Man smiling while working on laptop.
Email marketing is an effective way to promote your business, and starting a newsletter builds on those relationships with your clients. — Getty Images/Poike

Email marketing is a tried-and-true marketing tactic for many businesses, and it’s one that will likely never go out of style. Despite new tech advancements and social media platforms, email has remained one of the most personalized and effective forms of communication between businesses and their customers/clients.

Newsletters in particular are a great way to stay in contact with your clients, prospects, employees or engaged users. If you’re considering email marketing for your business, here are some steps to start a newsletter.

How to write a newsletter in 4 simple steps

A newsletter is an email sent to multiple recipients (e.g. customers, clients, prospects, etc.) rather than just an individual, used as a marketing and communications tool to promote a company’s products and/or services. Here are four main steps to take if you want to start sending newsletters to your audience.

[Read: 8 Inexpensive Email Marketing Tools for Small Businesse]

1. Plan out your newsletter

Before you start shooting out emails to random contacts on your list, you’ll want to sit down and plan out your newsletter. There are four main elements you’ll want to focus on during your planning process:

  • Pick an email service: Services like MailChimp and Benchmark help organize and streamline your processes. Be sure to consider different features like free templates, the ability to segment your contact list and schedule out emails, etc., as well as their complexity and cost. For instance, if you’re new to email marketing, you might opt for a simple service that’s less expensive; but if you’re an experienced email marketer, you might want a service that offers more features at a higher price.
  • Answer, “Why are we sending this newsletter?”: The “why” behind your newsletter is an essential piece of information you’ll want to clearly define before writing the email. For example, maybe you’re starting a newsletter to keep your audience up to date on events or announcements regarding your business or community; or perhaps you’re looking to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, building your company’s credibility. Whatever the reason, make sure your “why” is the reason behind every email newsletter you craft.
  • Choose email frequency: How often do you want to send out email newsletters? The frequency you choose depends entirely on what you’re comfortable with, and it can change as you grow your business or adjust to writing newsletters. At first, many businesses start with one newsletter a week or every few weeks even. If that doesn’t feel often enough, bump it up to twice a week or daily. However, what you don’t want to do is overwhelm yourself with sending so many newsletters that you sacrifice the quality of your content. It’s better to send fewer newsletters that offer valuable and engaging content rather than more newsletters that lack substance.
  • Define the type of content: What type of emails do you want to send your audience? There are four types of email newsletters you can choose from: letters from the editor (feature-style); curated content (with internal links to additional content or external links to other sites); blog-style content; and hustle pieces (focused on different topics within your niche). Whether you choose to write one or all types of email newsletters, or find a different style that better suits your needs, your main focus should be adding value to your audience in some way.

[Read: New to Email Marketing? 5 Easy Ways to Get Started]

While many believe the most important part of email marketing is the written content, design is a major feature to consider.

2. Build your recipient list

After your careful planning, it’s time to build your email list. This should be achieved by offering an option for people to opt in as subscribers to your newsletter, rather than simply sending it to all your contacts. Coming off as intrusive will only cause people to unsubscribe. Rather, you should turn to platforms like social media or your company’s blog and provide a CTA for followers/readers to subscribe to your newsletter, and offer the option on your website for visitors as well.

3. Create your email

Once you’ve planned your email newsletter and built your recipient list, you can finally create your email, focusing on the following aspects:

  • Design: While many believe the most important part of email marketing is the written content, design is a major feature to consider. The aesthetics of your email newsletters play a large role in attracting customers. A clean, organized and attractive template bodes well over a cluttered, unprofessional email. Additionally, be sure to include your company’s branding (like logo, colors, etc.) into the design to increase brand awareness.
  • Subject line: Your email’s subject line is the first piece of information your readers will see in their inbox. In fact, over a third of recipients decide whether they’ll open an email based on the subject, so it’s important to choose a relevant yet attention-grabbing line. A great way to do this is by personalizing it, as adding the recipient’s name to the subject line increases open rates by 26%.
  • Content: Don’t add too much information in one email; that’s why you send out multiple newsletters. Instead, keep it concise and focused on a single topic. Shorter newsletters with a specific goal are more effective that longer ones with various messages.

4. Analyze metrics

Analyzing metrics will help you provide a consistent experience to your readers. For instance, you can check your open rates to decide on the best time of day or day of the week to send out your newsletters. You can also determine the effectiveness of your newsletter by looking at click-through rates and website traffic, as well as new subscribers or those who choose to opt-out of your emails. As you draw patterns and understand what works and what doesn’t, you can use this information to better deliver going forward.

[Read: A Quick Guide to Social Media Branding]

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