This 10-step guide will help you create informative newsletters that will allow you to regularly communicate with your leads and customers. On average, you should send one email newsletter per month, to help you interact and build relationships with your leads and customers. Email newsletters should be summaries of recent content you created. You should start creating your monthly newsletter about one week before the day you plan to send it.
Step 1: Gather Your Content
Use the content you published that month as the basis for the content of your newsletter. You want to get as many people in front of your content as possible, and newsletters are one of best ways to get this done.
Step 2: Determine The Goal
You understand the overarching goal of email newsletters, but you should also determine a primary objective for each newsletter you create and send. For example, do you want your customers to take a survey after reading this newsletter, or do you need them to read a particular blog article on the latest industry trends? It's a good discipline to get into to choose just one thing you want to drive your readers to do as a result of reading each issue.
Make sure you place the content that is the most important to your goal somewhere close to the top of your email, as well as in a second location further down for maximum exposure.
Step 3: Design Your Newsletter
Use a consistent newsletter template throughout the year, and resist the urge to change your template design more than once a year. Most businesses change their templates at the beginning of the New Year.
Feel free, however, to change up your headline colors and images only a monthly basis so that your newsletter doesn’t grow visually stale. Make sure that you keep your business and product brand in mind when designing your email, and always remember that less is more with email marketing.
And don't forget that white space is your friend. It helps readers easily locate the content they're interested in, and makes your calls to action really stand out. Always be thinking “less is more” when you create your newsletter template.
“From” Name and Address
Your “from” name and sender email address should be consistent. For example, your “from” name might be something like “HubSpot Monthly Newsletter.” Then match your sender email address with your “from” name, as in firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should not send your newsletter from any generic sounding email address, such as noreply@, sales@, or marketing@. These email addresses commonly get nabbed by your readers' spam filters. Even if they do make it past a spam filter, such email addresses come off as sounding impersonal, and usually lead to lower levels of reader engagement.
Create a plain text version of your email for those readers whose email systems are set up to only accept plain text emails. HubSpot’s email marketing and lead nurturing applications allow you to create both an HTML and plain text version automatically.
Step 4: Create Your Subject Line
You have several good options to choose from when it comes to subject lines, so you should test each one to see what works best for you and your audience. You should use a different compelling subject line for each email you send. However, you might let your readers know it's you by putting some form of standard identifying information in brackets. For example, you could use a subject line like “Learn How to Become a Better Blogger [HubSpot Newsletter]”
Alternately, you could use a generic subject line that woud be easily recognized by everyone who has received your email. This way you can set the expectation that the emails you send to your list will always have the same subject line.
Step 5: Email Body and Content
Every newsletter you create should include the following:
- Your business social media links at the top or bottom of the email. (HubSpot will automatically add your social media accounts to the bottom of your emails if you have enabled the Follow Me Module.)
- A table of contents at the top of the email. Link each item in the table of contents to the corresponding page on your website.
- A link that allows the reader to read your email in a browser as a webpage.
Limit the number of articles in your newsletter to no more than five different content pieces. These might include:
- Blog articles
- Whitepapers, guides, checklists
- Case studies, video testimonials
- Special deals, coupons
- Company announcements
- Upcoming events, upcoming webinars
The content you include in your newsletter should direct people back your website and shoud incite them take some specific type of action. Each article should include a call to action and a link that sends the recipient back to your website. You should limit the amount of non-educational content in your newsletter. A good place for non-educational content is in the sidebar or at the bottom of the email.
You should include a link to your website in the first or second sentence in your newsletter. The table of contents should also be linked to the content that’s on your website. Bold some of the links in the newsletter to increase your click-through rate.
Every link in your email should be built as a tracking URL so that you can understand how many people clicked through to your website and converted on your landing page. HubSpot’s email marketing and lead nurturing applications automatically create tracking URLs for each link you include in your emails, and you can then track these links using your Sources tool.
Keep the number of images in your email below ten, to prevent your newsletter from getting blocked by a firewall or sent to a spam folder. Newsletters with fewer images have a much better chance of not getting flagged as spam. Create links for all the images that are associated with a call to action, so that readers can click on the image and go straight to your website.
Each image you use should also include a descriptive alt text phrase, so that readers who do not enable images in their email will still know what your image is about.
Start your email by addressing your receipient by their first name in either the email body or the subject line. You might also experiment with adding your reader's company name in the subject line.
By law, you must include your company name, address, and an unsubscribe link in your email. HubSpot’s email marketing application includes this material for you automatically.
Step 6: Email Signature and Footer
Your email signature should be consistent with the “from” name in the email. You should sign the email and include any other information you think your recipients might find useful.
Your email footer is also a great place to add social media icons (HubSpot adds these automatically), your blog URL, or any announcements about upcoming events or product releases.
Step 7: Test Your Email
To ensure the best results, you should send a test copy of your newsletter to one or two of your colleagues. This will help you make sure your email isn't getting caught in any spam filters. You can also ask them to proofread your newsletter and test every link by clicking on it and making sure it opens the right page. Ask them to tell you about any grammar mistakes, confusing language, a misaligned offer, etc.
Then send your email to just 10% of your list to ensure that everything is set up properly. Once you're satisfied that all is well, go ahead and send it to the remaining 90%. You don’t want to send an email to thousands of people and then discover an error.
Step 8: Send Your Email
It's the moment of truth.
Step 9: Listen and Respond
Of course, your work doesn't end once you send out your email. The other goal of email marketing is to build relationships with your list and subscribers. You need to be sure that someone is responding to any replies you receive. Any questions or comments need to be handled in a timely manner.
Step 10: Measure
Measuring how people respond and behave after you send your newsletter is very important. Things you should measure include:
- Total click-throughs received
- Total clicks each link received
- Which piece of content was most popular
- Total number of unsubscribes
- Spikes in website traffic
- Spikes in social media activity
- Increase in followers on social media
Originally published Jan 6, 2012 10:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017