How To Write an Effective Newsletter: A Step-By-Step Guide

Ed Pronley


June 3, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

woman with laptop open checks her phone

Email newsletters are an effective tool that businesses use to build relationships with their target audience. They deliver helpful information, update readers on company news, and provide a space for you to connect with your audience on a personal level. But newsletters are also intimidating. If you don’t do them right, you actually risk turning your audience away or facing an army of unsubscribers. That’s why it’s important to learn how to write a newsletter and craft a compelling marketing message for your campaign. In this article, we discuss:

Benefits of Newsletter Marketing

Image via Unsplash by Brett Jordon

Here are some of the major benefits you can experience when you perform newsletter marketing:

Improve Brand Awareness

Newsletters are a great way to boost your brand’s awareness because your target audience can easily share them with their friends, family, and colleagues. Do you have unique insight into an industry problem? How about the perfect solution to your readers’ troubles? Adding this information to your newsletter can motivate your audience to share it or forward it to others. This helps not only improve your brand awareness, but also adds people to your email subscriber list. Even just addressing your audience in an engaging or entertaining way can encourage them to share your newsletter, which can improve your outreach.

Make Your Marketing Personal

When you send out newsletters, they arrive straight to your audience’s inbox. That, already, helps to make your marketing feel more personal and directed, but a newsletter can go even further. With impressive analytics, you can segment your audiences into more focused categories. That allows you to send specialized emails to your readers depending on the actions they perform.

For example, you might have a focused list of subscribers based on people who recently made a purchase. You can then send them an email newsletter with the subject line, “Tells Us How You Like Your New Product!” or “Other People Who Bought Your Product Had This to Say.” This helps the customer feel appreciated and lets them know you care about how the product impacts their life or solves their problems.

You can even have a segmented list of subscribers who haven’t interacted with your brand in a long time. Sending a reengagement email can go a long way to remind a subscriber why they signed up for your newsletters in the first place.

Keep Customers and Clients Up To Date

Newsletters allow you to keep customers, clients, and the rest of your audience up to date on your company. That includes your company’s performance, new product or service releases, and upcoming promotions or sales. This both helps to convert new email subscribers into customers and clients and retain the customers and clients you already have.

Someone who purchased from your company a few months ago, and enjoyed their experience, might like to know when future sales come up. They might also like to hear how your company is doing and how you’ve helped other people with your products or services. Keeping customers and clients up to date on your business basically lets them know, “Hey! We’re still here, and we’re ready to help you again whenever you need us.”

How To Write a Compelling Email Newsletter

Here is a list of steps to help you write an effective email newsletter for your marketing campaign:

1. Research Other Businesses and Newsletters

Before starting your own newsletter, it’s helpful to understand how other successful newsletters structure their content. Take a look at your competitor’s newsletters. Even look at newsletters from other industries and ask yourself different questions, like:

  • Do they talk about a single topic in-depth?
  • Do they quickly cover a few helpful topics?
  • How do they deliver the information?
  • How many paragraphs do they write?
  • What kind of images do they use?
  • How do they use their newsletter design to their advantage?
  • Where do they include a call to action?

Conducting research on other businesses and their newsletters can help you see what your audience might expect from yours. It can also reveal if there are any gaps in your competitors’ current marketing strategy. Is there even more information your competitors could give? Are you struggling to stay engaged in their content? See what other newsletters lack and find ways to avoid those mistakes and improve your own.

But why stop at newsletters? It’s just as important to know how your other content is performing. CopyPress now offers a free content marketing analysis tool that compares your website’s content with your top three competitors. See how your webpages currently rank and find low-hanging fruit opportunities to boost your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Then schedule a free 30-minute call with us to discuss your results. We’ll be happy to help you figure out a content marketing plan that attracts your target audience and brings them to your site.

“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”

Kevin Doory

Director of SEO at Auto Revo

2. Choose Your Focus

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make when creating a newsletter is not choosing a focus. Some newsletters try to cover every topic under the sun. From trending industry news, to their latest blog posts, to current customer testimonies, some newsletters cram too much into their content to really engage with their audience. That’s why it’s important to choose a focus and stick with it. Make sure each newsletter has a common thread that your audience can identify from your first newsletter to your last. This helps your audience know what they can expect from your content.

For example, let’s say you promise to send your subscribers a weekly list of the latest social media trends, but instead, you send them a list of your favorite cat breeds. Everyone outside of intense cat lovers is going to feel slighted or tricked because you’re not delivering what you promised.

Picking a focus can help you consistently deliver satisfying results to your readers. It also gives people a reason to sign up for your newsletter and continue to open it each time it lands in their inbox. Having a specific focus gives you something you can advertise more easily. It tells people exactly what they can find with each newsletter and the exact benefits it can offer them.

3. Add Educational Content

Speaking of, it’s crucial for your newsletter to benefit your reader. That often comes in the form of educational content. You want your newsletter to solve a problem or challenge your reader might have. At the very least, you want your newsletter to give them insightful information on an industry topic. With every newsletter you send to your audience, they’re going to ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?” The moment the answer is “nothing,” they’re either going to delete the email from their inbox, or worse, unsubscribe, or even worse, mark your email as spam (yes, that does actually happen).

