How to Write an Email Newsletter That Builds Lasting Relationships
If you think it’s time to learn how to write an email newsletter, you might be venturing into this type of email marketing for your clients or your own business.
Business owners and executives know their success relies on a critical transformation:
Turning prospects into customers.
But that’s just the beginning …
Most businesses aren’t sustainable if their customers only buy once. Those customers need to become repeat customers.
Then, once you’ve built enough trust and loyalty, there’s still one more step that will get maximum value …
Getting those same customers to wave your flag … talk up your marketing story on social media … and tell their friends, family, and anyone else they run into about how great your company is.
In other words, the final transformation your business needs to facilitate is turning customers into brand advocates.
Digital Commerce Partners is the agency division of Copyblogger, and we specialize in delivering targeted organic traffic for growing digital businesses.
One of the best ways to do this is with an email newsletter.
When you learn how to write an email newsletter, you’ll discover that this type of content engages your audience regularly and keeps your business top of mind.
It also puts a human face on your business, one capable of building relationships with customers and prospects.
4 steps to write an email newsletter
Now, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula …
Newsletter writing varies depending on the company’s goals, tone, and brand. And there are a lot of different elements you can pick and choose from to help yours stand out.
But the newsletter writing process is the same, no matter how you start writing or what the final product looks like.
So I’m going to show you, step by step, how to write a good newsletter, whether you’re writing for your own business or for a client.
Step #1: Determine the content approach
There are a few different styles of email newsletters, and all of them have pluses. Choosing the right one is just a matter of what works best for your purpose, along with personal preference.
Let’s take a look at a few options.
You’ll write fresh, original articles based on your own research and/or information from your client.
You’ll write insights about breaking news or current events in your industry, or respond to articles or blog posts you’ve found that are relevant to your audience.
Another option when you write an email newsletter for your business is to begin with original content and then add in curated content.
With a digest-style newsletter, you’ll write brief descriptions or “teasers” that link to full-length articles on the web.
POV (point of view)
A POV-style newsletter comes from one person’s perspective — usually someone well-known in their niche or industry.
So if you’re running a business and you have an audience that knows who you are and wants to hear directly from you — or if you’re working for a client who fits this description — this style makes sense.
Now, once you’ve chosen which newsletter style to use, your next step is to decide which pieces of content to include.
Step #2: Map out the content elements
No matter which content approach you choose, you’ll have plenty of flexibility when it comes to the content.
This will help you tailor the newsletter you write to the specific needs and wants of your audience. And it will help you craft a personality for your business.
Think about it …
If you’re learning how to write an email newsletter for a skateboard shop, or a vintage clothing store, your content will likely be more fun and casual than if you’re writing for a bank or an accountant.
Either way, you can still be true to the brand you’re writing for, and the newsletter’s mission, when you choose your content.
So here’s a partial list of content elements you might include, in addition to your featured articles.
You have a few options for beginning your newsletter.
Often, you’ll start with a warm, friendly greeting. Make the reader feel like part of your community, since they’ve signed up to be on your subscriber list.
But you could also begin with a short “teaser” and then link to a longer article, if you’re using a digest-style approach.
You could even dive straight into your feature article.
Whatever type of introduction you use, make sure it’s relevant, useful, and riveting. It MUST pull the reader into the content.
Sidebars and graphics
You can add bullet points, quotes, stats, charts, photos, and more to the sidebar. These are punchy, concise, and add a visually appealing element that brings your newsletter to life.
Just make sure anything you include supports the content and isn’t there just for show.
Stories that center on a problem and solution, or a before-and-after makeover, inspire people and provide a powerful form of proof.
It’s even better when the reader can relate to the person in the story.
Think about someone who faced a challenge in their business but overcame it and is thriving. Or someone who faced a health scare but is now the picture of fitness. That makes for a compelling story.
Tips and tricks
You can write short, practical, how-to hacks that add great value to your readers in a small amount of space.
These don’t have to be full articles. A list of tips — or even just one useful tip — is an effective use of space when you write an email newsletter.
Q & A
Another good option is to answer one or two of the most asked questions your business gets.
Or solicit questions from subscribers on social media and pick one or two that you want to answer.
Fact is, your subscribers will always have questions. And you’ll foster goodwill by taking the time to answer them and show that you’re listening.
This is a great way to let your newsletter “humanize” your business. You can put a face to the business by introducing a member of the staff and letting your readers get to know them on a more personal level.
After all, people like doing business with other people.
Even though the main purpose of writing an email newsletter is typically to engage with your customers and prospects, and build relationships with them, that doesn’t mean you can’t do any selling.
In fact, offering exclusive savings or deals in the newsletter will make subscribers feel like they’re on the inside and getting something special — which they are.
Calendar of events
Newsletters are also meant to keep people updated on important information, including dates and events.
Like most options, this might not be relevant for every type of business.
But an accountant will want to include tax deadlines in their newsletter. A youth sports league should include registration deadlines. A local theater company can advertise show dates.
And there are still loads of other things you can include …
Again, depending on the type of business you need to write an email newsletter for, you can use your imagination to come up with all kinds of fun ideas.
Step #3: Research how to write a good newsletter
The research you do for your email newsletter will depend on the content elements you include.
And now that you’ve mapped out your newsletter, you’ll gather whatever information and resources you need.
- Search for relevant articles, blog posts, videos, and social media content that will help you write or that you will respond to
- If you’re writing for a client, get any resources they can provide
- Conduct any interviews you need with customers or staff
- Gather links, graphics, or images you want to include
And that leads to the final step for writing a good email newsletter …
Step #4: Write the content
With all of your planning and research complete, it’s time to write the newsletter.
Just like with your research, the type of content you include will determine what you write.
But whether you’re using feature articles, digest-style teasers, original content, blended content, sidebars, or anything else, there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind while you write.
Craft an irresistible subject line
The subject line is one thing you’ll need no matter what type of newsletter you write.
And it’s crucial that you write an email subject line that stands out in your reader’s crowded inbox, grabs their attention, and offers a compelling reason to open the email right away. Otherwise, all the work you put into the newsletter’s content won’t matter.
So hint at something that’s inside… offer an intriguing benefit the reader will get from opening right away … or remind them why they signed up in the first place.
Make sure the newsletter’s voice, tone, and style represent the company
An email newsletter is an extension of the company’s brand. And it’s a relationship-building tool.
So if the company’s website, emails, and social media are fun and hip, the newsletter should be, too.
But a credit card company or a charity that provides disaster relief shouldn’t have a jokey newsletter. Their newsletter’s tone should match their mission.
You always have to engage your reader, though. Even if you want to learn how to write an email newsletter for a more formal company, you can’t bore them or they’ll stop reading.
So always write human to human. Because you can’t persuade someone to keep reading, forge a connection, or build a relationship if your reader feels like they’re hearing from a faceless business.
Don’t make the reader work hard
Since so many readers view their email on a smartphone, it’s best to keep your email newsletters on the short side. This will help them avoid endless scrolling.
You should also break up your content with subheadings and bullet points, when applicable. And use short sentences and paragraphs. This will make your newsletter easier to skim and scan.
Newsletter writing that works
With so much flexibility in terms of style and content, you can learn how to write an email newsletter that fits your mission perfectly.
Whatever tone you want it to have … however you want to engage with your audience … whatever content will entertain, inform, and persuade them … you have the freedom to create.
This will help you build strong, lasting relationships with your prospects and customers, so they become your biggest advocates.
And if you want to learn more about email newsletter writing that works, don’t forget to grab the free ebook below …