10 Tips for Starting a Great Small Business Marketing Newsletter

Setup an Automatic Welcome Email

Whether your website visitors have volunteered their email addresses or they simply signed up for the newsletter during the checkout process of your website’s store, they all deserve a nice welcome aboard for doing so. Having an automatic welcome email send out as soon as they sign up shows your appreciation for their interest and should contain some basic information about what they can expect to receive in your newsletters. You can also encourage them to explore other parts of your website, direct them to your social media pages for discounts or a calendar with upcoming events.

Create a Catchy Subject Line

The subject line needs to be creative, interesting, clever and most importantly, related to the content in the newsletter. Deceiving the reader is a big no-no and can lead to a quick delete. Or worse, the reader unsubscribing. Stay focused on your primary goal, and intrigue the reader to the point where they have an idea of what the email contains, but want to open the email and read the rest to find out the details.

Create and Stick with a Design

Whichever layout you end up using for your newsletters should be the layout you plan on using for most of the year. Keeping a consistent look and feel helps reminder your readers where certain information is typically found. Whether it’s upcoming events, discounts, or featured products the easier it is for your readers to find and use the information they’re looking for – the better. When you’re creating a template to use for the new year, it is a good opportunity to tie in the design of your newsletter with the same colors and fonts as your website and other marketing material.

Make Content Easy to Read

Making sure the content is brief and to the point is important in keeping the readers engaged. Utilizing large headers with easy to ready fonts can help direct the reader find the portion of the newsletter that they are most interested in. Instead of scattering images, try choosing one large image in the header and shake up your font colors or text block backgrounds. Don’t forget to utilize white space and increased line height to make text more legible.

Include Social Media Buttons

This is an easy and obvious one. Always include links to your Google Plus, Facebook, and Twitter pages. For your fans that don’t think a monthly newsletter is enough for them, a closer attachment to your business through a social media platform could be the perfect solution.

Follow a Consistent Schedule

Sit down and layout your schedule for when you plan to send each newsletter. Piggyback onto local events and holidays and give yourself enough time in between to write worthwhile content. Over 20% of newsletters get opened within the first hour of delivery, so plan on sending them during hours that your readers are awake, but think about what your readers’ schedules are and what they are doing and adjust your schedule accordingly.

Test Before You Send

All email clients and mobile devices display email differently. Send test emails to some friends or colleagues or use a testing program such as Email on Acid or Litmus, to make sure everything looks and works well.

Measure What Works

Online newsletter services such as MailChimp and Constant Contact are great for providing you with statistical information about each newsletter you send out. Tying the external links (see #6) into your Google Analytics account is even better for seeing what the readers did when they arrived back on your website via the newsletter. Keep an eye on all of this data and what seems to work, but don’t rely on it completely. Practice will help you refine what works for your customers.

Always Have a Call to Action

Without a specific call to action, you are leaving your readers hanging out to dry with no purpose. Every newsletter you send needs to give the readers a clear idea of what they need to do next. An effective call to action can typically be done with two to five words and should include some urgent (not stressful) language. Shop Now, Download the PDF Today, 20% Off This Weekend all clearly state what the next step is for the reader. Lastly, make it easier on your readers by only giving them one clear call to action per newsletter. You can include sub calls to action but make sure it is clear which one is the focal point.

Provide Links and Track Them

Always include links to your website’s homepage, your directions page (if you have a brick and mortar), the contact page, and anything else that could be useful in the event that your reader needs some information fast. Ensure all of these links are tagged correctly with your Google Analytics account to help provide tracking data once users arrive at your website.