Standing out from the other emails in your subscribers’ inbox is a challenge faced by many business owners. Email marketing can be highly effective, providing a strong source of business leads when you tackle it consistently.
The trick to an effective newsletter is crafting something that your email list truly wants to read, not just a general summary of your business. To avoid your hard work being dismissed to the bin, read our step-by-step guide on how to write a newsletter for your business.
Step 1) Decide what you want to achieve
Focus your message: begin by deciding your business goal for the newsletter. There are lots of potential reasons for your email strategy, such as;
- Increase sales/attract clients
- Direct enquiries
- Build your number of subscribers
- Drive traffic to your website
- Promote a specific piece of work or content
- Showcase a new product or service
One email cannot do everything for you. So pick one aim for the newsletter, and write with this in mind.
Come back to this goal when you’ve finished the email, it will help you craft an effective closing line. You should ask your customers to do something specific that will contribute to your goal, and the reader will understand what is expected of them too.
For example; if you want to push email subscribers to your website and your services, you might use ‘Find out how we can help you’ as a button.
If you are looking for direct enquiries a phrase like ‘Get in touch for a free quote today’ might be more appropriate, and it can link them directly to a new email or a contact page.
Keeping these goals in mind will ensure your messaging is more successful.
Step 2) Pull together your content
Nowadays, consumers are time-savvy. If the content is not worth their time they will not pause to read, and even unsubscribe if they feel the frequency of your emails is stealing their time.
So give your subscribers stories, news, case studies or imagery that does one of these things;
- Gives them inspiration
- Solves a problem
- Grabs attention/shocks
- Provides an easy way for them to fix something they are struggling with
Perhaps you offer B2B services such as freelance marketing, or legal and financial services. The way to your subscribers’ hearts is to show how you can save them time, stress or lessen their workload. Use blogs you’ve written, or write some top tips so they take away something valuable back to their desk.
Another example could be that you are a landscaper looking to attract clients. In this case, using visuals may be stronger than an email full of text. Featuring recent ‘before and after’ pictures of your work will show, rather than tell, your subscribers why they should get in touch with you. Paired with a closing line of ‘Click here to email me about your dream garden’ would be a strong way to nudge your reader into contacting you.
Remember to change it up every time you do a newsletter – use the same goal but a different method, so next time you could write about ‘garden trends’ in the spring for summer, so that you are engaging the imagination of your readers with the view that they will turn into customers.
Step 3) Work on your subject line
The subject line is the first thing someone will read, and if it doesn’t strike the right tone, or the reader feels it isn’t relevant to them, they won’t open it. A third of subscribers will open the email based on the subject alone, so take your time to craft something that will be enticing, and doesn’t contain ‘spammy’ words like ‘FREE’ or ‘cash’. Use common phrases like ‘last chance’ sparingly, they can be effective but may also trigger spam filters.
Personalised subjects can increase your open rates massively. Lots of email providers like MailChimp or MailerLite have settings that allow you to use a placeholder for inserting the customer’s name into the subject when they receive it.
If we continue with the landscaper example, the subject might look like this:
‘Hannah, is this your dream garden? …’
Ensure that the first line of the email body carries on from the subject, as often a preview is visible in the inbox. The first line of the email could continue as follows;
‘Subject: Hannah, is this your dream garden? … Here are this month’s biggest transformations…’
Step 4) Mind your language
Keep your language simple, direct, and impactful (no jargon). Remember your goals and stick with language that will help you achieve them by engaging your readers’ emotions – you can find a great list of powerful words to help you here. If you are sales focused you may also want to consider using time-sensitive language to create a sense of urgency for your reader to get in touch.
Step 5) Commit to a regular schedule
If your subscribers have signed up for a monthly newsletter, you owe them a monthly newsletter. As you create regularly, your engaged subscribers will look forward to seeing your emails, and will eagerly await their monthly dose of garden or office-based inspiration.
Step 6) Don’t forget Data Protection
Now for the legal bit. GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) are laws that protect personal information that businesses hold on individuals. You can find out more about how it can affect small businesses here, but in relation to newsletters, these laws prohibit businesses from sending generalised communications to contacts unless they have signed up for it specifically.
If the contacts in your email list have given permission for newsletters, then by all means, go ahead. But if you are using an email list older than 2018 (when GDPR and DPA were put in place) and the individuals have not expressly given their consent to receive this type of email, you will be unable to contact them with a general newsletter that is not personally relevant to them.
Top newsletter tips from Countingup
Here are some final tips for you to consider when creating your newsletter:
- Use your own name for the ‘From’ field. People are more likely to open an email from a person than a business.
- Avoid using ‘Newsletter’ in the subject.
- Tell a story with the content. Identify the issue that the reader might struggle with, then show them what could happen if they do use your services. This is a more impactful way to engage their imagination and drive them to your business.
Countingup is on a mission to make it easier to run a small business. The 2-in-1 business current account has built-in accounting software that automates time-consuming financial admin when you could be spending your valuable time on your new email strategy. Find out more here.