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What Is an Email Newsletter and How to Create One

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what are email newsletter and how to use them for your business

What Is an Email Newsletter and How to Create One

Home / Email Marketing / What Is an Email Newsletter and How to Create One
what are email newsletter and how to use them for your business
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Last Updated on by Karl

Did you know that 87% of marketers now use email marketing in their digital marketing campaigns? 

According to Content Marketing Institute, that makes it the third most popular distribution channel that online brands are using (right behind social media marketing and blogging).

But did you also know that email newsletters are the most common type of emails used in email marketing? 

Surprising about email newsletters are the most common type of emails used in email marketing

Surprising, isn’t it?

Recently, entrepreneurs increased their focus on newsletter creation rather than on blogging.

So that means you need to go the extra mile with your e newsletters.

Surprisingly, not many brands know how to craft an exceptional newsletter or drive the best results from their email campaigns. 

If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. 

Today, I’ll highlight ways to tweak your e newsletter and take your current email marketing strategy to the next level.

But even if you haven’t started creating newsletters yet, I’ve got some ideas for you too.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to create a newsletter, show you the best email newsletter examples, share actionable tips on how to get your e newsletter campaign off the ground, tell you ways to get the most out of your current marketing efforts, and much more.

Ready to get started?

What Is an Email Newsletter?

Email Newsletter
Source: Pixabay

An email newsletter is exactly what it sounds like – a newsletter sent via email. But a better definition would be an email from a business regularly directed to multiple recipients. 

They typically include information that a subscriber wants to read. That could be important industry news, updates about a brand’s products or services, promotional offers, and other relevant information. 

When appropriately used, e newsletters are excellent email marketing tools.

An email newsletter is a powerful, cost-effective method to:

  • boost the awareness and credibility of your brand.
  • build long-term relationships.
  • continue online communications with your subscribers, leads, and contacts.

Why not make it part of your digital marketing campaign? Let’s take a look at what else email newsletters can do for you.

How Can Email Newsletters Benefit Your Business?

I know you’ve probably already invested in other ways to reach your customers. So it’s natural to wonder whether an email newsletter is worth your time and effort. 

If you’re still debating about whether you need email newsletters, you’re not alone. 

But by the end of this blog, I’m sure you’ll have made up your mind.

So back to the question – should you add email newsletters to your current email marketing campaign? 

Definitely yes!

Why?

Newsletters can take your marketing efforts to the next level and generate higher conversion rates.

Let’s see how email newsletters can work their magic.

Wider Reach

HubSpot revealed that 99% of people check their email every day. Therefore, it’s evident that email has the largest number of users of all the marketing channels. That means you can effectively reach a large target audience. 

According to 99 firms, there are over 4 billion email users worldwide. Moreover, the user growth rate is expected to grow 3% (about 100 million) each year for the next three years.

Number of Worldwide Email Users (B), 2020-2024

So imagine what can happen if one of your subscribers forwards your newsletter to their friends and family? 

Your newsletter reach can increase exponentially! And that’s a great way to interact with more people.

Gets Your Messages Delivered

Email Newletter gets your messages
Source: Pixabay

Imagine if you were given a choice between adding a subscriber to your email list or gaining a new Facebook fan.

What would you choose?

If you opted for the email subscriber, you did the right thing – for two reasons:

First off, newsletters are recurring emails sent to selected individuals who explicitly said they want to hear from you. 

These people trust you enough to share their email addresses with you. 

Moreover, since they expect to receive content from you, they are more likely to check their inboxes and read what you send them regularly.

Secondly, 90% of emails get delivered, while only 2% of your Facebook fans will see your posts. That’s because Facebook limits the number of times your posts appear in feeds.

So, if you have 5,000 fans on Facebook, only 100 will see your post, whereas 4,500 people will have received your newsletter.

Create Better Interactions

Subscribers want to receive emails from you. So if you provide content according to their interests and preferences, they’re likely to stay more engaged. 

