Welcome, newsletter mavens!
Congratulations on making the commitment to work on your email newsletter.
It’s uber important.
Because your email newsletter…
- Reminds your subscribers that you exist. (Even if they don’t open all… or any… of your emails, just seeing your name in their inbox reminds that you’re out there, ready and willing to be a resource for them.)
- Builds a relationship with your readers (AKA your current and potential clients and buyers) because they get to experience your knowledge and personality.
- Showcases your expertise and gives your reader a “preview” of what working with you might be like.
- Helps you to keep new material on your blog, too! (Because the article in your newsletter can often double-up as an article on your blog.)
- Warms up your readers before you start selling to them, and in between offers.
- Gives you insights into what your subscribers are ACTUALLY interested in. (All you have to do is look at which email subject lines they open more than others and which emails get more engagement!)
A Word to the Doubters
Now, before we dive into the “How To” portion of this article, I’d like to address some thoughts / doubts / hesitations / objections you might be having about writing email newsletters…
For those of you thinking…
“I don’t think I need an email list yet.”
“I don’t need a newsletter – I just email my people when I have something sell.”
“Isn’t email dead? No one reads these things anymore.”
…none of that is true.
1) It’s never too early to start building your email list (and actually emailing them).
Almost every entrepreneur I know says they wish they’d started their email list earlier, and that they’d kept in touch with their readers better.
Because you probably won’t feel “ready” to focus on your email list until you’re ready to SELL something and want to have a warmed up audience.
But at that point, you’re already way behind schedule. If you haven’t been building your list and nurturing them before now, you’ll be kicking yourself now that you really, really want to sell something.
2) If you only email your people when you have something to sell, you’re essentially training them NOT to open your emails unless they already know they want to buy something from you.
(Even if you still only want to email them when you have something to offer, you can add other awesomeness to those emails, so your readers look forward to hearing from you.)
3) Email marketing is not dead. Not by a long shot.
Never rely on your own behaviors to figure out what your audience’s behavior might be (i.e. “I don’t read emails, so I don’t think anyone else does, either.”).
And don’t believe people who say, “Oh, I don’t read emails.” Because they’re usually not aware of what their behavior actually looks like.
If someone signs up for your email list, it’s because you have something they WANT.
Whether they signed up via a Free Gift, or a product they’ve already bought, or a free class they attended, or even just the promise of “helpful tips and resources” – they raised their virtual hand and said, “Yes, I’d like to hear from you.”
Assume that’s still true. (When it’s no longer true, they can unsubscribe.)
So let them hear from you!
By offering regular engagement, you’re setting yourself up to fill online programs, land new private clients, get a quick blast of cash right when you need it…
… and, most importantly – newsletters allow your current and future clients to get to know YOU.
They are a great opportunity to share your stories and get a little more personal and connected with your readers.
As you might remember from the “How to Craft Your Signature Story” article, newsletters fall under the same umbrella as emails and blog articles in that they’re chock full’a your stories and offer a mission, lesson, or teaching point (aka VALUE) to your clients.
Remember, when choosing what you share in your newsletter, follow your gut! Choose the content that best conveys your Message.
Let’s review a few quick terms to make sure we’re on the same page…
- Email Newsletter → content, news, good ideas, and opportunities sent to your email list on a regular basis. Often has different sections (personal note, featured article, bio).
- Blog Articles → articles that get posted to the blog on your website.
- Note: Your newsletter article can be the same article you post on your blog.
- Promo email / Sales email / Solo email → A promo email is different from your newsletter in that it is promoting ONE THING. It does not have all the different sections that your newsletter has. It has ONE call to action, like “register for the webinar” or “watch the video” or “buy the thing!”)
So what goes into creating your newsletter?
I’m so happy you asked!
What to Put in Your Email Newsletters
Depending on your industry and how advanced you are in your business, you may want to mix n’ match the different elements below.
But you’ll want to decide what STYLE of newsletter you want to send:
A valuable content newsletter
An updates & announcements newsletter
A combination newsletter with various sections.
For experts, coaches, consultants, and people who solve a problem – You’ll generally want to include some content that helps your readers with the issues you know they have. (This could look like a Featured Article, or a link to your latest video + a quick write-up, or a link to your latest podcast episode + a quick write-up.)
For SaaS, product-based and tech-based companies – You may want to focus on awesome updates and news. (But I still recommend including something helpful for your readers, like a Featured Article, or a Top 5 list, or customer case studies, or “How to use this thing we sell” tutorials.)
Other than that, feel free to use whichever below elements work for you!
- Header: your logo and/or photo of you
- Personal Note: A short n’ sweet note from you, usually about what’s happening in your life (preferably with a photo)
- Featured Article: Here’s where it gets interesting. Make your articles valuable by sharing tips, ideas, stories, lessons or step-by-step processes. (Think “How-To” articles, or List Articles, where you give them The Top 5 Tools to XYZ.)
