How to Write a Newsletter
Email marketing is king. It works, and it’s powerful. But to get the most out of this tool, one should know the psychological triggers behind it. It’s all about understanding your audience and setting clear goals.
Sounds easy? Yes, in theory. In practice, Making users notice your emails, open them, and take the desired action is tricky.
In this blog post, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide on how to write high-converting newsletters that hit the target.
Motivate users to opt-in
Before getting down to email creation, ensure you have a decent list of subscribers. How do you prompt visitors to opt-in? Today’s users are overloaded with tons of junk emails and useless information. So, a standard newsletter subscription form doesn’t work anymore.
The solution is to provide your audience with some value. What incentives can you offer? One of the most evident answers – “discounts.” Of course, in most cases, this is a straightforward way to attract new leads. However, depending on your business niche, you may choose your own perks: a free first haircut, a special gift with the first purchase, free consultation, and many other perks.
And remember that you can always A/B split test your hypothesis to find the best solution.
Example: Converse offers a 15% discount for a subscription to their newsletter with updates and special offers. They use a popup format instead of a static on-page block to grab customers’ attention at once.
Quick Tip: Your social media subscribers are a fabulous audience for your email newsletters. They are interested in staying up to date with your company news. Therefore, you can promote the perks of your newsletters on social media on a constant basis.
Set clear goals
Like any marketing campaign, your email activities should have a specific goal, as there is no point in sending newsletters just because everyone sends. There are dozens of email types out there. Promo emails, win-backs, follow-ups, survey requests, abandoned cart emails, and all have different goals. So, what about newsletters?
Since each email type has its particular goals, let’s figure out what kinds of email newsletters exist.
1. Newsletters to build trust
With these emails, you’ll showcase to your audience why your store or brand is the ultimate choice for their money.
Authority-building newsletters come in multiple forms:
- Customer reviews
- Case studies
- Product/service updates
- Company news
2. Newsletters to Educate customers
To let shoppers know that you are super cool and deserve their trust is already half the deal. But how to retain your clients and turn them into loyal customers? Provide them with some additional value. Luckily, email newsletters perfectly work for this purpose.
Email types you may consider:
- Case studies
- Usage guides
- Expert insights
- Helpful life hacks
- Helpful FAQs
- Industry updates
Quick Tip: Tutorials and case studies are not only about software products or services. Online merchants can successfully use these tactics to demonstrate their products’ use cases through photos, videos, and creative wording. While customers may not know about all the hidden powers of your products, your job is to wrap them in high-quality content.
Take a look at a short and yet effective newsletter with quick design tips by GoDaddy Studio. This is an excellent example of emails that bring value to their subscribers.
Educational emails work well for all types of businesses if you know what your audience needs. For instance, you can send emails with the best summer/fall looks if you sell apparel. Likewise, cosmetics stores can attract and engage customers by listing inspirational make-up ideas. Well, you got it.
3. Commercial Newsletters
Although some marketers consider sales emails to be a separate activity that has nothing in common with “classic” newsletters that aim to warm up customers, we decided to include them in our list of newsletter tips as an additional type.
Once you’ve established trust and started generating helpful content for your clients, it’s high time to think about direct sales. High-converting sales newsletters usually contain short and catchy product descriptions to demonstrate core product features and benefits and a compelling call to action.
Examples of sales newsletters include:
- Product launch announcements
- Special offers
- Personalized discounts
- Seasonal or holiday sales
- Event notifications
Now, when we’ve structured your knowledge regarding newsletter types, let’s return to our goals. Below you will find the list of the most common goals:
- Boost overall sales
- Raise brand awareness
- Build customer loyalty
- Improve customer retention & engagement
- Drive traffic to your website or to specific landing pages
After you’ve come up with your goal, roll up your sleeves and get down to work.
