In our latest blog post, we explored the importance of email newsletters and the value that they can bring to your organization. In short, they serve as a way to ensure consistent and timely communication between businesses and their diverse audience. While many factors influence the outcome of your email newsletters, there are a few tried and true strategies and steps for creating newsletters that we suggest following to ensure their success.Whether you're a seasoned marketer or a small business owner venturing into the email marketing realm, this step-by-step guide, enriched with tips and insights, will illuminate the path from conceptualizing your newsletter to hitting that send button and beyond.
What is the Purpose of a Newsletter?
The purpose of email newsletters is often condensed to brand awareness, promotion, education, and retention, but what's underneath that:
- Brand Loyalty: By providing useful content, tips, or insights, you can add unimaginable value to your audience that, in turn, will make you the go-to brand for your audience in your specific niche.
- Stronger Relationship: Sending consistent, cohesive, and timely communications keeps your audience engaged and helps nurture a relationship between your brand and its followers.
- Traffic: If your content resonates with your audience, they'll want to learn more. This helps drive traffic to your social, website, and any other resources linked in your email newsletter.
A step-by-step guide to creating an email newsletter
Navigating through the nuanced newsletter creation process, we'll explore a 10-step journey that marries strategic thinking with creative execution. Each step, from defining your newsletter’s purpose to meticulously tracking its performance, serves as a crucial milestone, ensuring your message not only lands but also captivates and engages your audience.
Step 1. Define Your Newsletter Goal
Embarking on the newsletter creation journey without a clearly defined goal can make defining your email's content, design, and overall strategy a challenge. Whereas a clearly defined goal helps harmoniously align each element towards a singular purpose.Let’s delve into a few examples of newsletter goals to spark your inspiration:
- Engage and Inform: Keep your audience abreast of the latest industry news, trends, and insights.
- Drive Sales: Promote new products, offers, or discounts to boost sales.
- Increase Participation: Encourage participation in events, webinars, or surveys.
- Build Community: Foster a sense of community among subscribers by sharing user-generated content or stories.
In addition, your goal should also take into consideration the following:
- Who is your audience? Identifying your audience's demographics, preferences, and behaviors will help tailor the goal to an action you know your readers will take. For example, you wouldn't promote events in New York if most of your audience is based in Australia.
- What's the primary value of this email? Every newsletter delivers something of value - be it knowledge, discounts, or entertainment.
- What are our business goals? Internally, what is your organization trying to achieve, and what is your current focus?
Step 2. Build a Newsletter Subscriber List
Building a robust, engaged subscriber list is paramount to ensuring your newsletter’s voyage is fruitful and impactful. A subscriber list isn’t merely a collection of email addresses; it’s a community of individuals, each with their unique interests, preferences, and needs, all uniting under the banner of your brand.Here are a few tips to guide you in building your subscriber list:
- Craft Compelling Sign-Up Forms: Ensure your newsletter sign-up forms are visible, accessible, and enticing across your digital platforms.
- Leverage Multiple Channels: Utilize your website, social media, and other digital channels to promote your newsletter sign-up.
- Offer Incentives: Entice potential subscribers with exclusive content, discounts, or insights available only to newsletter crew members.
- Ensure Ease of Subscription: Make the subscription process as seamless and straightforward as possible to encourage sign-ups.
Step 3. Segment Contacts and Create Lists
As your subscriber count grows, understanding and organizing them becomes pivotal to ensuring that your newsletters resonate and engage with your unique audiences. Segmenting your contacts allows you to tailor content to their specific interests, allowing for highly personalized experiences. This action helps build a deeper connection between your brand and its audience. Here are some tips for audience segmentation:
- Understand Subscriber Preferences: On your sign-up form, ask questions beyond the simple "name and email address" to understand their interests. For example, something as simple as a job title can provide much insight.
- Monitor and Adapt: Continually assess the effectiveness of your segments, and their actions will help you make necessary changes to optimize your email newsletter's design, content, and overall strategy.
Step 4. Select an Email Newsletter Tool
Finding the right tool for you and your team can be a formidable quest. Yet, it’s a pivotal step in ensuring your newsletter engages and delights your audience.When embarking on the selection of an email newsletter tool, consider the following key features:
- User-Friendliness: Find a tool that allows anyone on your team to seamlessly craft, edit, and visualize your newsletter without too big of a learning curve. Complex tools can often result in a loss of productivity.
- Deliverability: Your email newsletter tool should ensure your emails are rendered beautifully regardless of email client or device to ensure your newsletters reach the inbox, not the dreaded spam folder.