And as a marketer, you know that better engagement leads to greater retention, stronger long-term relationships, and higher chances of conversions.

Take, for example, Vanity Fair’s automated email campaign

Vanity Fair’s automated email program

It sent personalized alerts to newsletter readers when a celebrity they followed appeared in the news. And this strategy paid off. Readers consumed twice the content than any other audience segment. 

Build Brand Image

Newsletters offer more in-depth information and knowledge. This helps readers better understand your brand, who you are, what your business stands for, and the products or services you offer.

But it also enables them to develop an impression about your brand’s stance in the industry. By sending your subscribers up-to-date, relevant information, sharing upcoming niche-specific trends, or giving people a behind-the-scenes look at your manufacturing process, you create more meaningful interactions. 

Moreover, it’s a great way to build reputation, credibility, and consumer trust. So make sure to unify the newsletter template design with your brand image.

See how Amazon incorporates its brand colors into its emails.

Amazon incorporates their brand colors into emails

More Effective Advertising 

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of ads. In fact, 42.7% of internet users between the ages of 16-64 use ad-blocking tools.

Percentage of ad-blocker usage

With so many people avoiding potential online interactions, companies need to think outside the box to reach their customers.

What could be better than targeting individuals who already expressed an interest in your brand?

So an email newsletter can be one of the best ways to promote a new product or service. Not only can you use this opportunity to provide personalized information to convince them towards a purchase, but you can also send lucrative promotional offers to entice them to take action faster.

More Successful Marketing Channel Than Social Media

You’ll be surprised to learn that email marketing is proving to be more successful than social media marketing.

That’s because people typically skim content on social media. On the other hand, an email newsletter is more personal and direct. It captures the reader’s attention and engages better with the audience.

In fact, it’s easier to retain engaged subscribers and convert them into loyal customers. According to McKinsey, a business is 40 times more likely to get new customers through email marketing than from social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

Ecommerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot, 2013
Source: Mckinsey

Plus, your email contact list is yours forever, whereas you could lose your audience on social media if the site shuts down, bans your account, or further limits your reach.

Boost Revenue

On average, email marketing's return on investment is around 3,800%, claims HubSpot. And since e newsletters are a crucial contributor to email marketing, a lot of this success can be attributed to them.

So how can newsletters boost revenue?

Simple – they can easily guide traffic to your website. For instance, Trello’s newsletter explains how to use their service more effectively, possibly enticing readers who haven’t bought it to do so.

Trello’s newsletter explains how to use their service more effectively

Okay, I think you get the idea now – an email newsletter campaign can offer numerous benefits to your business. So let's now look at who can benefit from it the most.

What’s the Purpose of a Newsletter in Email Marketing?

What’s the Purpose of a Newsletter in Email Marketing?
Source: Pixabay

Since you have direct access to your audience's inbox, make the most of this opportunity and send them company emails at regular intervals.

The main purpose of your email newsletter should be to stay in touch with your subscribers. However, in order to promote positive interactions, your newsletter needs to provide value – and lots of it!

That means, send your subscribers useful and engaging content that interests them, such as recent market news, product updates, upcoming offers and sales, etc. 

That way, you can guide traffic back to your website and convert them into paying customers. Simultaneously, you can improve online authority and credibility as well as build customer loyalty.

But email newsletters are only effective when done well. Remember, these emails are mostly about connecting with the reader, keeping them engaged, and maintaining close ties.

Who Should Start a Newsletter?

Email marketing can benefit practically every business in any industry. This is more important now since the modern world has forced brands to transition onto the digital landscape.

But some businesses can gain more from e newsletters than others. If you are any of the following, you need to hop on board as soon as possible.

Small Businesses

According to emarketer, about 80% of small businesses in the U.S. reported that email marketing is the biggest driver of customer acquisition and retention.

Digital Tactics that Drive Customer Acquisition vs. Retention According to US SMB Retail Professionals, March 2016
Source: Emarketer

Community-based or nonprofit organizations

A newsletter can provide insights into the work you do and keep the community up-to-date about your projects.

