What is a Newsletter? The Ultimate Guide
A newsletter could be one of your most valuable and sustainable marketing tools.
If your business doesn’t currently have an email newsletter, you should consider starting one. Backed by a strong strategy, email marketing campaigns can deliver stable return on investment (ROI) as well as other value-add benefits.
A newsletter gives you direct access to your audience’s inbox, allowing you to share engaging content, promote sales and drive traffic to your website. Email campaigns are also easy to measure, which means you can track your progress and make meaningful adjustments that lead to more wins.
Newsletters are a cornerstone of any email marketing strategy. Enterprises and small businesses alike can gain extremely valuable benefits from developing a monthly newsletter. To maximize your results, you need to ensure that your newsletter is tailored to reach targeted recipients.
Every great newsletter starts with design. Without a sleek, responsive design strategy, it won’t matter how great and compelling the content is. Your newsletter should be easy to navigate and have clear calls to action that drive readers back to your website where they can engage with your conversion landing pages. Key elements of an eye-catching newsletter include:
The content within your newsletter should be highly relevant to your audience and it should provide immediate value. That means the content needs to help your readers in some way, whether that’s by keeping them informed on the latest industry trends and news or by providing tips and insights on a specific topic.
Every reader you add to your subscriber list is a new opportunity to convert a lead into a paying customer. After building the newsletter itself, developing a strategy to gain subscribers is the next most important aspect of your strategy to consider. Here are some tactics you can use to start growing your newsletter subscriber list today:
Did you know that on average, 27.6% of emails sent to business addresses never actually reach the inbox? Between internet service provider (ISP) spam protocols and individual account settings, commercial-intent emails face a kind of digital obstacle course to reach your audience. That means there’s a 1 in 4 chance that your emails aren’t being received by your audience.
To increase the deliverability of your messages, you need to follow some simple yet important steps:
How frequently should you send your newsletter? You don’t want to annoy your subscribers, but also want to keep them engaged. So what’s the best send frequency? A monthly newsletter is the most common cadence, as it’s not too frequent to bother your audience and it provides you with enough time to develop fresh content. However, some brands do see success with weekly or even daily email blasts.
Ultimately, it’s up to the nature of your business model and the preferences of your audience. If you’re not sure what the right cadence is for your brand, consider offering options. When readers sign up for your list, give them the choice to opt-in to daily, weekly or monthly emails. This also allows you to segment your audience based on interest level, giving you another way to fine-tune your messaging.
The first step to creating an email newsletter is to determine your goals. Is your newsletter meant to convert customers or just keep your brand at top of mind? Then select a few metrics for how you’ll measure your success (more on that later).
With your goals determined, you’ll have a clear understanding of the type of content you should include. From there, you can build a template that suits your branding. Use your brand colors, include your logo and make it easy to browse through the newsletter content. It’s best to work with a graphic designer and web developer at this stage so you know your newsletter will display properly when viewed on different devices.
When building your newsletter, there are many tools to help you create a template and deliver the final product to your subscribers. Examples of popular tools include:
Check out our guide on creating an email newsletter that converts.
What’s in a newsletter name? For starters, your newsletter title should give readers an immediate understanding of what it’s all about. Take Brafton’s newsletter for example, it’s called The Content Marketer. No mysteries there. You know exactly what you’re getting, and it can’t be confused with anything else.
While a clever name can be fun, it’s more important to be descriptive. You have a limited amount of time to convince your site visitors to sign up for your newsletter. A clever name might take too long to understand, and you could miss out on subscribers.
If your newsletter has a regular cadence, you might consider including that in the name. For instance, a “daily scoop” or “weekly pulse” makes it clear just how often readers can expect the newsletter to hit their inboxes. Make a list of your favorites and then ask your colleagues, friends and customers which title they like best. Getting feedback will help make your decision easier.
Naming your newsletter can be a challenge, so don’t worry if you’re feeling stuck. We have a resource of great newsletter names that will help inspire you to come up with an appealing newsletter name for your audience.
If you’ve ever written content for the web, then you should have no problem writing articles for your newsletter. All the same rules apply. Your newsletter should have catchy headlines, engaging subheadings and easy-to-read paragraphs. Since most emails are read on mobile, you should use short paragraphs, bullet points and simple sentences.
Keep the actual text of your newsletters short. Remember, the idea is to drive traffic back to your website. Offer a preview in the newsletter body, then use a CTA to encourage your audience to continue reading on your website. The faster you can get readers out of their inbox, the less you’ll have to compete with all of the other emails competing for their attention.
Need more information? Our popular post on how to write a newsletter will take you from blank page to fully fleshed out asset.
Marketing newsletters usually sit somewhere in the middle of the sales funnel. Subscribers have already shown interest in your brand, and they may or may not have already made a purchase. As a mid-funnel tool, newsletters drive traffic back to your No. 1 marketing tool: your website.
If your goal is to convert more site visitors into paying customers, then your newsletter should help readers get to your conversion landing pages. For example, if you designed your newsletter as a roundup of all your best blogs, the click flow would look something like this:
Keep the sales funnel in mind whenever you create newsletter content. Ask yourself how the newsletter aids the buyer’s journey. If your content is driving readers to your site, you’ve won half the battle. From there, your web content can take over and keep things moving.
Measuring your newsletter campaigns will help you make adjustments that maximize your ROI. Here’s what you should be tracking:
Learn more about how to calculate the cost of email marketing in our comprehensive guide.
A newsletter can initially seem like a big obligation, and you might worry about running out of content to deliver every month. However, once the idea train gets rolling, it gets easier to keep up the momentum. Here are some things to consider:
Need more inspiration? We’ve scoured the internet for some of the most clever newsletter ideas that are sure to impress your audience.
Learning from the best will help you succeed with your own newsletter. The best company newsletters inspire their readers and lead to more conversion opportunities. However, there’s not one single approach that works for everyone. Looking through various newsletter examples will give you ideas for how best to engage your audience.
Here’s a quick list of some of our favorites from around the web: