter.

Practice Makes Perfect

Over time, you’ll get better with practice and by paying attention to what is and is not working with your email list.

NOTE:  Don’t neglect to keep it legal. There is a law called CAN-SPAM which requires you to include an “unsubscribe” option in each email, along with your contact information.

Now that you have created your educational and entertaining email newsletter and determined your intended recipients, you only need to send it. However, your work isn’t done. Take the time to analyze the results. By analyzing open rates, click rates, and other metrics, you’ll be able to understand what you need to do better next time.

Have email newsletters worked for you? Any tips you would like to share with other business owners? Reply in the comments below.

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