Newsletters are a great way to communicate with existing and potential customers, but if you’re like many others, you may be afraid that writing emails could become a time-consuming activity. Don’t be!
Not only are newsletters one of the best, low-cost methods for consolidating the relationship with your audience but with the right knowhow, you can whip them up in 30 minutes or less.
So, how do you create an engaging newsletter without spending all day in front of your computer?
One way to simplify the entire process is by using an email newsletter template. You can build it from scratch if you have design skills, or use a custom template. Either way, once you choose one that works, you’ll be able to reuse it down the road, making it that much easier to assemble all the elements quickly when building future iterations.
Plus, when you use a premade template, you don’t have to worry about technical details and design elements that require hours of extra work to set.
Step 1: Decide what you want to communicate
The secret to writing a newsletter fast is to have clear ideas, so it’s best to start by making a list of the things you want to share with clients and followers. It can be anything, as long as it helps your audience and is related to your business.
As a guideline, people like stories and actionable advice. Consider including interesting or helpful information you’ve found online, either links or synthesized versions to save them time, or even blog posts you’ve written that provide useful tips and tricks.
It’s important to remember that your goal is to provide value, not sell more products, so send messages that your recipients will be genuinely interested in. Sure, you can add a discount or announce a sale, but you shouldn’t make the entire newsletter about yourself, your brand, or what you’re trying to sell.
Ideally, this first step shouldn’t take more than five minutes. However, in the beginning, finding the right topics can be challenging, so don’t be hard on yourself if you need more time for this. Once you get used to the process, you can write down ideas as they come and not wait until the last minute to put together the list.
Step 2: Organize the information
Now that you know what you want to communicate, it’s time to decide what goes first in your email. It’s easy when you only have one thing on your list, but how do you organize the information when you want to make more than one announcement?
Many marketers tend to start with what they think is important. Unfortunately, people have different priorities, so you want to put yourself in your recipients’ shoes and only communicate what matters to them.
Start with the element that is most likely to impact your audience. If you have time-sensitive information, for example, you can share it first to create a sense of urgency. Alternatively, you can open your newsletter with a super-valuable blog post or some long-expected updates that can change how your clients work.
Step 3: Write the content of your newsletter
When you write your newsletter, try to keep things short. It will help you save time and add clarity and focus to your message. As a guideline, you shouldn’t write more than 400 words if you want people to get through all the content—around 200 is usually ideal, but it depends on the audience.
You’ll also want to avoid being salesy. On average, people receive over 100 emails every day. You want your recipients to associate your newsletter with content that’s educational or entertaining to increase your chances of having messages opened. So, if you have other more sales-focused emails that you regularly send out, it’s best to create a different format for promotional emails and send them several days apart from your newsletter.
If you’re one of those people to whom writing doesn’t come easy, you should use an outline to reduce the hassle of creating a newsletter from scratch. Luckily, many marketers share their most successful emails online, so there’s plenty of sources to get inspiration from. Take a look at how others open their newsletters, how they introduce blog posts or share information, then try to replicate with your own words and style.
Step 4: Write the subject line
For many marketers, writing the subject line is the most time-consuming step. You, too, could feel tempted to spend your time looking for the perfect combination of words that captures the attention of your recipients.
Here’s the thing with marketing emails: the more you look into every detail aiming to create the “perfect” email, the longer it takes to come up with something that you like.
Instead, think about the topic you’ve identified as being the most important or compelling, then use that as a basis to generate ideas after you’ve already written the content. Not only will this give you immediate direction and create consistency, but will also instill trust in your readers, as they’ll immediately see what got them to open the email in the first place.
Of course, you should still try to make it compelling. Almost half of the internet users open an email based on these few words alone, so you want to highlight what’s in it for them. Whether you give essential information or an invitation to your next event, make sure people see it in the subject line.
In general, it’s more important to keep things short and simple (around 60 characters) than to come up with a killer line that may not even be explicit enough for your audience.
Step 5: Choose images
This step is optional. If you know that your audience is more interested in content than visual elements, you can stick to a text-only newsletter. Emails without images seem less promotional and are more likely to receive feedback than emails with too many photos.
However, if you use a template that includes visual elements, choose relevant images that complement the copy and don’t distract from the message. In email marketing, simplicity pays off. You don’t have to turn your email into a fancy magazine cover or a work of art to generate engagement.
At the same time, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a suggestive image either. So, choose a responsive newsletter template so that visuals look good on all devices, including smartphones.
Step 6: Add your logo and signature
One more step and you can finally hit the Send button.
Your newsletter should include your logo and a friendly signature. So, when you’re done with your copy, don’t forget to close with a positive line and add some contact information where people can get in touch with you or the person who signs the newsletter. Social buttons that help people connect with your brand through social media are also welcome.
Last but not least, make sure your email includes information on how recipients can easily unsubscribe. Not only will this help with compliance, but keeps your list of recipients to those who are most engaged.
That’s it! You’ve just written your first newsletter. But before you finally hit send, try sending the email to a friend or collaborator before pushing it out to your entire audience. A second pair of eyes can help you spot errors or inconsistencies and it also gives you a chance to see how your email newsletter looks on all devices before sending it to your entire email list.
Now, are you ready to add newsletters to your email marketing strategy?