Tips for Writing Your First Email Newsletter
9 Things You Need To Do Before Hitting Send
When you’re planning your online marketing strategy, one element to consider is an email newsletter. But if you’ve never written one, it can be difficult to know where to begin. That’s why we wanted to gather up some email newsletter writing tips to help you make your first email campaign a success.
Why Should I Have an Email Newsletter?
With all the different forms of online and social media marketing, email newsletters might not seem like the most effective form. Well, according to HubSpot, that’s far from true! Take a look at some of these statistics:
- 73% of millennials prefer email communication from businesses over other forms of communication
- Over 50% percent of U.S. survey respondents check their personal email more than 10 times a day
- 59% of the survey’s respondents said that marketing emails impacted their purchases
- 99% of consumers check their email at least once a day
These are pretty impressive statistics for email marketing in 2019! As you can see, an email newsletter from your business can have a big influence on your customers’ purchases and decisions. So now that you know what a newsletter can do for you, let’s get to the important part: writing it!
Email Newsletter Tips: Checklist for Success
There are a lot of small elements that go into building an email newsletter, but each of them is important for the success of your campaign. Let’s start off with one you may not have even considered: who the email is coming from.
1. Optimize Your Send-From Email Address
The sender of the email is a small but essential part of your email newsletter. And when it comes from someone with no name and a simple email like “info@” or “no-reply@”, it can look pretty spammy. It also gives your subscriber list the feeling that your newsletter isn’t personal or catered to their interests.
So, when writing your email newsletter, make sure it comes from a friendly and familiar place. Whether that means sending it out from your personal email, or signing up for an email newsletter service that can put your name or your business’s name in the sender line, taking the time to make that change could help you in the long run.
2. Write an Eye-Catching Subject Line
The subject line is another part of your newsletter that can grab someone’s attention or send your email straight into the trash. Here are some examples of eye-catching subject lines:
These subject lines all have one thing in common: emojis. Emojis are a great way to bring something visual to your subject line, and they can really cut through the noise of all the other emails in a person’s inbox. That’s not to say that you should always use them, but when it’s appropriate, drop an emoji into your subject line!
These examples also show how your business can use a simple subject line to attract more readers. Petco and GLAMGLOW both offer the reader some kind of discount or saving, and that’s clear as soon as you see the email. Tobi shows the reader that they have something exciting to be a part of: new arrivals. Plus, all three subject lines are short, clear and concise. You don’t want to turn your subscribers off of your email newsletter because of long or unclear subject lines.
Pro Tip: Don’t Skip the PREVIEW TEXT
The preview text is part of the email newsletter that sort of goes hand in hand with your subject line. This shows a sneak peek at the content of the newsletter, so you want to make sure that it’s just as clear and exciting as your subject line. In the examples above, Petco details the savings they talked about in their subject line, and Tobi gives you a little more information on the new arrivals from their subject line.
3. Develop A Consistent Layout
The layout of your email is the biggest and potentially most time-consuming element to create. It includes your text, visuals, colors, and your content. The layout also needs to stay true to who you are, either as an individual or as a company, A.K.A, branding. Let’s go through each of those factors in the layout of your email newsletter.
4. Make Sure Your Email Fits Your Branding
Your business or blog’s brand is what shows who you are, sometimes without even having to use words. For example, when you think of certain colors or characters, are there certain brands that pop into your head? Maybe the color red reminds you of Coca-Cola, or a bee makes you think of Cheerios.
That’s the power of branding, and it’s something you should keep consistent across all of your marketing platforms, from your website to your social media to your email newsletter. Take a look at one of our client’s email newsletters:
This color purple is a large part of the branding for A Woman’s Healing Center. It’s used in their logos, print materials, web materials, and promotions for parties and discounts. So it only makes sense that it’s used in their email newsletter!
The best way to make sure that your email newsletter is on-brand with your colors and fonts is to follow the guidelines from your brand book. If you don’t have a brand book (or aren’t sure what that is), click here to read our blog post on brand books. That way, you know that you’re using the exact same colors and styling on each of your marketing materials.
5. Break Blocks of Text Up With Images
Images are a great way to break up the text of your newsletter, display a new product release, preview the content of articles, or just bring in some personalization. Images are also a key way to make your emails skimmable and gain more clicks or interactions in the current reality of short attention spans.
Here are two examples of how you can use images in your newsletter:
In both examples, you can see how the images help prevent your newsletter from becoming a plain block of text.
In the email newsletter on the left, from Tommy’s Superfoods, the images offer a visual look into the articles that they’re sharing in the newsletter. The email newsletter on the right, from Summersalt, not only uses images to give a visual for their products but also add a bit of personalization. The photos in the newsletter are from real Summersalt customers, and not models or stock photos, as you can see by the Instagram usernames included on each image.
6. Write Text That Provides Value – Think Beyond The Sales Jargon
The text of your email newsletter is where the majority of your content will be. This is where you can present new products, offer discounts, tell stories, and set up a discussion with your subscribers.
