How to start an email newsletter in 3 steps

Last updated: September 29, 2017
Posted by: Sally Davies
Categories: Marketing

How to start email newsletterIf you’re in business and you haven’t realised that email marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote your business then you’re missing a trick.

Or maybe you’re fully aware of how effective email marketing is but the thought of actually doing it makes you think you just don’t have time or you wouldn’t know what to put in it even if you did.

Well never fear, this article will certainly help kick start your email marketing off in the right direction.

Why send out email newsletters?

  1. Sending a regular email newsletter helps to keep you or your business top of mind.
  2. Sharing valuable or useful content can position you as an expert without being boastful.
  3. You can make your subscribers feel special with early access to promotions or discounts.
  4. You can promote your products and services whether new or existing.
  5. You can drive people to visit your website where they might sign up for something else or buy something.

You’ll need to create some sort of plan

The great news is that an email marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated, you just need to put a little thought into it.

Step 1 - Who are you sending to?

The first thing you need to do is think about who you’re sending to. Are they:

  • Existing customers - people who have bought from you no matter how much they spent
  • Leads - people who have expressed interest in your products / services
  • People you have met but they’ve never bought from you
  • People who have subscribed to your list in exchange for a free download
  • People you want to reach out to because you think they might bring you business

Step 2 - Brainstorming ideas for content

Depending on who your audience are and also what your business does will determine what it is that you’re going to send out. The main thing to focus on should be to always think about content that your people are going to want to read. All content should be checked by asking - what’s in it for them?

Here are some examples:

Let’s say your business is a physical store and sells products and you offer a service. Your newsletter could be sent out to anyone who has been subscribed either by purchasing or social media and might consist of:

  • Showcasing products whether they have just become available or simply to highlight them
  • Promoting products that have special offers or discounts
  • Any events your business is involved in such as in store sales, sponsored events etc
  • Any competitions that you're running
  • Any internal news that would be of interest
  • Useful tips, resources or reminders
  • Any popular social media posts that are of high value
  • Any related information, events or products etc from other non-competitive sources

Maybe your business is an virtual service based business specialising in teaching something. Your newsletter could be sent out to leads or anyone who has expressed an interest in what you do and might consist of:

  • High value tips and resources that position you as an expert and make your subscribers think “wow if this is what they're giving away for free, the course must be amazing!”
  • Promotion of any exclusive groups you are offering access to
  • Promotion of your course, highlighting benefits
  • Promotion of early bird, discounts, add-on’s
  • Past student success and their testimonials
  • Reminders such as for upcoming important dates, times or events

By thinking about who you’re sending to and being realistic about what they’re going to be excited to read and be interested in is the key. You could even look through some of the newsletters you're bound to have in your inbox. Only the most interesting emails though, the ones you actually read (or at least want to read when you get a moment). Think about what it is that makes you read them and then use that as inspiration.

Step 3 - Figuring out sending frequency

It’s a fine line between not enough and too much and a lot depends on what your business is and how much good stuff you have to say. Many of us have unsubscribed from emails simply because they were too frequent.

Monthly is a good starting place. You can figure out as you go along to increase the frequency if you feel it's appropriate.

Step 4 - Putting the content together

Using your basic ideas, it's time to put together some actual content.

Having a basic template established is the easiest way of tackling this. Then each issue you know what you need to find and you can store similar ideas for future issues.

For example:

  • Email newsletter foldersIntro
  • 1 x News related
  • 1 x Useful resource of high value
  • 1 x Promotional
  • 1 x Funny / entertaining
  • 1 x Special offer
  • 1 x Testimonial

Create a folder structure on your computer for your newsletter content. First a folder for the issue, and then within that you can add folders for each content item. Then place in the folders any snippets, images, notes etc so that when you go to write the newsletter it's all there in one place ready for you. You might write the final content as you are creating the newsletter or you can be super organised and write it prior to creating it. Up to you.

Keeping content short and to the point is key. No one is going to ‘read’ anything. Emails are skimmed through so make it easy for someone to do that by having enticing headlines and punchy sentences.

Summary

I’m sure that once you put your mind to it you’ll realise that it actually isn’t too much of a big deal to send out an email that's of high value and well received by your readers.

I know from experience that it won’t take long before you’ll be reaping the rewards of staying in touch with your subscribers and it will make it feel totally worth the effort each issue.

Good luck with the planning. If you need help, sing out.