Email Marketing 101: How to Send an Email Newsletter

Last week, we shared on the South Shore PR blog that we explored why email marketing is now the most important marketing channel your organization can leverage. This week, we want to dive into how to start your own email newsletter. Email marketing is a powerful tool for reaching out to your audience and keeping them updated about your business. Sending an email newsletter requires careful planning and strategy. In this article, we will discuss the nuts and bolts of how to send an email newsletter. In a future post next week, we’ll talk more about email newsletter service providers and whom we recommend if you’re just getting started.

1. Define your newsletter’s objective and target audience

The first step in creating an email newsletter is to define its objective and target audiences. What is the purpose of your newsletter? What do you want your subscribers to do after reading it? Who is your target audience or audiences? Is it the same as your target customer? These questions will help you create relevant and engaging content for your newsletter. For example, if you’re running an e-commerce store, your objective may be to create more sales, so sending regular newsletters is a great way to create sales. Or perhaps you’re a non-profit looking to promote a fundraising campaign. Or maybe you’d simply like to keep your customers updated with what’s going on with your organization. This is the most important first step – what is your newsletter for? Don’t forget to include your internal audience, too!

2. Choose an email service provider

Once you have defined your newsletter’s objective and target audience, the next step is to choose an email service provider. There are many email service providers available in the market, such as Mailerlite, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, and Sendinblue (we’ll go into these more below). These tools provide you with the necessary features to create and send email newsletters, such as email templates, subscriber management, and analytics. You cannot simply cut and paste a bunch of emails into your email client and send an email to thousands of people; that’s the first stop on your way to SPAM town. Using an email marketing service ensures the deliverability of your emails. We will go into more detail on providers next week. Stay tuned.

3. Build your subscriber list

Before you can send your newsletter, you need to have subscribers to whom you can send it. You can build your subscriber list by adding a sign-up form on your website or offering an incentive for people to join your list (one of our e-commerce clients offers a 10% off coupon for new sign-ups). It is important to have permission-based email lists. We cannot emphasize enough that you must have permission from a subscriber. It’s enshrined in US law. 

Never buy an email list from a third party to grow your list. Doing this will harm your reputation and lead to spam complaints. Users must opt-in to hear from you (and you must provide a one-click unsubscribe). 

4. Create a newsletter template

Most email service providers offer pre-designed newsletter templates that you can customize to match your brand’s look and feel (and most will link to your e-commerce store to show products). You can also create a custom template from scratch if you have coding and design skills. Make sure your template is mobile-responsive and easy to read on different devices and email clients. Most providers will take care of this for you, and out of the box, most will have a template that you can customize with your logo and colors. 

5. Write compelling content

Your newsletter’s content should be relevant and valuable to your subscribers. Write engaging headlines, use images, and break up your content into small paragraphs. Keep your newsletter concise and include a clear call to action (i.e., buttons to click) to encourage your subscribers to take action.

6. Test and preview your newsletter

Before sending your newsletter, make sure to test and preview it to ensure that it looks and works as intended. Check for spelling and grammar errors, broken links, and image issues. Preview your newsletter on different devices and email clients to ensure that it is mobile-responsive and looks the same across different platforms. Send it to yourself and click every single link to make sure they work. You cannot ‘unsend’ a newsletter, and you cannot fix it after it’s been sent. A newsletter is permanent (and if you make a mistake, it’s a permanent mistake).

7. Schedule and send your newsletter

Once you have tested, tested, and retested, as well as preview your newsletter, it is time to schedule and send it. Choose the best day and time to send your newsletter based on your audience’s behavior and preferences. Most email service providers offer scheduling options to send your newsletter at the right time. They can also usually send it out based on timezone or open rate. A good rule of thumb in the email industry (backed up by data) is that Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursdays are the best days to send, with Wednesday being the best. 

Don’t be intimidated by all these steps; once you do them for the first time, it’s pretty simple to get in the flow of a regular newsletter. If this sounds like too much work – then that’s where South Shore PR can do your email marketing for you. We’ll help you build your list ethically so that it is built for quality and longevity. We are experts at building custom newsletters with custom messaging and creating content for your newsletter from beginning to end. We know which services to use and how to make sure your email doesn’t end up in SPAM folders.  Email is one of our superpowers. Get in touch with us today.