Are you making the most of newsletters? Ready to tap into their full potential? You’re in the right place. As a content marketer, you understand the importance of creating content that engages your audience and delivers valuable information that sparks meaningful interactions.
Newsletters have become an indispensable tool for marketers, and this comprehensive guide on creating and formatting a newsletter will empower you to leave a lasting impression.
Throughout this blog, we’ll take you on a step-by-step journey, starting with understanding the relevance of newsletters in our digital landscape. From there, we dive into expertly outlining and designing your content to ensure it aligns perfectly with your goals and caters to the needs of your target audience. We’ll help you unleash your creativity as we explore the design and formatting process, giving you tips to create visually stunning newsletters that reflect your unique brand identity. All without technical or design expertise.
We understand that you have multiple responsibilities to juggle, so we’ll share time-saving writing tips tailored explicitly for busy marketers. We also equip you with the knowledge to select the right software for your newsletter's streamlined creation, distribution, and analytics.
Get ready to take your content marketing strategy to new heights with our comprehensive guide to creating and formatting an engaging online newsletter.
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What is a newsletter?
A newsletter is a regularly distributed publication that provides subscribers with updates, news, and valuable content. It can be sent on an ad-hoc basis, but it is generally more effective when sent weekly or monthly to keep subscribers engaged and your brand and content at the forefront of their minds.
While print publications still exist (and have their merits), businesses increasingly turn to e-newsletters as an efficient and cost-effective way to build relationships with their audience in the digital space.
Who should use a newsletter?
Newsletters can benefit many B2B and B2C businesses and organizations. Whether you are an SME, a nonprofit, a global market leader, or a content-driven brand, newsletters offer a direct and personalized communication channel to connect with your target audience.
When does a newsletter make sense?
Newsletters make sense when you have a dedicated, receptive audience, valuable content to share regularly, and a desire to nurture and build relationships with your subscribers. They are particularly effective for building brand awareness, customer retention, and driving high-quality traffic to generate more leads.
Digital vs. print newsletters
Online newsletters have gained significant popularity due to their benefits compared to traditional print newsletters. One of the most notable benefits is their instant delivery, allowing subscribers to receive the latest updates and news as soon as they are published. Unlike print newsletters that require printing, packaging, and distribution, online newsletters can be transmitted electronically with just a button, saving time and resources.
Another advantage of e-newsletters is the ability to incorporate interactive elements. Unlike their static counterparts, online newsletters enable readers to engage with the content in various ways. They can click links to access additional information, watch videos, participate in surveys or polls, and even leave comments or feedback directly within the newsletter. This fosters a deeper level of engagement and encourages active participation from the readers.
Find out more about boosting the user experience in our blog on how to create interactive content that engages your audience.
Personalization options are another standout feature of online newsletters. They allow you to tailor content to specific audience segments based on their preferences, interests, or demographics. This level of customization enhances the overall user experience and increases the likelihood of continued engagement and loyalty - and driving those all-important conversions.
Furthermore, e-newsletters provide the ability to track and analyze reader engagement. You can gather valuable data on open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, among other metrics, to gain insights into the newsletters' effectiveness. This data-driven approach means you can refine your content strategy, optimize newsletter design and layout, and make informed decisions to improve reader engagement and satisfaction.
Unlike print newsletters, which are limited by the physical constraints of paper and ink, e-newsletters can be optimized for different devices and screen sizes. This flexibility ensures that the content is accessible to a broader audience, regardless of the devices they use, thereby expanding the reach and impact of your publication.
Choosing newsletter content
To create a compelling digital newsletter, you should mix things up and leverage a wide range of content or topics. We’ve laid out some helpful ideas and inspiration to help you get started.
Informative articles: Share links to in-depth articles on your website that provide valuable insights and expertise on topics related to your industry. Include a teaser in the newsletter template excerpt to encourage people to click.
Industry news: Keep your audience up to date with the latest happenings in your industry. Share breaking news, updates, or trends that impact your readers and demonstrate your expertise.
Product updates: Highlight new features, improvements, or upcoming releases of your products or services. Include visuals and brief descriptions to showcase the value they bring. This is an excellent opportunity to send recipients a special offer or invitation to a physical or virtual launch.
How-to guides: Provide step-by-step instructions or tutorials on using your products, accomplishing tasks, or solving everyday challenges.
Case studies: Showcase real-life examples of how your products or services have helped customers achieve success. Share their stories, the challenges they faced, and the outcomes they achieved.
Customer success stories: Share testimonials or success stories from satisfied customers. Highlight how your offerings have positively impacted their lives or businesses.
