What drives website traffic, promotes products, boosts loyalty and attracts new and unexpected customers?
It could just be your company’s newsletter. With more information than a weekly coupon bulletin or a quick email marketing blast, a business newsletter is a curated and personal message, a bright spot in a customer’s email inbox that showcases what your business offerings can mean to them.
One of the best parts of creating that effective newsletter? It’s easier than you might think. You probably already know the kind of messages you want to share with your customers. And there are tons of advanced but easy-to-use online tools that can help you with the mechanics of designing and sending out a newsletter.
Brainstorm newsletter content ideas
First up: Figure out the direction you want your newsletter to take. Don’t be afraid to get creative—this should look different than more marketing-focused messages.
Newsletters give you the freedom to go in-depth on topics you might not always get to explore. Maybe you’re a bookseller who sends out a monthly newsletter interviewing a local author, a florist that shares pictures of beautiful gardens from around the world or a hair salon that shares your reviews of the newest grooming products. Think about the expertise, insight and experience you have as a business owner that set you apart from the crowd—and how you can share that.
Sometimes, it helps with inspiration to build each newsletter around a structured theme, like “Past, Present and Future.” Each newsletter, you give one fun look back at your company’s history, like a photo of customers from back in the day; one piece of info about the present, like a current deal you’re running; and one teaser for the future, like a new product line you’re excited to soon introduce.
You always want to be growing your newsletter audience and keeping customers engaged. Recurring sections like surveys and polls are good for starting that two-way relationship. Running customer spotlights encourages readers to send in their own info in the hopes of being featured and then forward your newsletter to friends.
Newsletter design best practices
People are busy and inboxes are overflowing, so it’s best to keep your newsletter clean and relatively short. Think colorful and fun rather than cluttered or wordy.
It’s also great to include eye-catching images that help break up the monotony of text. This could be photos or videos from your business or from customers showcasing your products, or a data visualization of interesting facts or stats related to your line of work.
You also want to make sure your newsletter is recognizable and linked to your brand. This means keeping with the same type of font and design style each time. If you have a logo, by all means use it, along with any other images you want people to associate with your business.
Choose the best newsletter platform for you
Here are a few of the best newsletter platforms for businesses, all of which provide templates and intuitive design features that make it easy for even amateurs to create snazzy newsletters:
- Constant Contact – This platform is especially geared toward marketing. It’s great if you want to make sure your newsletter can include features like polls or buttons that link to coupons.
- ConvertKit – Designed especially for creators, this platform is great for businesses that want a platform that can showcase content such as beautiful art, step-by-step recipes or travel photos.
- MailerLite – Beginners report this is one of the easiest platforms to get started on. Plus, if you have an e-commerce store, MailerLite’s analytics can help you track what your subscribers have bought from you, helping you grow a more targeted and niche email base.
- Benchmark – Billing itself as unfussy and super easy to customize, Benchmark is great for busy business owners who want their email newsletter to look great and to get analytics that help them better engage with customers.
- Moosend – This platform offers tons of personalization, especially if you’re looking to integrate your newsletter with an e-commerce store. It allows for easy linking back to your store, so you can drive sales just by sending an email.
Always work to grow your newsletter subscriptions
Growing your subscriber base requires constant effort—and the payoff will be worth it.
You can help boost your signups both within your newsletter and outside of it. Inside, grow readership by encouraging current recipients to forward it to their friends. One of the features you can look for in a platform is a button that makes signing up easy with just a single click from within the newsletter, as needing to take an extra step to sign up on a separate page can deter some readers.
Make sure you’re sharing your newsletter on other platforms, like your social media pages, or giving customers a chance to sign up when they complete a purchase from you. To jump-start readership, you might even offer a one-time discount to people who sign up.
Improve your content by tracking newsletter analytics
Once you have your newsletter up and running, make sure to take advantage of the analytics tools your platform offers. These go way beyond just telling you the percentage of people who opened it. You’re able to see stats like how long people looked at your newsletter, how many clicked certain links or buttons, if they forwarded it to friends or if it drove traffic to your site.
Another great analytics feature to look for is A/B testing with newsletter subject lines. That way, you can see which subjects get the most clicks and adjust accordingly going forward.
Stay focused, even if your newsletter underperforms. Use feedback to make it better. Whether it’s coming up with a catchier subject line, including more links to your site or allowing more of your personality to shine through, there are always ways to make your next email newsletter the one your customers are excited to open.
Product features may have changed and are subject to change. Platforms may require a fee.