How to Create a Newsletter

A quick guide to your first newsletter.
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So you’ve decided that your company needs an email newsletter. Newsletters are a great way to make multiple touches with customers and leads without pushing a hard sell, and they can complement the information on your website and email marketing campaigns well.

Creating an e-newsletter requires fitting together many different pieces, like articles, company updates, or customer interviews, all arranged in a pleasing template that is easy for readers to scan. You also have to figure out what kind of newsletter you want and who your target market. What's more, all the content in your newsletter requires preparation and consideration. This article will help you understand the various steps it takes to get to the final product--your very own email newsletter!

1. Figure Out The Purpose Of Your Newsletter

Who is your newsletter for: current customers, free trial users, or leads? And how will your reader benefit from the content in your newsletter: will it help them use your product better or keep up-to-date on company changes? Last, but certainly not least, what are you looking for: more email contacts, lead generation, stronger relationships with customers? When you clearly define the purpose of your newsletter and your business goals for the project, you can begin the process of constructing the newsletter itself.

2. Create Your Content

While you can add articles and videos from outside sources to your newsletter, creating unique content gives your target market more reasons to sign up for your newsletter: they can’t get the information any other way. Also, people like feeling like insiders, and they like showing off their insider info in front of friends--so give them something to talk about! If you have a company blog, this is a great place to preview and link to your pieces. If you make product tutorials on Youtube, embed them in your newsletter. You can also create content that is just for your newsletter: best practices, quotes from customer testimonials, coupons--anything that will make your readers feel special and involved. Each part of your newsletter is like a small call to action asking your reader to click, share, or read.

3. Select Your Template

This step can be really hard or really simple, so I suggest you take the easier route--select a pre-made template for free online instead of trying to create your own. Mailchimp is a great way to not only send your newsletter, but set it up. They offer tons of template themes as well as a drag and drop feature to let you rearrange images and content as necessary. If you really want to get fancy, you can always code your own template using Mailchimp’s guidelines. Check out Mailchimp’s email templates here, or Google the specific (free) kind of template you want.

4. Pick Your Subject Line

Many blog posts have been devoted to writing killer email subject lines (you can check out our article here), but hooking your readers really comes down to three simple principles: be clear, be concise, and avoid clickbait and clichés. People want to know with a glance what your email will be about and why it pertains to them. For example, if your newsletter is intended to help new customers learn how to use your company’s music software, a subject line such as “XYZ Software Tips: How to Manage Music Your Files” gives context as well as a reason for people to open your email. Keeping your sender name familiar also gives context; use your company name, or, if you want to be more personal, the name of the reader’s account manager.

5. Proofread, Send, and Re-Evaluate

Send your newsletter out to a small trial group first, and then split test what works best. Ask your readers for feedback. Monitor your website’s traffic. After sending out your newsletter, are more people clicking through the articles linked to it? Are people actually using the coupons attached? Do people ever respond with questions or comments? Keep all of these interactions in mind when deciding how to change and improve the content and format of your newsletter. If you haven’t done so already, you also need to see how your newsletter looks on different browsers and with different email clients. You want to make sure that for your readers, your newsletter looks as good as it does on your own screen.

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