- Template Variety: Mostly, every email tool offers templates to help you kick-start your email newsletters. Before committing, ensure those templates align with your brand, audience, and needs. Extra points if the platform allows you to create, save, and reuse your own
PRO Tip: Find a tool that allows collaboration to happen within the platform to minimize juggling between multiple tools and further increase your team's productivity.Now, an email newsletter tool is not to be confused with an email-sending platform or an email marketing platform. While these may overlap, an email newsletter tool is often an additional tool added to help optimize your email design process. Because of this, it is important that the email newsletter tool you choose should seamlessly integrate with your existing sending platforms like HubSpot, Mailchimp, or Gmail.A great example of this is Beefree.
Beefree: Email creation without limits.
Beefree is an intuitive email builder whose agnostic nature allows easy export to your sending platforms of choice. Its collaborative features allow for decentralized teams to work together on email newsletters and campaigns effortlessly. With a catalog of 1,600+ email templates, we pride ourselves in having something for everyone, and our drag-and-drop editor makes the learning curve a breeze.
Step 5. Start From Scratch or Use a Template
You have two choices when it comes to creating a newsletter: to personalize an existing template or to craft your own from the blank canvas of possibility. Both paths, while divergent, lead to the creation of a newsletter that is uniquely yours. Let’s explore these two options, ensuring your newsletter is not only a reflection of your brand but also a beacon that resonates with your subscribers.
Option 1: Personalize an Existing Newsletter Template
This path allows you to embark on your newsletter journey with a sturdy vessel crafted by experts and ready to be infused with your unique brand essence. This option comeswith its own range of benefits:
- Efficiency: Save time and resources by starting with a pre-designed structure.
- Consistency: Ensure your newsletters maintain a consistent, professional appearance.
- Inspiration: Draw inspiration from expertly crafted designs.
- Flexibility: Adapt and modify the template to align with your brand and message.
As mentioned, Beefree’s newsletter template library offers thousands of free options, ready to be molded, adapted, and transformed into a newsletter that speaks your brand’s language and connects with your audience.
Option 2: Start with a Blank Newsletter Template
The "start from scratch" approach allows you to build your newsletter from the ground up, ensuring every element, from layout to content, is meticulously curated and distinctly yours. This path unveils its own unique advantages:
- Unbridled Creativity: Experience the freedom to explore your creativity without being bound by pre-designed constraints.
- Unique Design: Develop a newsletter that is distinctly yours, ensuring it stands out in the crowded inbox.
- Full Control: Maintain comprehensive control over every component, ensuring each aspect aligns perfectly with your brand.
- Tailored Experience: Design a user experience that is meticulously tailored to your audience’s preferences and journey.
Step 6. Must have elements to have in your email newsletters
Let's get to work designing your newsletter with Beefree, where designing your newsletter becomes a seamless blend of creativity and functionality. While the ensuing steps are crafted with Beefree’s email editor in mind, these are all elements that any email newsletter must have to ensure your newsletter design is visually compelling and effectively communicates your message, regardless of the tool you choose. Let’s dive into the meticulous art of newsletter design.
Carefully Crafted Layout
Whether you're starting from scratch or using a template, the content sections needed will be determined by the purpose and goal of your newsletter. Ask yourself: "What is the information that my readers need to know to be enticed to complete the desired action?"The layout of your emails should be placed in a manner that is easily digestible and helps guide and engage the reader through the newsletter. This can be done by maintaining a balance between text and visual elements.Tips for adding content:
- Maintain Consistency: Ensure your content aligns with your overall message and brand voice.
- Be Concise: Craft your message to be clear and to the point, respecting your reader’s time and attention.
With Beefree, drag and drop your content blocks, such as text, images, and buttons, into your email. If you're starting with a template, our first suggestion is to first assess the email and see if any sections don't align with you. Like we did for our template below:
Regardless, a well-crafted layout is has a balance of text and visual elements, ensuring your content is both engaging and easily digestible.
Long gone are the days of text-only emails. Images, videos, and GIFs are visual anchors in your newsletter, capturing attention and enhancing your narrative. They also help provide balance in your emails to help guide and break up text-heavy sections.Tips for including images:
- Quality Matters: Ensure your images are optimized for emails viewed on desktop and mobile.
- Alignment: Your images should be visual representations of your brand and the message that you are trying to convey in the email. Otherwise, they might distract the reader from your message rather than engage.
If you're starting with a template on Beefree, you can easily change the images by clicking on the image and clicking "change image" on the sidebar. If you're starting from scratch, you can navigate to the “Content” tab and simply drag the “Image” content block into your template. You can upload your own images and store them using our File Manager to retrieve them for future use.Beefree also offers a stock image and GIF library to incorporate visual elements into your newsletters easily.