More importantly, since e newsletters are cost-effective, organizations like NWF can reach out regularly for donations and communicate with their supporters without making a significant dent in their budget.

Education Newsletter June 2016

Membership sites

You’ve worked hard to create a gated community of subscribers. A newsletter can keep your members updated about the latest offers and news.

Global Member Newsletter from IACLE

Ecommerce Websites

A newsletter allows you to connect with your customers.

And e-commerce websites know that the secret to making money online is to develop strong relationships and lead viewers towards a purchase.

Amazon's Email Newsletter

Educational Institutions

You need to engage regularly with students, parents, and faculty members about admissions, events, and upcoming activities.

Email Newsletter from Educational Institution

Blogs and Content Sites

Blogs need reliable sources of traffic and leads to generate revenue. A newsletter is a great way for them to enhance their content marketing strategy, increase site traffic, and build a loyal following. 

Medium agrees.

Medium uses Newsletter to connect with readers

Different Types of Email Newsletters and Examples

There are an awful lot of newsletter types organizations can use. Each addresses particular audiences and serves unique purposes. 

Which type should you use? That depends on:

  • Who your readers are, and
  • What your content is

No matter who your readers are, they must have an interest in the topic you write about.

For simplicity's sake, I’ve classified the types of newsletters into three broad groups depending upon their functions:

Authority-Building Newsletters

An authority-building newsletter helps to establish your brand as a reliable and credible source of information in your industry. So they aim at informing the readers with valuable content.

Authority-building newsletters are typically generated on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis. They slowly and steadily help build up your reputation in your industry. 

Authority-building newsletter examples include:

  • Expert advice columns
  • Industry updates
  • User resources or online courses
  • Product tutorials
  • Case studies and success stories
  • Current industry research statistics
  • How-to guides
  • Short checklists
  • Helpful tips

For example, this newsletter from Campaign Monitor offers article choices that are relevant to its readers.

Newsletter from Campaign Monitor

Sales Newsletters

Sales are the driving force that keeps a business alive. So it only makes sense for ecommerce companies to create newsletters that help generate more sales. However, it’s important that every newsletter connects with new audiences as well as recurring customers. 

Therefore, the key factors of sales newsletters include calls to action and compelling copy to entice readers to buy products and services. Or it could be used to build suspense about an upcoming launch.

Examples of sales newsletters are:

  • Advertising emails
  • Customer reviews
  • Product launch announcements
  • Special discounts or promotional emails
  • Personalized birthday, rewards, and holiday messages
  • Event notifications

Notice how Kohl's uses its sales newsletter as a marketing tool. It uses catchy product descriptions and alluring pictures to compel its audience towards a purchase. This makes their products look good while continuing to build a community around their brand.

In my opinion, the newsletter lives up to Kohl's sign-up promise – “the best deals and the latest styles”.

In this newsletter, the aim is to encourage customers to take advantage of the current discounted prices on Levi products.

Levi's Email Newsletter

Trust-Building Newsletters

Developing long-term relationships is essential, but you have to build trust first.

This is where a trust-building newsletter can work its magic. So the purpose of a trust-building newsletter is to increase consumer loyalty and retention.

Trust-building newsletters help you build meaningful relationships with your customers. That way, they’re more likely to interact with you and even recommend you to others.

Some examples of trust-building newsletters are:

  • Testimonials
  • Behind-the-scene look at company processes 
  • Helpful FAQ’s
  • Case studies of learning from failures or mistakes
  • Customer reviews and feedback
  • Reminders of location or service hour changes

Notice how Estee Lauder creates a deeper connection and builds trust with its customers.

By offering them a glimpse into their development processes, Estee Lauder brings subscribers closer to their brand.

