The Complete Lowdown on Newsletters

Updated: 13 August 2021
The Complete Lowdown on Newsletters

When it comes to marketing your business, there are a lot of things you need to think about. To be honest, once you go down the marketing rabbit hole it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the number of things you could be doing to spread awareness of your business. But while there are many little extras you could be including to enhance your marketing, it’s important you focus on the key elements – one of which is an email newsletter. It’s something many businesses do, but if you’re new to creating them, you might be wondering what they are, and why you should bother sending them.

What is a Newsletter?

In its most basic sense, a newsletter is a regular marketing message you send out to your subscribers – people who have asked to be kept up to date with your business. In the beginning, they were paper-based and sent through the post, but in more modern times, most newsletters are sent by email. And we’re willing to bet you’ve received a fair few of them just this week! 

Newsletters are a great marketing tool that allows you to deliver the information you want your customers to have direct to their inboxes. You can send them special offers, valuable information, share engaging content and generally drive traffic to your website. They’re used by businesses of all shapes and sizes in all industries as a way of keeping in touch with customers and prospects, and are a key way of creating one of those 8-10 touchpoints it takes for a prospect to go from cold to sale. 

Why Should you Send a Newsletter?

If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely been told that you should send a newsletter as part of your marketing efforts. And there’s a good reason for that – they work. In the age of information overload, being able to present your content directly to clients in their own inbox is an incredibly effective tool. Don’t believe us? Here are a few statistics:

  • Email is used daily by over 3.9 billion people
  • 35% of marketers send their customers 3-5 emails per week
  • 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement in the last year
  • 31% of B2B marketing professionals say that they’ve found email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads
  • 87% of B2B marketing professionals also say that newsletters are one of their top free organic distribution channels

So you see, sending a monthly email newsletter might be a small investment in time, but the payoff can be big for your business. Particularly if you’re running an e-commerce business. Given that consumers spend on average 2.5 hours a day on their emails, sending the right newsletter at the right time can lead to endless growth because you’re sending your message to customers where they hang out – in their inboxes! 

A few of the other benefits to newsletter marketing include:

  • Keep in regular contact with your customers & prospects
  • Generate regular traffic for your website
  • Improve conversion rates
  • Increase and encourage new people to visit your website
  • Send tailored content to different groups of people
  • Get subscribers used to hearing from you and your brand

How to get Your Newsletter Started

So now that you know the what and why of newsletters, it’s time to look at the how. Getting started with an email newsletter is actually really simple, and if you’re willing to spend an afternoon putting things together, you could get started right away. Generally, starting a newsletter can be split into 3 sections:

The Technical

  • Choose your platform: Before you get started, you need to know where you’re sending your emails from. There are a lot of different email marketing platforms out there to choose from, with lots of different tools and automations to choose from, and catering to a wide range of budgets. A few of our favourites include MailChimp, Constant Contact, Flodesk,  Hubspot, sendinblue or if you are using WordPress as your CMS Mailpoet or Sendy, these are both cheaper options that can be installed directly on your website. So take a look at what’s available and find a platform that suits your budget and your skill level. 
  • Design your template: Now you’ve picked your platform, it’s time to design your template. This gives you a chance to figure out what your newsletter will look like before you write any of the content. Your template should be simple, not too flashy, but include your branding. The goal is to be recognisable and easy to read. All of the clickable elements, like links to social media, should work, and it should be mobile friendly, since 46% of people open their emails on a mobile device.
  • Personalise: Personalised emails perform head and shoulders above non-personalised ones, so where you can, try to tailor your newsletters to each person receiving them. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything massive – but addressing each recipient by name, and maybe including an offer tailored to their past purchases or their interests is a great way to improve your chances.
  • Integrate sign ups: Now you need a way for interested people to subscribe to your newsletter. The best and most common way to do this is to integrate a signup form into your website. For most websites it’s a few lines of code, and you can start building up a subscriber list right away. After all, you need people to send your newsletter to! Most platforms will also allow you to add subscribers manually, but you will need their permission to do that.
  • The legal bits: After the implementation of GDPR, protecting personal data and gaining consent to use data is important. This means you can only send newsletters to people who have manually opted into receiving them. So when you’re integrating your signup form, you can’t automatically tick the ‘opt in’ box. The user needs to deliberately check the box themselves.

The Creative

  • Figure out your purpose: Before you put pen to paper you need to figure out what you want to achieve with a newsletter. So ask yourself, how does this fit into your wider content strategy? Are you trying to generate leads? Build up more email contacts? Drive traffic to your website? Build awareness of your brand or an event? Once you’ve figured out your purpose, your decisions can flow from there.
  • Collect content: It’s time to gather your content! Each newsletter is slightly different, and your content will depend on your purpose and your template. Typically you would find content from a range of places – your blog, company social media accounts, lead generation tools, trending news articles and special offers. Gather together content that fits a theme for each newsletter, so that it all flows consistently, and get writing.

Tying it together

Now you have the technical and the creative bits done, it’s time to tie it all together. Choose your subject line – something punchy that will get people’s attention and motivate them to click, but won’t end up getting caught in a spam folder. You also need to choose what name and email the newsletter will be sent from – you personally, or your business? When you’re happy, do some testing to make sure everything is working properly and your newsletter looks the way it should. Then, it’s time to hit send! 

But that’s not the end. After a few days, your email platform should give you some data on how well your newsletter performed. How many people opened it, how many then clicked? How long did people read for, and what did they focus on? All of this data will help you make small changes to your next email, and improve your results over time. Remember, test and measure is the key to marketing success!
At Lion Spirit Media, we love a good newsletter. When we work with clients on their content marketing strategy, we always recommend a newsletter as a way to disseminating their content further, spreading the message and keeping in touch with prospects so that no one forgets who they are. With our help, your business roar could be heard throughout the jungle, thanks to your unforgettable email marketing campaigns. If you’d like to know more, just get in touch with us today and book your free consultation. We would love to help you let people know you’ve found your ROAR!

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