Infusing your newsletter with your brand elements ensures that your emails are recognized immediately by your readers. Brand elements include your logo, brand colors, pre-defined fonts, icons, etc.Tips for adding brand elements:
- Consistency is Key: Ensure all elements, from colors to fonts, are consistent with your brand guidelines.
- Visibility: Ensure your logo is placed prominently, ensuring immediate brand recognition.
Within Beefree, you can easily set your style guidelines to ensure everyone on your team can design on-brand messaging. You can also save content blocks that are frequently used to save time when building your emails.All of these are better known as "email design systems," which are built to help you save time, resources, and cohesiveness in all of your communication efforts.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCmxbuk4PRA&t=56s
Prominent CTA Buttons
CTA buttons should be influenced by the goal you want the reader to take. They should be placed throughout the newsletter to ensure the reader can take action at any time.Tips for creating CTA buttons:
- Stand Out: Ensure your CTA is visually prominent. This means not hiding them in between elements, adding ample spacing around the CTA, and ensuring the color of the button doesn't blend in with its background. Although it should stand out, it should still remain harmoniously integrated into your overall design.
- Concise Text: Use clear and concise copy that clearly communicates the action you want the reader to take. Do not leave any room for interpretation.
Step 7. Make Sure Your Newsletter is Legally Compliant
Navigating through the realm of email marketing also involves ensuring that your newsletter adheres to the various legal standards and regulations that govern digital communication. Ensuring legal compliance is not merely a step but a fundamental pillar that upholds the integrity and legality of your email marketing endeavors. From adhering to data protection regulations to ensuring transparent communication, legal compliance safeguards your brand, reputation, and the trust that your subscribers place in you.Here are some general suggestions to ensure your emails are compliant:
- Adhere to Regulations: Ensure your newsletter complies with regulations such as GDPR or CAN-SPAM, safeguarding both subscriber data and communication.
- Transparent Opt-In: Ensure that your subscription process is clear, transparent, and provides adequate information regarding the nature of your newsletters.
- Easy Opt-Out: Provide a clear and straightforward process for subscribers to opt out of your newsletters anytime.
- Protect Data: Ensure that subscriber data is stored, processed, and protected in adherence to relevant data protection regulations.
In addition, email footer requirements are upheld by email-sending platforms. In Beefree, under "Rows," you will see various footer options that adhere to HubSpot and Mailchimp guidelines ready for use. If you use a different ESP, be sure to build your footer with their unique requirements in mind.
Step 8. Preview and Test Emails
In the final stages of our newsletter creation journey, previewing and testing stand as crucial waypoints, ensuring that your crafted message is not only visually appealing but also functionally flawless across various email landscapes. This step involves scrutinizing your newsletter through the lenses of different devices and email clients, ensuring that each subscriber, regardless of their digital window, experiences your message in its full splendor.
Beefree "preview mode"Here are a few tips to ensure your previews and tests lead to a standing ovation in every inbox:
- Multi-Device Testing: Ensure your newsletter shines across all devices, from desktops to smartphones.
- Different Email Clients: Verify that your design and functionality remain intact across various email clients, such as Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo.
- Link Functionality: Ensure all your links, from CTAs to social icons, are functioning and leading to the correct destinations.
- Spelling and Grammar: A final check on the language, ensuring that your message is not only clear but also error-free.
Step 9. Track Performance and Create Iterations
This final step involves diving into the analytics, exploring how our subscribers interacted with our newsletter, and uncovering triumphs and areas ripe for enhancement.This step is crucial for ensuring that each newsletter is a stepping stone towards deeper engagement and connection with our audience.Here are some navigational tips when it comes to tracking performance:
- Analyze Engagement: Dive into metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and engagement with specific content.
- Subscriber Feedback: Pay attention to any direct feedback or responses from your subscribers.
- Iterate and Enhance: Use the insights gained to refine and enhance subsequent newsletters, ensuring continual improvement.
- A/B Testing: Consider employing A/B testing in future sends, exploring what content, design, and strategies resonate most.
Start Creating Your Own Newsletters Today
The path to creating your own successful newsletter lies ahead! We hope that with the knowledge, insights, and tools shared, you feel equipped and ready to start forging connections, telling stories, and engaging your audiences in a way that is unique to you!If you need somewhere to get started and inspired, browse through our extensive catalog of free templates. We guarantee you'll find something that fits your needs ;)Happy designing!