Estee Lauder's Newsletter

How to Set Up Your Email Newsletter

In order to create the best e newsletters and email marketing campaigns, you need to ensure you’re headed in the right direction. Here are some fundamental aspects that you need to keep in mind when setting up:

Choose an Email Newsletter Service

The email marketing service you choose can significantly impact the success of your email marketing campaign. The right one will allow you to create a highly engaging email newsletter.

So how can you find the perfect one for you?

How to choose an Email Newsletter Service?
Source: Pixabay

Make comparisons based on the following aspects:

Easy user interface 

Ideally, look for a tool that offers numerous newsletter templates with easy-to-use customization options. An email builder with a drag and drop editor can help even amateurs generate an effective newsletter in no time at all.

Marketing Automation Options

You want to invest in an email newsletter service that takes the hassle out of making and sending e newsletters. Therefore, it should help streamline and automate processes. For instance, being able to send bulk emails with a personalized touch creates a more targeted approach.

Additional Features

You need to invest in a comprehensive tool that offers a variety of features, such as segmentation, A B testing, performance monitoring, etc.

Planning Your Newsletter Content

Planning Your Newsletter Content
Source: Pixabay

All marketing efforts begin in the same place – planning. And that starts with knowing the target audience. I mean, there’s no point in creating a newsletter that no one wants to read.

To figure out what content you need to publish, you will need to do some research. 

Define Your Target Audience 

What do your subscribers want to see and what are their needs? 

Do they want links to your recent blogs or information about upcoming sales and discounts? Are they interested in seeing a quarterly email newsletter or do they want them more often? 

Curate content that aligns with their interests and preferences as well as answers their questions.

Look at Your Competitors 

Check out what kind of e newsletters people are subscribing to and topics they are covering. This will help you figure out what type of newsletter you should send.

Compile Future Newsletter Ideas

Often marketers find it challenging to maintain the level of content that they produce for each newsletter. How can you come up with new, attention-grabbing ideas every time?

Make a list of the subject areas and topics you can write about. 

Industry news, company announcements and updates, case studies, success stories, white papers, infographics, surveys, upcoming events… your options are unlimited. 

But always produce interesting, relevant, well-researched material. Remember to mix up the newsletter types.

As a general rule, try to keep 90% newsletter content educational and 10% promotional.

Pull Your Efforts Together

Newsletters are an ongoing project. Sending haphazard content won't do wonders for your brand image.

So make sure there is a common thread that holds your e newsletters together. For example, instead of writing about your company, choose a niche that aligns with your readers’ interests. That way, you can cover more topics and your articles can get more engagement.

Newsletter Components and Structure

Every e newsletter needs some basic components. Let’s take a look at a newsletter from GapFactory to get an idea of the essential components your e newsletter should include.

A newsletter from GapFactory

Subject Line 

Your e newsletter needs to stand out in the inbox. That means crafting catchy subject lines to ensure readers are tempted to open them. According to Neil Patel, nearly 30% of recipients decide whether or not to open an email because of the subject line.

Preheader

An email preheader is displayed in the inbox after the subject line. It helps give the recipients an idea about content and convince them to open it.

Feature content

Choose an item that will be featured at the top of your newsletter. 

Visuals

Images, photos, or videos can add visual appeal to your newsletter.

Call-to-Action Button 

Every newsletter has a purpose. A CTA can direct the readers to action, whether that’s redeeming a code or directing them to the website. To increase the chances of a conversion, make sure CTA stands out.

Unsubscribe Option

Don’t trap your recipients. Give them the freedom to opt out of your email list.

Preference Selection

Allow subscribers to select newsletter preferences such as topic, frequency, etc. This will help you with personalizing an email campaign according to their preferences.  

Share Button

This feature helps increase the number of shares. Readers can easily forward the email newsletter to others while reading it.

Layout

Remember, one of the most important elements of your newsletter is its appearance. So make sure all the components are placed in such a way that the final layout is clean, attractive, and easy to use.

For instance, adding enough white spaces prevents your newsletter from feeling cluttered. Moreover, it makes it easier for people to read and interact with the email from their mobile phones.

