How to create an effective newsletter?
After importing the database to the email Marketing software, it’s time to create the newsletter.
And something we ask most of the time at this point is:
And now, what kind of newsletter will I send to my subscribers?
You might have a blog on your site, so you already have everything ready, because you already have content to send in your newsletters.
Or you may not generate content assiduously, and need to start creating it now.
In any case, something that will be very important, is to know the steps most users will take when purchasing a product, Or at least a general representation of this process.
See the following chart:
Here, we have the buying process divided into the following steps:
- 1) The customer has not yet detected the problem or doesn’t have it.
- 2) The customer detected the problem, but doesn’t know what the solution will be.
- 3) The customer knows a possible solution, but doesn’t know your company.
- 4) The customer knows your company, but doesn’t know why he should buy your product and not buy from your competitors.
- 5) Finally, the customer will decide to buy.
- 6) In addition to buying, he speaks well of your company or your brand.
This looks much better with an example
So let’s put one in and analyze. Surely you will have a surprise at the end.
- 1) Imagine the case of a person who doesn’t own a house, so one day this person decides to buy it.
- 2) This person realizes then that he can be a victim of robbery, fire and other problems and start worrying about what to do in these situations.
- 3) I starts looking for more information about residential insurance, and discover your business.
- 4) He compares your proposal with other companies.
- 5) He decides to hire your services.
- 6) As he is always well treated, he recommends the company to other people.
Residential insurance, a complex niche, you may think. Difficult to advertise, since only those who are interested in the service will read what the company is trying to say, right?
And the company can only offer information about its own insurance
Isn’t it true?
Well, maybe not.
See the following example:
In a Blog called Mapfre, an insurance company, it is possible to find a post About “Planting cherry tomatoes at home.”
It is a way of approaching the customer, offering information that can be of interest to him. For example, many people are interested in working with urban greenhouses, these people obviously live in a house, and some of them are the owners of these properties.
Therefore, in the future they may need residential insurance. But before this need, the company already established a first contact with these potential customers.
They already know the brand and therefore at least will remember the company.
In addition, when receiving newsletters, subscribers will be more interested in receiving good content, not just commercial emails.
[But this is just an example]
This is more or less the concept that should be used in your email marketing campaigns. Provide added value from the start, not only related to the product but with the interests of your customers.
And with this, we can keep in contact with the customers, to guide the user during the purchase or hiring process.
When creating the newsletter we have to think about engagement
And about the importance of contacts viewing emails and interacting with the messages, otherwise, over time, the sender score reputation will get worse and many messages will not be delivered in the inbox.
[This is why it is very important to send useful content to subscribers, and not just sales emails.]
For this, we will see the following points:
1) At which stage of the purchasing process are we working?
First we have to define in which phase of the buying process we are working. It’s not the same thing to send a newsletter to a subscriber who just registered and may have questions or need more information. Than when this contact has already received several emails, and we are about to send the sales email.
Think of the steps we mentioned earlier, a person who have registered to receive our newsletter:
- It is because they have some interest in our services, but
- They will want to have more information about its features.
- And about purchase options, return policy, purchase process, security
- As well as what is the comparison with similar products or services offered by other companies
- What services or after-sales support is offered
- Success stories or opinions from other customers
You may have other information to send to the customer before sending the sales email.
And this brings us to the next step:
2) What kind of content will we create?
Influenced by the first point, we must decide the contents we will create for our marketing strategy.
Be it a user guide, a pdf, a success story, an opinions page, a list of features, a series of tips.
Or even additional or related content, even if it is very tangential, such as tomato growing tips sent by an insurance company.
After deciding the phase and type of content.
3) How can we do that?
In this last step, we will decide how to create the content that we will send to our subscribers.
Such as a post on our blog, or an infographic (useful for comparisons or showing different features, video, etc.
The options are many and you need to decide which one will be the best for each situation, either to better show the information, or because it is more fun, Etc.
[IMPORTANT: When formatting the newsletter, you will need to create links to the content, to try to get clicks as well as increase engagement with the subscribers.]
That is, we will not include such content directly in the email, but we will add a link so that visitors can access them on the website or blog.
And now there is only one last step.
4) Creating a schedule
Where and when we will send content to our mailing list. Or if it is not based on specific dates, the order of this Message in the series we sent at the time of registration.
For this there are very useful tools that can automate part of the Process, such as autoresponders.
Now let’s look at a small example
How to create a newsletter? Example of scheduling an initial series of emails
This is an example that works both for when you are sending to subscribers, customer that already are registered on your mailing list.
Or for new subscribers, when you will send a custom message, using an autoresponder, for example.
A possible sequence of steps would be as follows, as we can prepare five to six emails to get started, and then review the results:
1) First contact
It may be necessary to vary slightly depending on the mailing list. If they are old customers, it would be best to send a more formal presentation.
Stating that you already know the subscriber, the reason we you are writing Etc.