Determine emails frequency
Talking about “classic” newsletters, how often are you going to send them? Here you should strike a balance not to annoy your subscribers but still keep them engaged. A monthly newsletter is a common practice for the majority of brands. But, of course, some companies get the most out of their weekly or even daily emails. Again, it’s individual and depends on many factors.
Quick Tip: If you are unsure about the frequency, let your customers determine it by themselves. When visitors subscribe to your newsletter, offer them to choose whether to get emails weekly, monthly, or daily. This step not only helps you meet customers’ needs but lets you collect data for segmentation. This way, you’ll be able to create more personalized content for each cohort.
MyFonts.com suggests another variant of effective newsletter subscription management. They let readers specify the types of content they’d like to receive, which is also an excellent option for customer segmentation.
Get prospects open your emails
It’s evident that if no one opens your newsletter, you won’t get any conversions. Hence, every single email campaign should be well-thought-out from the subject line to unsubscribe link. But, first, concentrate on the email parts that directly influence people’s desire to open it.
Pay attention to your “From” line
When your email drops into a customer’s inbox, it immediately gets lost among tons of newsletters from other brands striving to attract users’ attention. That’s why a catchy email title is already half the battle.
However, there is one more aspect that impacts your open rates. According to the statistics, the “From” line also matters. Users highly appreciate a personal approach and will be more likely to open an email sent by a real person reaching out to them one-by-one.
Generate compelling subject lines
Since you won’t have the second chance to make the first impression, your subject line should be something that immediately drags users’ attention and gives them a reason to open your email. Therefore, ensure that your title is catchy and relevant to the email body. And of course, there are dozens of tactics you can use to create your ideal subject line:
- Go personal. More than 80% of digital marketers acknowledge that subject lines improved their open rates. So, using a recipient’s name in your subject line (when it’s reasonable) is a brilliant idea.
- One more awesome way to boost opens is adding some urgency to your subject line. Let customers know there is something really important in your email that can’t wait. This tactic is especially effective when it comes to commercial emails when you want to inform customers about flash deals, weekend sales, etc.
- Test A/B test your subject lines to determine the most winning variant.
Be careful with emojis
MailChimp’s study reveals that more than three punctuation marks per subject line can make your newsletter look spam, especially if you add many special characters.
- According to their research, it’s better to add one emoji per email title.
- MaiChimp also advices to use emojis just to attract people’s attention and add more colors to your words. Don’t try replacing particular words with emojis.
- Ensure your emojis look equally attractive for all operating systems before emails dispatch.
Add catchy opening lines
O’K, your “From” line is personal, your email subject is spotless. Is that everything you need to skyrocket your open rate? Actually, not. Your first line is also visible in an email inbox in most browsers for desktop and mobile versions. Being an additional hook that influences users’ open intent, it should lead straight to the point. Otherwise, you risk losing a decent number of potential opens.
Establish connection with your readers in the newsletter body
It’s high time to think over your email content and structure. The primary advice for all newsletter types here – keep your email clear and short. An email inbox is not the place where users expect to see long reads. The point here is to win their attention and warm them up to move throughout the sales funnel. So, make sure your email body doesn’t contain excessive info that destructs readers from performing an intended action.
What is the optimal length?
Usually, newsletters recap many different subjects at once, so you should break up the body into separate parts for each. And, of course, informative newsletters have a larger word count than commercial ones. So, the latter should include up to 200 words, while the former can be longer but within reasonable bounds.
What to choose: Plan text or HTML
Plain text pros
On the one hand, plain texts look boring without any special formatting and stunning imagery. But, on the other hand, they are still widely used and, according to some studies, may boast high open rates. Why? There are several possible reasons.
The first reason is that popular email clients “don’t like” HTML-heavy emails and apply special filters to them. For instance, Gmail’s “Promotions” filter detects sales or promo-rich messages and throws them out of the primary inbox. This way, your newsletters may end up as spam and never reach your target audience.
