How to create an email newsletter
A newsletter is a tool used by marketing and internal comms professionals which aims to provide a list of subscribers/employees with updates on products and services or share company news.
What is the purpose of a newsletter?
While the main objective of a newsletter is to inform your audience of changes to your business, products and services. You will also see an opportunity to engage with them.
Creating a newsletter that is not only informative but engaging to your audience is what you should strive for and will encourage more of them to take action and engage with your organisation.
How to create a newsletter?
Firstly you’ll need an email service provider. While traditional platforms like Gmail and Outlook could be used, it is extremely difficult to bulk send emails and do not offer you in-depth design tools like NewZapp.
Using a dedicated email software will make sending to large groups of people much easier and without deliverability issues. More importantly, you will be able to receive analytics like open rates and click-through rates to determine the effectiveness of your newsletter.
Here are the 8 steps in creating an email newsletter for your business.
Step 1 – Purpose
Before opening a new email you need to come up with an initial concept for the content you will include. This does not need to be a finalised write-up.
Coming up with the purpose of the newsletter will often revolve around the audience you are sending to, so be sure to keep it relevant to them.
Write a list of the different topics you wish to include within the newsletter. For example;
• News updates
• Survey section
• Interesting relevant content
This does not need to be complex, just come up with a simple initial concept of what you wish to include within the newsletter that will benefit your audience.
Step 2 – Assembly
Now you can create a new email.
Before anything else add the previously conceptualised sections in to your email in the form of headings.
Then start to develop the layout of your email, adding in areas where text, images, buttons and other content will go. When it comes to images always be sure that the images used are relevant to the content as this will help readers form a clear understanding of the information being shared.
Add in all copy. You should always put the most important message first and include copy and design elements that will grab the reader’s attention.
A good rule to follow when writing content is to keep it short and concise while using language that your audience is comfortable with, so it is easy to understand and leaves as little as possible to be miss interpreted.
Always be sure it is engaging, for example. When adding testimonials make it more fun by turning it into a short story that grabs attention. If you are trying to inform your employees of changes within the business make it sound urgent and explain how it will affect them. Making sure the content is relevant and/or interesting to your audience is what will keep them engaged.
CTAs are ever important for both email marketing and internal communications as they are responsible for explaining the steps you wish your audience to take.
Ensure you use action words to prompt readers to a specific action. Don’t put CTA’s to low in the email as this will require the reader to scroll down. Try putting them near the top (minimal scrolling distance) and see the difference in clickthrough rate.
Use colours that stand out. Contrasting colours help draw the eyes of the reader and can be used to highlight important information of CTAs.
Step 3 – Design
Now that you have all of the copy, images and CTA’s, you can now start finalising the design of your newsletter adjusting the layout where necessary and using dividers or alternating colours to define different sections within the newsletter.
Step 4 – alt text
You may be asking why is alt-text important? Alt-text appears in your email when images have yet to load. Within some inboxes images will not appear automatically and will either require the reader to download the images or simply do not allow them to. In place of those images is alt-text.
So to ensure that the message is still coming across in an email without images, add in alt-text.
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Step 5 – Subject line and Johnson box
Considered the most important step in the email creation process, subject lines that compels your audience to open your email.
Getting the perfect subject line is difficult, however, the general rule is to keep it brief (10 – 50 characters long), inform the reader of the general topic of the email, and it is often best to state the value proposition first.
After the subject line be sure to add additional information within the Johnson box that will appear in the preview text below the subject line. In this section either explain the benefits of the email or try to induce (FOMO) fear of missing out to persuade the reader to open. Similar to the subject line you must be concise as mobile devices or small desktop screens may not display your text in full.
Conducting A/B tests with subject lines and preview texts will ensure you are able to understand what works best with your audience.
When filling in the sender’s address be sure you use a recognisable name/address and know that if you are to use a real person’s name it often improves email open rates.
Step 6 – Audience
For the best engagement make sure you segment your audience so that they only receive information and content that is relevant to them. While this does add a little time into the creative process as you will need multiple emails for multiple segmented audiences, however, if your target is to improve engagement, doing so will show major improvements.
Step 7 – Spam
Before you start the sending process be sure to conduct a spam and deliverability test. Doing so within NewZapp is as simple as clicking a button, just click spam check and NewZapp’s in-built spam checker will analyse your email and give you a score out of ten, above an 8 and you can be confident that it is highly unlikely to go into spam. The spam checker will also list potential improvements that can be made to decrease the likelihood of landing in the spam folder and increase deliverability.
Once you are scoring well you are ready to begin the sending process and watch as your email gets delivered in every inbox.
Step 8 – Measure
And last but certainly not least, monitor your email performance. Check if you have achieved your goals and see how each part of your campaign has performed.
Use this data to help guide you when writing your next newsletter and begin optimising the creation and sending process of your newsletters.
Learning the art of creating newsletters takes time and their are multiple elements you must master, however, I am confident that with these steps and your drive for learning you will be making incredible newsletters in no time.
Passionate in helping internal communicators reach and engage their organisation’s employees.
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