Focusing on your reader’s benefit and giving them helpful, educational content solves that issue. Almost every introduction of your newsletter should start with, “Here’s a problem. Now we’re going to give you a solution.” That should be followed by a thorough, but brief, description of how to solve the problem you just mentioned. For example, a newsletter might start with, “Almost every day, a business loses a customer to their competitors.” The body of the newsletter can then give a list of steps on how to avoid or fix that problem when it occurs. You can also choose to give some of the steps and invite the reader to click through to a more thorough blog post you have with additional tips.

Creating content that gives a benefit to your reader works for more than just newsletters. No matter if you’re writing blogs, white papers, or eBooks, you want to ensure that your readers are bettering their lives or solving their problems with your content. And that’s our principal focus at CopyPress. We work with our clients to develop content that engages and educates their target audience, all while matching their brand’s tone and style. Schedule a call with us today to find out how we can craft compelling content for your campaign that resonates with your readers.

4. Leave Them Wanting More

Though you want your newsletters to inform your audience, you don’t want to write them a dissertation on the subject. Newsletters deliver a solution to a problem in a quick and succinct fashion. You want to give your audience a taste of the expertise you have to offer. This encourages them to read more of your website’s content and feel more inclined to take your calls to action seriously. Once you’re done telling them about the solution, offer them a chance to read further in your most recent blog post, or direct them to other content they might find relevant.

5. Include a Call to Action

As mentioned in the previous step, including a call to action (CTA) helps to direct your audience to your website. This increases your rate of conversion and shows your readers the next steps they can take to learn more from your expertise or make a purchase. Calls to action are one of the most effective ways to generate leads in your content marketing campaign. When writing longer pieces of content, it’s helpful to put CTAs throughout the piece to attract your readers at various points.

Make sure the CTAs you place are valuable for the reader, and not just for you as a brand. Make them relevant to what they’re reading. In this way, you can motivate your readers to schedule a call with you, learn more about a particular service you offer, download an eBook, or make a purchase.

But for newsletters, it’s more helpful to include only one or two calls to action, so you don’t bombard your readers with apparent advertisements. In fact, it’s most effective to save your CTA for the very end of your educational content. It allows your audience to learn what you have to offer them and then invite them to use your knowledge and expertise further by completing the call to action. If you place the CTA too early, your audience might feel spammed by advertisements and worry your priorities lie more in making money than helping your consumers or clients.

Read more: Calls To Action: What They Are and Why You Need Them

6. Create an Eye-Catching Design

Having a newsletter that’s just text with a few images isn’t exactly going to wow your audience. You want something that’s eye-catching and compelling; something that hooks your audience and keeps their attention from beginning to end. Though you have the ability to create those emails yourself, or with the help of a graphic designer, there are plenty of tools you can use to design your newsletter template.

Using an email newsletter service, you can plan out how your content looks, add effective graphics and images, and turn your calls to action into attention-grabbing buttons. A lot of these services also allow you to organize your subscriber lists, review important email analytics like clicks and opens, and create consistent newsletter campaigns. Here are some popular newsletter creation services that you can use for your business:

Remember, too, that part of having an eye-catching design is in the format. Even with the most compelling graphics, readers may still have difficulty reading your newsletter if the copy is jumbled. Use bullet points, dividers, section headings, and other formatting options to improve your readability and make it easy for your subscribers to scan through your content to find the information they’re most interested in.

7. Create an Engaging Subject Line

Your subject line is one of the most important parts of your email newsletter. Saving it for last allows you to tailor it specifically to your newsletter’s content. You might have an idea of what you want to include in your newsletter before writing it, but actually writing it is always a different story. You never know what you might decide to include or omit during your writing process. And deciding on your subject line beforehand might cause additional struggles, like sending off your newsletter with a subject line that no longer pertains to its content.

Once you’re ready to choose your subject line, it’s important to make it compelling and eye-catching. Do your best to invoke emotion from your audience. Make them feel like they’re missing out if they don’t click on your email. Even better, make your readers feel like you already understand them by mentioning the problem or challenge you’re addressing in the newsletter. For example, let’s say you’re writing a newsletter on how to bug-proof your lawn for the summer. Your subject line might read, “Pesky mosquitos ruining your BBQ? We can help with that.”

Pro tip: Run A/B tests of your subject lines to see which resonates most. If you have a large email list, test two subject lines on 50% of your subscribers and send the winner to the other 50%. This can help you improve your open rate. If your email list is small, you can still perform A/B testing, but send your two subject lines to your entire list, split 50/50. You’ll still see which was most popular and, over time in sending many newsletters, will be able to identify trends in open rates that can influence future subject lines or even webinar titles, page headers, and more.

Overall, the biggest thing to remember with newsletters is the value they bring to your audience. No matter what you choose as your focus or the solutions you provide to your readers, ensuring that the newsletter benefits them gives your campaign a better chance at success, leading people to your site. But then what? Some companies overlook that key part of their marketing campaign: step number two. Once you have people on your site, you need to get them to stay. A strong content marketing campaign is a great way to do that.

At CopyPress, we have a team of vetted writers, editors, and quality assurance specialists who know how to attract your target audience with quality written content. To get started, schedule a call with us today to see how we can help you develop the second step of your campaign and convert your audience into paying customers or clients.

Author Image - Ed Pronley
Ed Pronley

CopyPress writer

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