Launching an email newsletter can be a daunting task. Yet, in this day and age, where online content is king, newsletters are one of the most effective ways to directly market to target audiences. If done right, newsletters can provide high value, and relevant content to your prospects, existing clients, or even staff. They help position you as a thought-leader on a topic, and help to create a rapport between your brand and your audience; growing trust in the process.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that an e-Newsletter is something your brand needs to be sending out, then congrats on making that first step. Now comes the work! In this article, we’re going to give you the tips and tricks you need to build an e-Newsletter that wins.
1. Prepping for your Newsletter
Before you start designing, or creating content for your newsletter, you need to have a crystal-clear bigger-picture of your newsletter, and strategy as a whole. To start, break out the notepad and pen, and consider the following:
What is this newsletter meant to achieve? Why are you sending it out in the first place? Try to come up with an aim that is easily measurable; something you can analyse after each send, so that you can find out what works, or doesn’t work moving forward.
Who is the target audience of this newsletter? Or are you going to go one step further, and have multiple segmented audiences who receive slightly different versions of your newsletter? If you’re using a marketing automation platform, you can create dynamic content, enabling you to target specific segments with content relevant to them. Something to think about!
Consider all that’s involved with every newsletter publication: content has to be created, maybe a bit of design work, and the email itself has to be queued for publish. Who is involved in this process? How long does it take? Working out what’s entailed in the workflow will help you figure out how often you should send out your newsletter, and whether it should be short and sweet or something more substantial – depending on the resources/time available.
2. Creating your Newsletter
When it comes to designing your newsletter, there are a couple of important rules to stick by: your newsletter should be mobile responsive (and even prioritise mobile view), and easy to skim.
When it comes to text content; make it easy to speed read. Use bullet points, and break up long form into lots of small paragraphs.
Not everything that works in web, will work in email. Try to work with a designer familiar with designing for email; as it’s a whole different kettle of fish. Keep in mind that certain fancy fonts, and embeddable media, won’t work in your email.
Lastly, consider your target audience when working out the accessibility of your newsletter design. For example, if your audience is more likely to be visually impaired, then consider using a larger font size, or including a font size toggle.
When it comes to email, it’s always better to say more, with less. Readers don’t tend to scroll for too long before losing interest; this may be because, increasingly, people are checking their emails on their mobile devices. Consider your audience reading on-the-go, and avoid essay like articles. It might help to think of the newsletter, conceptually, as more of a digest.
Visual content is great, so definitely include imagery if you’re up for it. But remember that for some of your recipients, those images won’t load when they first open your email, or will load slowly. For this reason, you should never include more images than text, and you should start off your email with text, not an image.
3. Sending your Newsletter
When to publish
It depends. Working out publication times that work for both your turnaround speed, and your audience, is all about practice, testing, and analysing results. But as a rule of thumb, most audiences check their inboxes outside of working hours, or during their lunch breaks.
Don’t breeze past your subject line. We get it, when your team has spent countless hours perfecting content for your newsletter, spending more energy and time on figuring out the best subject line seems like a waste. The truth is, the subject line is the first bit of content any of your readers see; and it is the single most important piece, as it’ll either drive your contacts to open your email, or to trash it. For this reason, carefully consider what your subject line should say. It should be relevant to the content within the newsletter; as no one likes to be lied to. But it should also be short, straight to the point, and eye-catching. If this sounds daunting, and figuring out the perfect subject line seems like too much pressure, don’t worry. Try using an A/B split test feature, which allows you to test up to 3 different subject lines; and learn more about what subject lines work for your audience.
4. Measuring the results
This is arguably, the most important step of any winning newsletter workflow process; thoroughly assessing, and analysing the results. This is where your e-Newsletter’s goal comes in. It’s time to look at your publication report, and see if you’re meeting your goal. If you’ve done any A/B split testing, check out which subject line garnered you the most opens. If you’ve included multiple articles, which stories most engaged your audience? If you’ve got multiple CTAs, which ones were most clicked, and why do you think that is? Your report is an insight into how your readers think, and what they want. This is invaluable moving forward, for building a newsletter that wins, and achieves the goals you set for it.
Tweaking things for the next publication
Obviously this goes without saying, but if your report gives you insights on how to build a better newsletter for next publish, then make sure you’ve clarified what changes you want to make, so that you implement them for the next round. If you’ve done your job right, you will, overall, see an uptick in goals met as your newsletter campaign ages.
When it comes to building and launching an e-Newsletter that achieves the goals set for it, the most important aspect of the process is reflection. Whilst there are general best practice tips that you should consider, nobody will know your newsletter’s audience better than you. Getting to know your audience has everything to do with report analysis, and adapting according to those results. We hope your takeaways from this article are: keep things simple, have a clear goal, and most importantly – get to know your audience inside, out.
What are you waiting for? Start an e-Newsletter today! And reap the benefits of timely, relevant, leadership-positioning content.
Here at Swift Digital, we can help you create it. To find out how your business can get the best out of Swift Digital’s platform, contact our Sales Team today on 02 9929 7001.