Upcoming events: Inform your subscribers about industry conferences, webinars, workshops, or other events they may find valuable. Include dates, locations, and registration details.
Interactive elements: Engage your audience with interactive elements like polls, surveys, or quizzes.
By incorporating this mix of content, you can keep your newsletter fresh, informative, and engaging, ensuring that your subscribers eagerly anticipate each new edition.
Where in the customer journey does a newsletter belong?
Newsletters can benefit brands and their audience at various customer journey stages. They provide educational content at the top of the funnel to nurture leads and establish thought leadership and brand awareness.
In the middle of the funnel, newsletters can showcase case studies and testimonials to build trust or offer helpful information to address barriers to sales.
At the bottom of the funnel, newsletters can offer exclusive promotions, special offers, and exclusive content to build loyalty and boost conversions.
How to outline a newsletter
Creating a fabulous newsletter requires understanding your audience's preferences and interests. You can deliver engaging content that keeps them hooked by knowing what they want. One way to achieve this is by dividing your newsletter into sections covering different topics or themes. This allows readers to navigate straight to the bits they care about most.
Never underestimate the power of catchy headlines. They're like irresistible magnets that grab readers' attention and lure them deeper into your newsletter. Craft compelling and informative headlines, sparking curiosity and enticing them to dive into the details. Remember to maintain a clear and logical flow of information throughout. You want readers to follow your narrative and grasp your key points effortlessly.
Keep things snappy and concise but still deliver value. Long paragraphs can tire readers, so use impactful language to deliver your message effectively. Spice up your newsletter with visual elements like images, infographics, or charts to enhance readability and make it visually appealing.
As you can tell, we are fans of all things interactive. Add clickable links, buttons, or even embed videos to let readers explore related content and engage with your brand on a deeper level. This way, you'll supercharge their overall experience and keep them returning for more.
Writing tips and style suggestions for newsletters
Here are some tips for writing newsletters to inspire, inform and entertain your readers.
Write in a conversational tone: Always use language and sentiments that make your readers feel like they're having a friendly chat with you. Adopt a relatable, easy-to-understand tone,, and avoid overly formal or technical terms that might create a distance between you and your readers.
Keep your paragraphs short and focused: Long paragraphs can overwhelm readers, especially on smaller devices. Break up your content into bite-sized paragraphs that are easy to skim and digest.
Use bullet points or numbered lists to present information or highlight critical ideas: This makes your content more scannable and allows readers to find the information that interests them quickly. It also offers a better user experience on smaller devices and is more visually engaging.
Incorporate storytelling techniques: Share anecdotes, personal experiences, or customer success stories to illustrate your points. By weaving narratives into your newsletter, you create an emotional connection with your readers and make your content more relatable and memorable.
Include compelling call-to-action(s) (CTA): Consider ending key sections or articles in your newsletter with a clear and compelling call-to-action. Prompt your readers to take a specific action, such as visiting your website, signing up for a webinar, or downloading a resource. Use persuasive language and create a sense of urgency or FOMO to encourage reader interaction and response.
Crafting a newsletter that resonates with your readership can transform your audience engagement. The European Investment Fund grew its subscriber by an astonishing 500% through its newsletter. Find out more about how they made it happen with Foleon’s platform.
Designing and formatting your newsletter
When designing your newsletter, aesthetics and functionality go hand in hand. Aim for a clean, visually appealing layout that captures your readers' attention. Utilize a responsive design that adapts seamlessly to different devices, ensuring your newsletter looks perfect when viewed on a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone.
To create a cohesive brand experience, incorporate your brand elements into the newsletter design. Use your brand's colors, fonts, and logo to reinforce brand recognition and establish a consistent visual identity. This helps readers associate your newsletter with your brand and builds trust and familiarity.
Eye-catching visuals are crucial to drawing readers into your content. Include high-quality images, illustrations, or graphics that enhance your newsletter's look and feel. However, it's essential to strike a balance between text and images. Too much text can overwhelm readers, while too many images may distract from the main message. Find the right balance to create a visually engaging and informative experience.
Make your call-to-action (CTA) buttons easily clickable and visually prominent. Whether it's a button urging readers to visit your website, sign up for an event, or purchase, the CTA should stand out and be intuitive. Optimize the buttons' size, color, and placement to encourage readers to take action.
Why you need to use the right software for your newsletter
Streamlining your newsletter creation and distribution process should be a priority for busy marketers. Leveraging online newsletter platforms or digital content creation and management software helps you do that. Here are some features to look for in your ideal platform.
