The Blueprint for Crafting Successful Newsletters

January 22, 2023

There's no denying the power of email marketing. A study conducted by Litmus on the ROI of email marketing found that with every dollar spent, $36 dollars of ROI was generated in the software and tech niches.

With no shortage of business ideas, it can be difficult to select the right newsletter platform given the myriad of options. On top of that, you have to make decisions on design, gathering content, and finally list building.

With the help of these expert tips, you can create a newsletter that will not only be beneficial to your business but enjoyable to read (and fun to produce).  

Email Newsletter Design

We'll start right with the design of the newsletter. You may already have a brand guideline that you can follow, but if you're starting from scratch we recommend checking Mailerlite's email newsletter gallery for inspiration.

Parts of a Newsletter

To make an impactful newsletter, just follow these quick guidelines below. Just include the ones that make sense for your brand and style.

  • Summary - adding a summary near the top helps the reader decide if they want to spend the next few minutes digesting your information. Help your readers save time, we're all short on it.
  • Catchy Subject Line - Similar to a regular email, a newsletter needs a catchy subject line to entice the reader to click to see the rest of the content.
  • Prominent Logo - Ensure you include your logo for brand awareness. Even if most of your email will be without graphics and memes, it's important that readers see some consistent branding along the way
  • Feature Image - add one image per section for each story. This helps break up the reading into digestible chunks.
  • Headline - Use large headers for headlines so readers can quickly scan the newsletter.
  • Images and Memes - Depending on the tone of your brand you'll want to add supporting images or memes to make the experience more enjoyable.
  • Call to Action - If there is more to the story you can consider adding a call to action for the full article breakdown.
  • Option to Share - Make it easier for your readers to share the content. Make sure it doesn't take up too much room in the newsletter, this shouldn't be the main point of the newsletter.
  • Option to Rate - Similarly, if you want to keep a pulse on how well the newsletter is resonating with the audience, consider adding a rating system.

Selecting Your Newsletter Platform

Depending on the type of curator you are, we have a recommendation for an email newsletter platform suited to your needs.

All-in-One Solution - Beehiv

credit: beehiiv

Beehiv is a newsletter platform built for growth. They provide a variety of features to help their subscribers quickly reach their audience.

Some notable features include

  • Advanced analytics
  • Ability to monetize from day one with no fees
  • Flexible Editor
  • Built-in referral program to help grow the audience
  • An ad network with premium sponsors

If you're looking for an all-in-one solution and you currently run an extensive tech stack, Beehiv may be the right choice for you.

 

Fastest Curation - Goodbits.io

Goodbits has always been about speed without all the bells and whistles.

The platform was created so that non-coders and non-designers could quickly gather articles while searching the web to curate for their audience.

Simply use a third-party tool like Pocket to gather your links, then come back to your editor and drag and drop your backlog of links into the newsletter issue of your choice and you're done.

With integrations with leading email service providers like Mailchimp and Active Campaign, Goodbits will have your newsletter ready in minutes.

 

Custom Builders - Ghost.org

This is the Ferrari of media platforms. If you're looking to build a business on top of your newsletter, this may be your ideal choice.

Ghost features include

  • ability to create multiple newsletters to subscribe to
  • integrations with thousands of apps
  • custom premium tiers for your customers
  • state-of-the-art builder

Newsletter Content

credit: unsplash @igormiske

With your design and platforms selected, it's time to focus on curating and formatting the content for your newsletter.

Since you'll be spending the majority of the time doing this going forward, it's important to put together a process that is repeatable and potentially transferrable if you are going to outsource the work in the future.

Writing Tips

Here are some writing tips for any newsletter niche.

  • Use headings or headlines - headings help break up each section clearly for easy scanning.
  • Be short and concise - the purpose of the headline in the newsletter is to get the click to the full article so there’s no room to be wordy here. Make it short.
  • Include images - add images if you have a long newsletter so that it breaks up the copy and makes the issue more digestible. Also, add images when it can give a better experience to the reader and supports the headline.
  • Value First - remember back to why you started the newsletter. What problem were you trying to solve for your reader? Make sure to keep their problems as the goal of your content to solve.

Content writing is a lifelong skill and the tips mentioned above just scratch the surface. Keep improving your writing with each newsletter issue.

Quickly Collect Content Around the Web

There are several ways to collect content as you are going about your day, but we still favor Pocket when it comes to saving links around the web.

This tool allows you to save your URLs and add tags to organize them later. Pocket is available on most platforms and on mobile so it can follow you wherever you go.

 

List Building Strategies

Your email is ready, and you've got some fantastic content to share with your audience, but what if you have no audience?

List building goes hand in hand with content curation in terms of where you should be spending your effort.

Here are some list-building tips to get you started:

Collaborations

When done right, this strategy can lead to long-term partnerships. To get started, make a list of partners you'd like to work with. These are brands that really align with your goal for the newsletter.

Next, take a look at their offering and write a section in your newsletter about their product or service. Make sure you track the link clicks from within your newsletter.

Repeat this regularly throughout your subsequent newsletter.

Let them know you've mentioned them in the newsletter and send them a screenshot. You can contact them with their most active platform (Twitter, Email, Facebook).

In many instances, they will share your content, since it’s promoting them anyhow. This will slowly grow your following if you're starting from scratch.

Next, go to another brand and let them know that the first few brands you've been putting in your newsletter have benefitted from your newsletter, and include those screenshots of your analytics.

Keep repeating the steps above until you get a paid client sponsorship or some other collaboration deal.

Most brands want to collaborate, they just need to know it's worth their time, so if you can craft a win-win scenario, it will be easier to find alignment.

Let Your Network Know

credit: unsplash @lunarts

This goes without saying, but if you already have a sizable following, you should let them know you're starting a newsletter so they have a chance to sign up or at least check out what you have going on.

These days this likely includes promoting on social media. Take some time to check out what platform your audience is actually using before you pour all the hours to create content for them.

Offer Incentives

If your newsletter is backed by a service or a business you can give your readers incentives for signing up. Perhaps it's a 10% coupon for an eCommerce store or something free for a limited time.

You could also offer a free + shipping offer where the shipping actually covers your expenses as a business owner.

Continue Growing

Once you have some traction and can see regular growth month over month, you can start thinking about automation and growth. 

Email Automation

Most modern email marketing software now comes with automation built right in. These options vary by platform, but most of them are on a trigger system.

For instance, if you have visitors coming in from a specific web page that is built as a sales funnel, you could automate it such that you only send only the audience segment-specific issues of your newsletter.

A/B Testing

If you really want to squeeze every ounce of conversion out of your newsletter you can also start A/B testing various subject lines.

Some platforms like Beehiv will have this feature built right in. This is particularly powerful if you are a master copywriter or know how to use AI copywriting tools really well.

What’s Next?

When it comes to creating newsletters, there’s no magic to it. It’s all about getting set up with the right platform and quickly deciding on a design.

From that point on, content curation and list building should take up the bulk of your daily to day tasks.

Finally once you have traction, continue to slowly grow your audience and leverage your analytics to make incremental improvements.

Before you know it, you’ll have a newsletter with subscribers waiting to read your next issue.

Goodbits

Turn web searching into newsletters, seamlessly. Start curating your newsletters in under 10 minutes.

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