Select or Create a Template for Your Newsletter

Templates for Newsletter
Source: Pixabay

Your newsletter should be a well-designed message for your subscribers. 

Sounds challenging?

Not if you use email marketing software such as Convertkit, GetResponse, or ActiveCampaign. They can make your job easier. 

How?

Email marketing tools typically offer numerous features that facilitate the creation and distribution of newsletters. 

They’re usually easy to use and come packed with ready-made newsletter templates. All you need to do is customize it by adding your pictures and content to the email template.

Choosing a Name for Your Newsletter

Choose a name for Newsletter
Source: Pixabay

What’s in a name? Actually, a lot.

You’ll be surprised to learn that the name of your newsletter has a substantial impact on your brand. 

A word of advice – take your time.

Come up with a memorable name that sticks in your readers’ minds and enhances the brand image. 

For instance:

  • Funny titles can make your newsletter popular e.g. Quarterly Snip-snipetts for a hair salon
  • Catchy names can stand out in the inboxe.g. Monthly Departures for travel agency
  • Words that convey authoritye.g . Weekly Report for regular analytic reports

How to Write a Newsletter

How to write a Newsletter
Source: Pixabay

By now, you already know that newsletter content needs to be engaging. 

One way to ensure you make an instant connection is to make your email newsletter feel like an update from a helpful friend rather than a pushy salesperson. Moreover, the style should leave your readers waiting for future editions.

To ensure you write a well-crafted newsletter, focus on the following aspects: 

Language

Typos are one thing. But grammar mistakes can tarnish your image. Ensure you avoid these simple errors. Furthermore, try to abstain from overly academic jargon that could push beginners away.

Tone

Be aware of who your target audience is. The tone of the content will vary depending upon who’ll be reading them.

If your target audience is younger demographics, your newsletter should sound fun and carefree. However, if it’s aimed at digital marketers, you need to be more direct and informative.

Copy 

As long as readers stay in their inbox, your email newsletter is competing with all the other emails for attention.

Keep the copy concise and embed a CTA to encourage your audience to continue reading the article on your website. 

Moreover, break the body into small sections as this makes it easier to read the newsletter. Or use bullet points to offer precise information that can be consumed at a glance.

Avoid Distracting Features

Adding sound, too many images, or flashing/blinking features can make it hard to consume content.

Scheduling Your Newsletter

Scheduling Your Newsletter
Source: Pixabay

Let’s be honest. Not everyone has enough time to read all their emails. So you need to devise a schedule that doesn’t suffocate your subscribers with too many email newsletters or space them so far apart that subscribers lose interest. 

I believe that sending marketing emails daily could flood the inbox and become irritating.

But you should plan your e-communications schedule depending on:

  • what content you’ll send 
  • who you’ll send to
  • when you’ll send them

Unfortunately, there’s no universal answer as to how often you should send newsletters. Identify how often your audience wants to read them and develop a frequency schedule that falls within your budget.

Once you establish a schedule, stick to it. Sending out an email newsletter at the same time will help your subscribers know when to expect it.

Email Newsletter Best Practices

Finally! You’ve reached the most important part of the blog. 

Email Newsletter Best Practices
Source: unsplash

A study by Remarkety revealed that out of 100 email newsletters sent, only one converts into a purchase.

Ouch! 

Want to learn how to do it the right way?

I’ll share some secrets of success that have proven beneficial to my campaigns.

Stay Out of the Spam Folder

A good email marketing tool will ensure your newsletter doesn’t end up as spam and keeps an eye on deliverability. Reputable brands need high delivery rates.

So how can you keep your emails out of spam?

  • Keep the subject line simple. 
  • Avoid using ALL CAPS or words that trigger a spam filter, e.g., sale, buy now, apply now, etc.
  • Build your own mailing list. Purchased email addresses means you’re sending messages to individuals who don’t want them, leading to high unsubscribe rates.
  • Avoid large attachments that may be flagged as spam or trigger virus scanners.