Customizable templates: Online newsletter platforms offer a wide selection of professionally designed templates that you can customize to match your brand's look and feel. These templates save you time and effort by providing a pre-designed structure where you can drag and drop your content, images, and branding elements. This ensures consistency and professional presentation throughout your newsletters. Plus, it enables quick and easy personalization to send targeted communications catering to your lead’s preferences and watch those conversions skyrocket!
Automation features: With digital newsletter software, you can automate various aspects of your newsletter campaigns. This includes automated email triggers, such as welcome emails or follow-ups, and scheduled delivery of your newsletters. Automation streamlines your workflow, allowing you to focus on creating compelling content while ensuring timely and consistent distribution to your subscribers.
Analytics and insights: The best content platforms provide valuable and accurate analytics and insights to help you understand the performance of your newsletters. You can track open rates, click-through rates, and engagement levels to understand what resonates with your audience. This data empowers you to refine your b2b content strategy, improve targeting, and optimize your newsletters for better results.
Integration options: Choosing software solutions that offer seamless integration with other marketing tools and platforms is a good idea. This allows you to connect your newsletter efforts with your overall marketing ecosystem.
Subscriber management: Online newsletter platforms provide tools for efficient subscriber management. You can easily manage subscriber lists, segment your audience based on various criteria, and personalize your newsletters accordingly. This means you can tailor your content to specific subscriber groups, increasing relevance and engagement.
Want to see the excellent results of using the right software for your content creation and distribution? Take a look at these examples of interactive newsletters created using Foleon.
The importance of showcasing newsletters in the right format
Providing a great user experience can mean the difference between an engaged audience and people that head straight for the unsubscribe button. Always showcase your newsletters in a format that prioritizes easy navigation, accessibility, mobile responsiveness, and interactivity. This ensures that your readers can consume your content seamlessly across different devices and engage with your newsletter effectively, no matter where they are.
The benefits of using HTML-based newsletters
HTML-based newsletters offer several advantages to businesses. They ensure all-important mobile responsiveness, allowing your content to adapt to different screen sizes. They also provide rich audience insights through analytics, helping you optimize your content strategy. Furthermore, interactivity in HTML-based newsletters leads to higher engagement and increases the chances of conversions.
Publishing and distributing your newsletter
Choose a reliable email service provider (ESP) to publish and distribute your newsletter. Segment your subscriber list, personalize your content, and schedule your newsletters for optimal engagement. Monitor your email deliverability and analyze metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to improve your future campaigns.
Gathering data and feedback from your newsletter
Gathering data and feedback from your newsletter is essential for understanding how effective your campaigns and content are and helping you make informed decisions to optimize future newsletters. Here are some key strategies to consider:
Email Analytics: Most email service providers offer robust analytics tools that provide valuable insights into your newsletter performance. Keeping an eye on metrics like open rates, click-throughs, bounces, and unsubscribe rates helps you accurately gauge engagement and identify areas for improvement.
A/B Testing: It’s a good idea to experiment with different elements in your newsletter to test messaging, subject lines, CTAs, and layouts. Split your subscriber list into segments and send different versions of your newsletter to each segment. You can then analyze the results to determine which elements resonate better with your audience and drive higher engagement. Don’t test too many things at once, or you won’t necessarily be able to tell which parts should be changed and which are already hitting the right notes.
Surveys and Feedback Forms: Sometimes, the best feedback comes in anecdotal form, so consider including surveys or feedback forms in your newsletters to gather direct input from your subscribers. Ask specific questions about their preferences, content interests, or overall satisfaction with the newsletter. This feedback will provide valuable insights for refining your content strategy and tailoring your newsletters to meet your audience's needs better. It will also show your community that you value their loyalty and are committed to providing the best service possible.
Adding forms and CTAs to your newsletter
Forms and call-to-actions (CTAs) are powerful tools for engaging your readers and driving specific actions, so here are a few tips to help you incorporate them into your newsletter:
Subscription Forms: Include a subscription form in your newsletter to encourage new readers to join your mailing list. Keep the form concise and prominently display the benefits of subscribing, such as exclusive content or special offers.
Feedback Forms: As mentioned earlier, feedback forms allow subscribers to share their thoughts and opinions. Use clear and concise language to encourage participation, and consider offering incentives, such as entry into a giveaway or access to exclusive content, to boost response rates.
CTAs: Every newsletter should have a clear and compelling call to action. Whether it's directing readers to visit your website, read a blog post, register for an event, or make a purchase, make sure your CTAs stand out visually and are placed strategically within the newsletter. Use action-oriented language and make the benefit clear.