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Whether you run a brick-and-mortar business or an ecommerce store, an email newsletter is a great way to keep your past, present, and future customers engaged with your brand.
Thankfully, with a little bit of know-how, anyone can set up and send their first newsletter campaign in an hour or less. In this blog post, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions to send a newsletter. At the end, we’ll also share some eye-catching email newsletter examples to get your creative juices flowing.
What is an Email Newsletter?
Email newsletters are the most basic form of email marketing. Newsletters are periodic email messages that provide news and updates about an organization, product, or service.
To receive an email newsletter (or any form of email marketing), recipients must opt-in to your email list by submitting their contact information and agreeing to your terms and conditions.
It is important to note that company newsletters are subject to the same rules and regulations as every other type of digital marketing message (like GDPR and CAN-SPAM laws).
Why You Should Start an Email Newsletter
Every online website deals with the issue of visitors coming to their site, leaving, and never coming back.
How can reengage with website visitors? Well, there are generally two options: retargeting ads or email & SMS marketing.
Email is cheaper than retargeting almost every single time. On top of that, email is an owned marketing channel, meaning you are not subject to the whims of advertising platforms like Facebook and Google.
Implementing an email newsletter can boost your website traffic, promote new products or services, and increase customer LTV & conversion rates (along with a slew of other marketing and sales metrics)
How to Start an Email Newsletter
Step 1 – Sign up for an ESP
One of the first things you’ll need to do to start an email newsletter is choose an email service provider (ESP). An ESP is an email marketing software specifically designed to send bulk emails to subscribers. It is much easier to use an ESP than using an email client like Gmail or Outlook because an ESP will help you manage contacts lists, track conversions and click-through rates, manage unsubscribes, and much more.
If you’re interested in learning more about using Elemental as your ESP, contact us for a personalized demo. We can walk you through the functionality of our email marketing tool and show you how you can use automation to optimize your email marketing strategy.
Step 2 – Create a Form
Next up, it’s time to set up a sign-up form. How you set up a sign-up form depends on your CMS and ESP. You may also want to set up a pop-up to capture even more email subscribers. If you’re using WordPress, you’ll need to use a form plugin. Many other content management systems, including Shopify, often have built-in forms. Shopify also has a bunch of apps that you can use for lead generation as well.
Once you have your form, you’ll need to connect it to your ESP, usually via API integration.
To start growing your email list, ask your friends and family to sign up. After that, ask your happy customers.
Step 3 – Build Your Email
Ok, now let’s assume you have a few built on your subscriber list and you’ve uploaded them to your ESP. Now it’s time to build your email.
The best way to start is to choose a prebuilt email newsletter template. Elemental comes with a huge library of templates to choose from or you can easily start one from scratch, even if you don’t know HTML, using our drag-and-drop editor.
For your first email campaign, don’t overthink your email newsletter design. As you get the hang of it, you can start A/B testing different fonts, CTAs, etc.
Step 4 – Create Your Content
After you pick out a template, it’s time to add in your newsletter content. Start with the basics like adding your logo to the header and your contact information and social media links to the footer.
After that, you can start building out the body of your newsletter. Really, this can be anything, but here are some ideas:
- Tell people why you are starting a newsletter.
- Update your target audience on changes to your small business.
- Welcome new team members or introduce a new product.
- Highlight a recently published piece of content from your blog.
- Let people know about special offers at your business or store.
Step 5 – Write a Subject Line
I personally like to wait until the end to craft the perfect email subject line. From our experience, subject lines have the biggest impact on open rates, so make it good. A few quick tips:
- Let people know what they can expect inside the email (without giving too much away).
- Click-bait works. Check out Buzzfeed headlines for some inspiration.
- Some audiences like emojis 😎.
- Get to the point. Shorter subject lines often perform better than long-winded sentences.
After your subject line, add in some preview text that builds on your subject line.
Step 6 – Test, Test, Test
Alright, once you put in your subject line, preview text, and newsletter content, your email is almost ready to go out to the world. But first, you need to test everything.
Use your ESP to send a test email to yourself and your coworkers. Read everything for typos and check every link. Also, open the email on your mobile devices to make sure everything looks good there.
Step 7 – Send It!
Congratulations! Now that you’ve built your best email newsletter ever, it’s time to send it to your audience.
Email Newsletter Examples
First up, let’s take a look at this excellent email newsletter example from the South Dakota Department of Tourism. Everything from the subject line (“Less Dreaming, More Scheming 😉”) to the photographs to the stories inspires recipients to get out and explore. Notice how the South Dakota marketing campaign isn’t pushing a product or service, instead, it is pushing an idea.
Next, we have a cool example from Teachable. What I like about this email, much like the previous example, is that it pushes ideas instead of a product. In fact, you don’t hear anything about the product until the third story. I also like how the “Tip of the Week” doesn’t even have a CTA—this is what we call zero-click content in the marketing biz.
Here’s another SaaS example, this one from Trello. Trello starts off with two stories that any business professional would be interested in. After that, they move on to stories and tutorials about using their product to make life easier. Showcasing stories about how to use your product or service is a great tactic for reducing churn.