What content is right for your email newsletters will depend on your business, your target demographic, and your voice. For instance, if you’re a family blogger, chances are you’re not going to be showing off new products, but you’ll probably have some stories to tell! You email text needs to start off with a strong opening line.The opening line should reflect the voice of you or your company, and be consistent with your brand's voice on other platforms. Click To Tweet
How to Write A Great Opening Line
Your opener is like your first impression. It attracts new readers and ensures that both new and old subscribers read the whole email newsletter. The opening line should reflect the voice of you or your company, and be consistent with your brand’s voice on other platforms.
For example, if your newsletter is coming from an individual, and your voice is typically friendly, you could start your newsletter by addressing your subscribers more personally, maybe even as friends. If your newsletter is coming from a larger company, you could start your newsletter by presenting your subscribers with big news or a big offer. Here’s an example:
Parabo Press starts their email newsletter off with an exciting discount in big, bold letters. Of course, seeing something like “Half off newsprints” is something that grabs your attention and makes you want to read more!
Great openers will draw your reader in and build interest in reading the rest of the newsletter – don’t forget to spend time focusing on crafting your opening line.
Tell a Story in your Body Text
The body text of your email newsletter can be used for a variety of things. This is where you can tell your subscribers a story, talk about your products, and discuss what’s been happening with you or your business.
In the example above from A Woman’s Healing Center, their body text gives details on a new aesthetic offering at their office. The example from Tommy’s Superfoods gives small snippets of the articles that they’re sharing, and the body text from the Summersalt example gives details on different swimsuit styles.
These three newsletters all show the wide array of choices you have for your body text, and the choices really are unlimited, so don’t be afraid to get creative and find what works for you.
In Closing… Don’t forget to add an ask
Your closing section is where you can ask your subscribers questions, feature special offers or discounts, or give them a preview of future newsletters and product releases. This is also where you should put a call to action if you have one.
While there are likely to be calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout your content, it’s great to have a final CTA in your wrap up. Really engaged customers are the ones most likely to make it to the bottom of your newsletter – these are the customers you can most count on to do something if you ask them to. Now that they’ve made it to the bottom of the email newsletter, what would you most like them to do?
7. Include A Call-to-Action
A call to action is a message that is meant to prompt an immediate response or reaction. On a website, this could be as simple as “sign up here.” In your email newsletter, it could be something like “shop now,” “send in your thoughts,” or “read the article.”
Including a call-to-action can help you find new customers, provide you with feedback, and even help you think of new content ideas for future newsletters or blog posts. You have a reason for sending the email newsletter – don’t be afraid to say it!
Pro Tip: Make An Offer They Can’t Refuse
An offer at the end of your email newsletter can help entice your subscribers to try out a product or turn first time buyers into return customers.
For example, a first-time buyer might find a discount on your product rewarding enough to keep coming back to your store for more products. A free trial of a new product can also turn newsletter subscribers into loyal customers, and even provide you with feedback or testimonials that you can use in other places.
Making a great offer in your email newsletter is a great way to ensure that people stay subscribed and keep opening emails as you send them.
8. Don’t Forget The Footer
The footer of your newsletter is where you can link to other platforms and provide your contact information. Here’s what the footer of A Woman’s Healing Center’s email newsletter looks like:
Their newsletter footer has icons for their social media accounts, as well as an email address for questions, and their mailing address.
Your footer is also where you should include the option to unsubscribe or opt-out of your email newsletter. You want to make sure this is clear and transparent so that your subscribers don’t feel like they’re trapped receiving your newsletter – not only is this good customer service, but it’s also required by law in the United States and European Union.
9. Make Sure Your Email Newsletter is Legally Compliant
If you haven’t already, before you hit send, you need to make sure that your email newsletter is legally complaint.
In the United States, there is a law, called the CAN-SPAM Act, that sets rules for commercial email and commercial marketing messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for businesses that violate the law. Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $42,530, so non-compliance can be extremely costly, even bankrupting for small businesses or nonprofits.
Here are some of the things that all people sending “commercial” marketing emails need to do:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
- Make it very clear that your email is an ad.
- All emails must include a valid physical postal address.
- Clearly tell people how to opt-out of future emails.
- Honor opt-out requests within 10 business days.
- Monitor what others (like marketing agencies, employees, and contractors) on doing on your behalf.
Want to learn more about the CAN-SPAM act and your obligations under the law? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a Compliance Guide for Business which includes a detailed run-down of the law and answers to commonly asked questions.
Want Help Crafting Your Email Newsletter?
If you’re ready to start sending out email newsletters but aren’t sure where to start, we can help you hit the ground running! We’ve got the skills to make email marketing campaigns that will keep you and your subscribers happy. Whether it’s developing an email marketing strategy, calendaring out a schedule that works for your business, designing an on-brand template, or writing content for your website so you have something to share, we’re excited to help you see great results.
Ready to get started? Get in touch with us! We’ll get back to you ASAP