If instead you are sending it to a subscriber who just registered using the opt-in form, it would be better to use a more informal message. Thanking him for subscribing, for example, and informing that he will receive other emails in the next few days.
That is, we will try to keep his attention in some way by commenting about what will be sent on the following days.
2) Series of emails (Part 1)
In this first part of the series, we can explain the basics of the product or service.
What has made the person interested in this product. What problems can be solved with it, where it stands out, we can send a video, a tutorial, or any other content, we could insert a link so that the subscriber can access this content online and visit the website or blog.
Here it may be best not to try direct sales, but add links to resources and important information on our site, where there are visible options for the purchase.
But it is better to not use the email to sell directly at this time.
3) Email series (Part 2)
In a second part of the series of emails, ie 4-5, for example, we will discuss other topics of interest to the potential customer, before trying to convince him to purchase.
Here we can have product comparisons with the competition, secure purchase information (such as refund and Secure payment methods) Shipping methods, delivery fee, Etc.
Briefly, and always trying to not annoy the subscriber. If possible include as much interesting information as possible.
For example, if we are selling software, we can send an email about the steps to migrate from other softwares, and explain about the Return policy if there is no compatibility between the softwares.
4) Finishing the sale 1
As we get close to the end of the process, we can introduce more information to enhance customer confidence. Information about the company, success stories, testimonials from other customers.
Remember that often people, when in doubt, tend to look for information about what other people are talking about the product or service, if it worked correctly for them, to get an opinion from other users.
5) Finishing the sale 2
In these latest emails, we can include clear intent to sell, including sales messages as well as calls to action.
And if possible, it would be better to offer a discount or some other incentive to finish convincing the customer to buy from us.
Sales strategies that you can use for your newsletters
When we are planning the email series, we can create a strategy to complete the sale and plan the emails that we will send to new subscribers.
There are several strategies to try to confirm the sales:
1) Direct sales strategy
In this case, we would try to sell from the first email, From the first newsletter.
It is a strategy that can work well in some specific cases, perhaps especially in aggressive sales strategies, or for high discounts.
This technique should be used with caution, as it doesn’t always give good results.
2) Less aggressive direct sales strategy
It is similar to the previous point, but less aggressive in its execution. For example, in a first email in the previous case, we could have a call to action like “buy now.”
And in this case, we could have something like “Visit our website and discover all the advantages. “
So we tried to convince the visitor to take a first step to buy, directing him to the website, where there will be more information to help and convince the potential customer to buy.
It is similar to:
3) Sales with Summary of Benefits
This is a variation, meaning you would not try to sell with the first email, only after the lead has already understood all the benefits of the product or service.
Although this strategy can be used from the first email, it is more likely that it would work best as we approach the end of the series, where we can summarize the advantages of the service, and try to sell at the right time.
4) Sales with special concession
In this case, the strategy is to try to offer a special concession to win over the lead and finalize the sale. It can be a discount, free shipping, services included, etc.
Anything to help us confirm the sale.
This strategy can be combined in some cases with a direct sale, as we saw earlier, ie try to sell from the beginning, but offering some special advantage.
5) Sales strategy with limited selection
This method requires knowledge about the customer, so would have to send some emails before, so we can know his preferences.
And just offer information or try to sell products that we know the customer might want to buy.
It is very similar to what Amazon does when you receive newsletters about related products.
It is a technique that requires correct segmentation of the mailing list.
6) problem when the lead doesn’t want to purchase
In this case, after sending the last email to try to sell, if the user doesn’t want to buy, we can try to send another email, asking directly why the user didn’t want to buy our product or hire or services.
Why he didn’t purchase?
- The problem is the price?
- The user didn’t find the necessary features?
- The user was not interested right from the start?
- Will he buy later?
And when receiving an answer, we try to negotiate.
We could, for example, try to offer the potential customer an advantage that may help to make him decide that he will purchase the product after all, (whenever it is advantageous for the company, of course).
We are finalizing the series of emails, but what if the user doesn’t want to buy?
If you have finished sending the newsletters and the user still doesn’t want to buy, you should not give up. Maybe he still has no confidence in the product, or he has some doubt that for some reason you could not clarify.
In this case, the ideal strategy is to have options to keep in contact with these potential customers.
For example, with content posted on a blog, videos, etc. This way, we can send them helpful content about the problem.
So gradually the lead will gain confidence, or will ask questions and that way, In the future he may be convinced to buy from the company.
The ideal strategy is to plan these publications, in a natural way, to keep the interest of potential customers without trying to sell on every sent newsletter, but addressing topics that are of interest to the subscriber in the email campaigns.
And occasionally commenting that we are experts in the industry, and trying to sell in a subtle way.
Now that we have a guide to creating content, we have to talk about a problem that causes a lot of confusion when creating newsletters:
- The design of the email.
Newsletter creation: Design and structure
The design of newsletters is a problem that has generated countless discussions and logically there was never agreement on all aspects. As usual.