- Short Bio / About You: This is an optional feature, but if you’re reaching out to a lot of new potential clients, you might choose to include a little bio that gives an overview of who you are and what you do.
- Success Stories / Rave Reviews: If you have success stories to share, you can rotate through them each newsletter.
- News & Updates: These might be announcements about the product you sell, like new features, or places you’ve been reviewed.
- Recommendations: You can include a blurb about one of your own services or products. Or maybe you have a partner who has agreed to cross-promote with you. Often, you’ll both include a “Newsletter Blurb” or “Newsletter Mention” that talks about the other person’s offer.
- Upcoming Events, Webinars & Workshops: Consider this your bulletin board. Tell them where they can find you, or attend a class you’re teaching, or meet you in person at an event.
- Recent Posts: Links to other blog articles you’ve written recently.
Monica Shah is a business coach, so the main thing in her newsletters are helpful articles (cropped in the above image – it was a long one and took up the majority of the newsletter). But she also includes a few other sections: Recent Posts, Success Story, Upcoming Training and Events, and About Monica.
MOO is a business card company (beautiful business cards, if you’re in the market for some new ones!). They could easily just plug their products, but instead they make an effort to send articles they think will be interesting and helpful to their readers.
And it works! I often open their newsletters, even if I have zero need to buy anything right now. But it keeps them top of mind, so when I AM ready to stock up on new cards, I’ll think of them first.
BAM! Now you’re on your way to an epic newsletter!
(Pssst… need some help figuring out how to write in a way that connects with your readers? Get free access to my training, “Copy that Resonates: How to find the exact words that attract your ideal clients + get them excited to work with you.” Comes with a video training + a fill-in-the-blank workbook.)
Before I turn you loose, I want to share my answers to some frequently asked questions about newsletters…
FAQs about Email Newsletters
Q. How often do I need to send a newsletter?
That’s up to you! Just be consistent.
Choose one of the following:
- Once a week
- Every other week
- Once a month
I usually recommend more than once a month, as readers forget who you are veeeery quickly.
But my biggest Rule of Thumb: choose a frequency that you will *actually* be able to keep up.
Don’t commit to sending a newsletter every single week if you’re just getting started. Writing, editing, loading, and sending newsletters is a business skill set. If you’re new to it, and you overcommit, you could easily lose steam and fall off the bandwagon, and then quit altogether.
Instead, go easy on yourself as you build this new business muscle. Eventually it will get easier, and you’ll have an entire system around it.
Q. How long should my newsletter be?
If you’re just getting started and just want to keep in touch with your email subscribers and add fresh content to your blog (even if you’re not sure if anyone is looking at your blog yet), keep it on the short side: 400-800 words.
Now, you may have noticed that the articles on my blog are pretty darn long. (This one is already over 1,800 words.)
That’s because I use my articles for two purposes:
- To keep in touch with my email list with helpful content.
- To GROW my email list.
Basically, in order to grow my email list, I send traffic to my blog articles (from Facebook or Pinterest – often with paid ads and boosted pins).
That means, the content had better be good.
No one wants to click through on a Pin to read a fluffy, 200-word article that doesn’t teach anything useful or interesting. People are looking for in-depth guidance or step-by-step instructions.
But here’s the thing – if you want to use this strategy, you have to make sure your website is already set up to maximize your efforts.
That means, have opt-in forms for your email list in various places.
Even better, have Free Gifts attached to each blog article that will entice readers to join your email list.
That’s why if you’re just getting started, or your main goal is to build a relationship with your email list – you don’t need to do epic, in-depth articles yet. Stick to the short ones, and you’ll be just fine.
Q. Can I make money from my newsletter?
Oh goodness yes!
Your newsletter is not just “content.” Insert a “Recommendations” section, or an “Announcements” section to offer…
- Strategy Sessions
- Paid programs or courses
- Invitations to events where you’ll be speaking
- Your products
- And so on!
Q. Do I need a fancy, professionally designed template?
In fact, some major email marketers don’t use templates at all, just plain text with an occasional image.
That said, you can have a template, if you want. In some industries, it makes sense to have one. (For example, MOO is all about beautifully designed cards. Of course they’re going to have a pretty newsletter!) Think about the expectations of your audience, and the feel you want to create for your brand.
But the most important part is to start communicating with your people!
If you have a logo, you can add that to the top, and then sprinkle some images or different color subheads throughout.
In fact, that’s what I do:
(Psst… want to read this whole article? Click here: 10 Types of Free Gifts that Grow Your Email List)
So there you have it! How to Start (or Re-Start) Your Email Newsletter!
Keep an eye out! I’ll be doing another article soon on how to write your articles.
If you take the time to put in the prep work here, the bulk of your newsletters will be a breeze!
Be realistic about what’s possible for you and your business. Know your goals and your limits, and plan accordingly, so you only ever feel successful instead of scrambling.
It takes a little organization, imagination, and dedication, but once it’s all in place…
You’ve made an invaluable connection with your clients.
I think that’s pretty magical. 😉