The email newsletter space is hot right now. Many people are successfully selling email newsletters as a digital product or using it as an effective, engaging marketing tool.
Thinking of creating an email newsletter? Keep reading to learn how to start your email newsletter, and why it’s a smart move for your business.
What is an email newsletter?
An email newsletter is an email sent on a regular basis through your email marketing software to your subscribers and customers. You may use it to share stories, product updates, links to new content, and announcements.
You can create an email newsletter that’s free or paid. A paid email newsletter is best for those who consider the newsletter itself their main digital product. A free email newsletter is best for those using it as a way to connect with followers, build loyalty and sell more products.
4 use cases for your email newsletter
While there’s no rule against mixing up the format of your newsletter, most newsletters are designed for a specific purpose. They fall into one of four use cases that have been proven to drive engagement and sales:
Email newsletter use case #1: Customer news
To keep customers engaged, you need to keep them updated on your product, including updates and future plans. This type of newsletter lets your subscribers feel like they’re part of the inner circle. It also reminds them to click through and use your product.
- Share tips on how to use your product more effectively.
- Tell them about new features you’ve added.
- Share customer success stories.
Email newsletter use case #2: Content curation
Content curation can be a good strategy if you don’t consider yourself a writer. Just share links to the content you’re reading. With this strategy, you’re the expert, telling your subscribers what they need to pay attention to.
- Find content your audience wants (or needs) to know.
- Organize it.
- Add your own comments, if you wish.
Hiten Shah’s newsletter is a good example of this:
Email newsletter use case #3: Blog/Media
Most businesses create an email newsletter with this use case in mind. It’s a strategic way to add value while driving traffic to your website.
And it’s easy to build. After publishing a blog post, podcast, or video, send your subscribers an email to let them know about it.
Note: Your newsletter can link to just one piece of content or several. Some brands send just one email each week that lists all the content published that week.
Here’s an email newsletter from Amy Porterfield that sends traffic to a new podcast episode:
Use Case #4: E-commerce
An e-commerce newsletter lets subscribers know about new products, seasonal promotions, and sales. It’s often published daily or several times a week.
This example by AppSumo tells subscribers about new apps in their marketplace.
How to create an email newsletter for your business
Follow these nine steps to create a successful email newsletter for your brand.
1. Decide on the style
What’s your goal for your newsletter? Choose the use case and format that’s best for your needs.
2. Create an editorial calendar
Most email newsletters are published daily, once or twice a week, or once or twice a month. If you’re just getting started, be conservative. Pick a schedule that you can maintain even in your busy season.
Then choose a schedule. Maybe it will be every Tuesday at noon. Or Mondays and Thursdays.
To plan your content, create a simple editorial calendar in Google Sheets or your favorite productivity app. When you have an idea, drop it in the editorial calendar. After you’ve sent it out, mark it complete.
Here’s an example of an editorial calendar in Asana, with each project marked complete:
3. Choose a template
A template helps you create a professional newsletter without having to know code. Use one of the many email templates that come with Kajabi’s email visual editor or build your own.
You don’t have to use the same format in every email. But it’s a good idea to follow the same basic template so your branding is consistent.
4. Choose a subject line
The subject line is as important, if not more important, than the content in the newsletter itself. It’s the first thing people see and can make the difference between it getting opened or deleted.
A good subject line is like the headline of a sales page. It should:
- Build curiosity
- Pique interest
- Suggest that there’s value to opening the email
Don’t resort to cheap tactics or a click bait approach. You don’t want to frustrate your readers and teach them not to trust your emails.
For help coming up with good subject lines, use a swipe file like Digital Marketer’s 101 the best email subject lines.
5. Use alt-text with your images
“Alt text” is a short description of an image added to the code of an image. It helps search engines and screen readers understand what the image is about.
In an email newsletter, this is critical for engaging all your subscribers. Some inboxes don’t display images. And some subscribers are visually impaired. In both cases, the alt-text helps the reader engage with the content, even when they can see the images.
6. Comply with email regulations
Email compliance is nothing to be trifled with. Already there are strict guidelines that protect consumers from SPAM and the misuse of their personal information. More regulations are likely on the horizon.
To ensure your newsletter is delivered (and avoid fines and prosecution), you must follow these rules. Here are the most important email regulations, with links to learn more about them:
- GDPR – EU
- CCPA – California
- CAN-SPAM act – USA
- CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) – UK
- Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations of 2003 – UK
Many email platforms, like Kajabi’s email marketing software, are designed to keep you compliant. But it’s wise to be informed, so you don’t accidentally overstep.
7. Make sure your email is mobile friendly
99Firms.com reports that 85% of users rely on their smartphones to check their email. Today, to engage with your followers, it pays to have a mobile-first approach to layout and design.
Make sure you use a responsive template. It should reformat your newsletter, depending on the device your reader is using. That ensures it can be read without pinching, scrolling, or turning.
8. Send a test email
Send a test email to yourself or someone on your team before sending it to your entire list. You want to confirm:
- The email is formatted properly
- The layout is easy to read on all devices
- There are no typos or major mistakes
9. Set up your confirmation email
Confirmation emails are automated emails that confirm an action taken by the user. They also kickstart the relationship you’re attempting to build with your subscriber by starting a one-on-one conversation.
When you create your subscription form, take a minute to craft a personal confirmation email as well. That will start your new relationship on the right foot.
Why your email newsletter should be a priority
Your newsletter is a key piece of your overall marketing strategy. Based on a study by OptinMonster, 61 percent of consumers prefer to be contacted by brands through email.
Content Marketing Institute confirms that newsletters are one of the highest performing type of content for B2C organizations:
Their research shows that newsletters are the number one channel for both securing and nurturing leads. And for converting leads, newsletters are practically equal to in-person events.
It may seem like a lot of work to get a newsletter going. But the value to your business and your subscribers is worth the effort.
Start small. Keep it simple. There’s no need to try to rival The Hustle.co. Decide what’s realistic for you, and what you can maintain consistently. Then build from there.
Kajabi helps you run your business with all the tools you need in one platform. That includes email marketing software that empowers you to create a branded newsletter that people want to subscribe to.
Best of all, you can try Kajabi for free.