Creating an email newsletter can be fun as well as critically important for your business’s continued success and growth.
What is an email newsletter?
An email newsletter is basically an email that you send out to your list of subscribers on a semi regular basis. Some frequencies can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and sometimes annually.
The contents of an email newsletter are usually updates that are relevant to the subscribers and something to reel them back into what your company or organization is up to.
A good example is an organization, let’s say you have an organization that helps kids with cancer. Your subscriber list will most likely be made up of the following groups:
Participants: Patients that have gone through your program
Parents of Participants: The parents of the children going through the process
Donors: Generous donors who have contributed towards the project’s success
Each member, usually divided into their own group on your mailing list, has a particular interest in your organization, depending on how they interact with it.
The newsletter and often, plural, newsletters can go out to each group and will share updates of the latest activity that has to do with your organization’s work, its success, its projects always in a positive way.
The reason you may want to divide the newsletter into specific groups is that some articles in the newsletter may be more geared towards a particular group. For instance, a parent support group creation may not be of interest to the donors or the patients, but certainly for the parents group. Likewise, the goals and achievements may speak to the donors (to get them to continue to donate).
Email newsletters are encapsulated in the power of email, which is sent directly to the recipient’s phone or home computer, a direct invitation to be read.
How to create an email newsletter
Enough of the why, lets see the how!
Once you have set up your groups, you’ll want to select the articles you want to share in the newsletter itself. Make sure that the articles going out are relevant for your recipients if you want them to keep reading them.
Next, you’ll need an email marketing software such as Klaviyo or Mailchimp. These tools make emails easy to send out to large groups of people without being blocked by spam folders. In addition, they offer graphical templates to make your email sparkle. We usually recommend keeping the same template from newsletter to newsletter to help your readers know what to expect.
Most templates have slots for your logo and other images, its key to follow the templates format and intended use to ensure that it looks professional and consistent amongst all email clients and browsers.
Once you have your template ready to go, use the editor to drop in your content and images. Most email programs run off a simple editor making the editing process as easy as Microsoft Word. Images need to be uploaded and most programs offer a tool to upload images directly to their server within your account.
Spacing! Spacing is critical! Remember, the template is only designed to hold a certain amount of information and images. This means that some articles either have to be kept short or have a link to your website to read the full article. All editors enable you to hyperlink text or images to help with this.
In addition, you can use hyperlinks to take your readers to take actions such as donations, buying something or other forms of participation.
Alt-Tags, each image in its settings may have Alt-Tags, this is text that appears if the recipient elects not to view your images. It is usually a description of what the image is meant to display.
Time to test! Testing your email may sound silly but it’s key based on our points above to make sure that it looks as you intend when received. All email programs offer the option to send a test email. You will want to test it on both PC and Mobile devices to make sure that it comes out right.
Some email tools have specific mobile builders as well as the results can be very different.
The great thing about email marketing is that you can prepare the emails at any time of day or night and have them go out exactly when you want them to with the scheduling features. The feature basically enables you to choose a date and time you want the email to go out and presto! It does!
This is the basics for an email newsletter, but is the tip of the iceberg for when it comes to the power of email marketing.
For instance, You can send different newsletters based on your user’s activities. In many email marketing tools you can determine a future email or which specific future email a subscriber will get based on if they took certain action from a previous email or if they took an action on your website. The power of this personalization is key to ensure you’re getting the most out of your subscriber’s actions.
Tracking is a huge part of email and newsletter marketing. With each email that goes out you can in almost real time see which members have opened your email and at what time. If you pay close attention you can determine your best subscribers and run campaigns (email or otherwise) to them as you know they take the most action.
Things you can track can be
Open rates: The percentage of people who opened (and who opened it).
Open times: The time of day and proximity from the send time you got your opens.
Clicks: Track which links within the emails are being clicked and how many times it was clicked.
Revenue: See how much money was generated from the sending of this email.
Unsubscribes: See how many people have unsubscribed from your list (won’t get more emails).
One thing that is important to remember, while your email may be amazing and your company or organization stellar, you’ll rarely get a 100% open rate on emails, but that’s ok! A general good open rate can be between (depending on the nature of the email) between 10%-30%, that may seem low, but those are the statistics.
This is why it’s important to always keep your content relevant to the reader so they will continue to open, read, and click on your emails.