Here's a comprehensive guide on how to avoid the spam folder.

Maintain Your Mailing List

Some people don’t want to receive your email newsletters anymore, and that’s okay! Maintaining the quality of your email lists is more important than the quantity of contacts. 

Sending emails to uninterested people could trigger high unsubscribe rates and deteriorate your sending reputation. You’re better off removing old, disengaged users from your email list. 

Moreover, building and maintaining an engaged subscriber list will help you see the highest ROI. (Yeah!)

Segment Your Recipients

Your email list is a goldmine of email addresses. However, every subscriber is different, and not all leads are sales-ready.

Segmenting them into groups allows you to nurture and engage with them and build more meaningful relationships.

Sending the wrong content or too many emails can have high bounce rates. Segmenting allows you to align with the recipient's preferences.

Splitting your mailing list into various segments allows you to deliver the right content to the right email address at the right time, hence improving engagement.

Maximize Your Open Rates

Mailing list management helps achieve higher deliverability and open rates. Identify highly engaged recipients who are more likely to read your newsletter. 

Take the time to understand their preferences and schedules to gain the optimum engagement rates. Tweaking the content and delivery time can improve open and click rates. 

Check out our ultimate guide to increasing open rates.

A/B Test Your Newsletters

A/B testing allows you to optimize the performance of your newsletter campaign and generate better results.

Create two or more variations of a newsletter with different subject lines. Send them to a sample of your recipients. Identify which had the best open and click-through rate. 

Now send the winning version to the remainder of your mailing list.

Measure Your Success

Like other digital marketing aspects, you need to track the performance of your email campaigns.

Various marketing tools can help access important metrics such as open rates, CTR, unsubscribe rates, etc. You can use these statistics to create a better newsletter that generates higher conversions. 

Additionally, track and analyze consumer behavior and preferences to create content that answers their questions and matches their needs.

Make it Mobile Friendly

Ensure your newsletter displays correctly on mobile platforms. According to HubSpot, 46% of emails are opened on mobiles. Often, an email will appear fine in the browser but not on a mobile device. Optimize readability, images, element spacing, and CTA size.

Stay on the Right Side of the Law

Adhere to the rules of the CAN-SPAM Act by using non-deceptive subject lines and providing unsubscribe options. Also, clearly state on your landing pages that by offering an email address, the individual is subscribing to your mailing list.

Building Your Subscribers and Email List

This is all great, but how can I find people who want to receive my email newsletters? 

There are lots of ways to do it. But the best way to build a mailing list is to allow visitors who land on your website an opportunity to provide you their email address.

Placing a prominent sign-up form and offering an incentive are great ways to instantly build an email list. 

Macy’s offers a 25% discount to anyone who signs up.

Macy’s Newsletter

You can also make use of online ads. Encourage everyone who lands on these landing pages to sign up. Avoid adding links to other parts of your website so that visitors aren’t distracted while filling out the form.

Drive sign-ups through your social media profiles, surveys, polls, and other forms.

And don’t forget the good old-fashioned way to get more email addresses. Have a signup sheet at your brick-and-mortar store or an event you’re hosting.

Over to You

If you are thinking about creating an e newsletter, you need to make sure you do it the right way. 

Remember that a  successful newsletter always offers value to its readers. 

More importantly, it helps establish you as an expert in the industry and builds consumer confidence. So ensure you offer important up-to-date information about the latest trends, issues, and conferences.

Furthermore, aim at developing strong relationships. By emailing newsletters at timely intervals, your customers will consistently remain in touch with you. This helps build trust and enables you to motivate them to take action.

But as a marketer, you shouldn’t stop here. You need to take your email marketing efforts to the next level. With the help of marketing automation, you can set up autoresponders and drip campaigns so everyone who signs up to your email list can be driven deeper into your sales funnel.

Are you ready to introduce newsletters into your email marketing strategy?

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