The second reason is that each email service has its way of displaying HTML. Thus, your HTML email may look differently in Gmail or Apple Mail. Moreover, some browsers don’t show HTML emails at all. Hence, plain texts ensure all of your recipients can receive and adequately consume your newsletter.
And this is where the pros of plain text newsletters end.
HTML is ideal when it comes to a professionally designed effective newsletter with impactful content. You can include your company’s colors and logos, divide the text body into easy-to-perceive parts with headings and subheadings, and link to your store or blog with engaging CTAs.
Which format to choose? There is no need to skip one version, as up-to-date email marketing platforms easily convert HTML into plain text. And if you’re afraid that some customers won’t see your stunning HTML email correctly, you can provide subscribers with the option to open your newsletter as a single web page.
How to create an HTML newsletter template
Since a newsletter is a piece of content created and sent regularly, first of all, you should think over its consistent design. In other words, all your newsletters should look like they are parts of one series.
Yes, creating a template from scratch is not an easy task. It requires specific skills from programming to designing. In addition, you should be familiar with the specifics of various email clients. However, there are some basic rules for all templates:
- Specify fixed template width. Set horizontal dimensions so that users won’t have to scroll from side to side or rotate their gadgets to read a single line.
- Use a header. Headers are great attention catchers. They establish the hierarchy for the whole template and incorporate your brand identity.
- Split the email body into parts. Each seaction should contain its subject. Make sure, you’ve placed yur most important content on top.
- Link to your website content or add a CTA button to let readers perform the action you need.
- Add social icons. Every brand needs more subscribers in social networks. Why not prompt your email readers to follow you on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms?
- Place a share button. Let users easily share your content in social networks and messengers.
- Add a footer. This is the section where you will reinforce your branding and show your contact info.
Measure your email campaigns success
To get actionable insights and move forward, you need to track and analyze the performance of your email campaigns. That’s why any marketing specialist responsible for email newsletters should pay careful attention to the metrics listed below:
- Deliverability rate – the overall number of emails delivered to the recipients.
- Bounce rate – the number of emails blocked and sent back to you by email clients.
- Open rate – the percentage of emails opened by the recipients.
- Click-through rate – this metric shows how many readers clicked hyperlinks, images, or CTA buttons in your newsletter.
- Unsubscribe rate – nothing unexpected here – this is the number of recepients that don’t want to receive your emails anymore.
Use your unsubscribe page to draw readers back
Experienced marketers use the unsubscribe page to retain their customers. That’s why we’ve added this section to our “how-to-do-a-newsletter” list.
We recommend treating this last touchpoint with your audience as an additional possibility to enhance a user experience and win back clients who want to leave.
Here is a small list of how you can repurpose your subscription page:
- Gather feedback. Rework standard “Why unsubscribe” questions to adjust them to your needs. Make the survey simple and let unsubscribers know their feedback will help you get better.
- Offer more subscription options. Add the Subscription Preferences link to your unsubscribe page to let users set emails frequency or choose the type of content they want to receive.
- Drive leads to other channels. When readers unsubscribe from your email newsletters it doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from your company at all. Thus, by redirecting them to your social media pages or specific landings you’ll stay in touch with your audience.
- Reinforce brand identity. A branded unsubscription page with a powerful wording will positively impact your company image and show your subscribers you really value them. Try to personalize your message and say thank your for staing with you all this time.
- Make users change their mind. When creating your unsubscribe page, try to predict all possible scenarios. Sometimes, readers may click the link by mistake. Or, they may rethink in the dying seconds. Therefore, the possibility to return or resusbscribe may win you a decent percent of unsubscribers.
We hope that with our newsletter tips, you’ll harness the power of email marketing with minimum effort and establish closer relationships with your audience.
At first, creating a high-converting newsletter may seem to be rocket science. But, if you have all the ingredients at hand and know how to use them, the recipe is not difficult to reproduce. Determine your goals, pick up the suitable format, wrap it in a catchy design, and spice it up with straightforward wording. Voilà! Your ideal email is ready!