There are people who like to send emails that include text only, others like to send graphic emails with several images. No matter which group you belong to, it is important to remember that:
You should not follow guides without knowing what you are doing.
You don’t have to send a “super-ornate” email graphically just because you believe that this is fashionable. You should do it this way only if you believe it is useful to meet the needs of your email marketing strategy.
If not, don’t create the email.
To facilitate, we will give you some tips on what you should not forget when creating your newsletter.
But first there is something you should never forget:
A newsletter is not an website
Mainly because email clients are more limited than web browsers. Even if the email client runs within a web browser, there are certain limitations.
This means that, in many cases, some features will not work:
- Background images
- Copy text directly from Word (copy formatting)
- External CSS files
- CSS in the header (<head>)
Aspects that we find on most web pages, offer serious limitations in email.
Especially on older email clients.
This is why we discussed in the opening chapters, before you send the newsletter, you should test it using as many email accounts and clients as possible.
How do you prepare a newsletter?
My advice when creating the newsletter is always the same, keep the design as simple as possible, creating compelling content, but that is useful and simple.
Without forgetting the fundamental aspects that can never be missed in all newsletters:
- The company logo
- Keeping corporate colors
- Unsubscribe links and web version
- Brief descriptive text of the email content
- Call to Action
These elements are essential and never should be missing from our emails.
Especially the call to action, the link that will direct the subscriber to the website or landing page.
It is important that the call to action is clear, as well as being clearly visible.
To see an example of this, let’s see an email:
If you notice it is a super simple newsletter with only one column. We have an image in the header with the company logo.
After that, a small descriptive text, where we explain to the reader what he will find in the email, and finally the call to action.
In fact, we don’t need anything else to achieve the purpose of the email, because what we want is for the subscriber to be convinced to click on the link to visit the website.
But let’s see another example, another email with more information.
The format is also simple:
- First, we can see the company logo
- After some links in a kind of menu
- Next, we have a big image, where the offer is explained, in addition to include the call to action
- This image gives place to another explanatory text, with another link which is also a call to action
- Social Networking Icons
- And the legal text
They are the right items, nothing more is needed.
What do we have to evaluate then, to create our newsletter?
Well, the email design should be consistent with the purpose of the newsletter.
Ultimately, the most important points that should be considered are the goal of the campaign and the call to action.
If your email has a specific goal, adding information about other products or services may not be worth it.
For example, if your goal is to sell a particular product, adding a second column with news may not help you to achieve the goal of the campaign.
What should we pay special attention to?
To the call to action.
The CTA will convince the subscriber to click (or not) and can make the difference in the success of the email marketing campaign.
Tips for creating effective calls to action for your newsletter
There are several points that you should not forget, if you want to create a really effective call to action for your newsletter:
It is useless to create a call to action that is not visible. That is why we have to make sure that the reader can see the call to action. Preferably it should be repeated at the beginning and at the end of the message.
Also with regard to design, it is important to note that the call to action should be as visible as possible, remember that it needs to stand out
from the rest of the content, so you could try to use different colors.
The message explaining what we want the subscriber to do should be clear, you should always avoid any ambiguity.
Whenever possible, try to be as specific as you can. That is, it’s better to use a call to action like “Buy now for only $ 2” than just “Buy now”.
Secondary call to action
Throughout the newsletter, you can add a second call to action. With another format and design, and even a different text.
You also don’t have to repeat the call to action many times, only a few times will be enough.
In case of doubt, many people before making a decision will prefer to know the opinion of other users.
Below the call to action, or in the call to action itself, you can include this information. Something like “More than 1,000 satisfied customers.” Or even customer feedback.
As with social proof, often the potential customer will need to feel confident so he can decide to purchase.
Payment security is very important for most people, so a secure means of payment or a clear return policy can be what the customer needs to purchase the product.
This information can be inserted near the CTA or even somehow on the call to action itself.
If the promotion is only available for a limited time, or if you decide that you will limit the validity period of the promotion, it is important to include this information in the call to action. Because the urgency is a great incentive for the potential customer to be persuaded to make the decision as soon as possible.
It’s also something that works great with the next point.
As the urgency, this is another aspect that will influence the customer to make the decision as soon as possible.
On the one hand, the temporal limitation of urgency, and on the other hand, creating a promotion with limited inventory or limited number of places is a great way to make the potential customer decide to buy before the promotion finish, or all the products are sold.
Finally, when creating the newsletter, remember that the customer’s attention is limited
This is why I have emphasized the need for creating a short newsletter:
Rarely your newsletter will be read to the end. Most people don’t have a lot of time, and
even subscribers with available time will probably not read all the email.
We all understand that when we receive an email, the message was sent for some specific reason, thus, the majority of subscribers would rather go straight to the point and see what the purpose of the message is, to see if they are interested or not.
So a concise email will help a lot more than an email full of details that almost nobody will read.
The secret is that the subscriber understands the purpose of the newsletter as soon as possible.