The Anatomy of a Newsletter: 10 Tips

How to write high quality email newsletters.

It took us a long time to start getting subscribers to our email newsletter. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. Once we finally did start getting some signups, increasing our click-through and open rates became the main focus. So we thought it would be helpful to summarize some things that we’ve learned along the way. So that you, our readers, can save time and headaches as you build a new channel for your online business.

  1. Set Expectations – People want to know what they’re getting and will be more likely to engage with you if you tell them. Clearly outline who you are and why your content will help them. Discuss the type of content they’re signing up for. Let them know the frequency and any additional expectations that may be relevant after they sign up.
  2. Focus your Content – A common mistake with email Newsletters is that people view them the same as a traditional print Newsletter. Print versions were typically targeted toward employees or key company stakeholders, and therefore they included little snapshots from all over the company. This is not the approach to take toward your audience of readers. Focusing on specific niche topics that are directly aligned with their interests is the way to go (we talk a LOT about content in our Guest Blogging Series)
  3. Don’t Over-Sell – Obviously, getting people to buy your products is one of the primary goals of any online business. But the best way to do that is to build a lasting relationship with them based on trust and value. If you’ve read our blog for any period of time, you’ll see a frequent theme. Create. Valuable. Content. That is the name of the game for internet marketers in 2018. Your newsletters should be mostly valuable information, and very little ‘sales’ language. We recommend only including one concise call to action at the most relevant part of the newsletter.
  4. Be Consistent – Stick to the expectations that you’ve set. Be consistent with your emailing and aim for the same day and time of the week. Keeping your article length and content structure consistent can help readers engage more as well. Being consistent with what you told readers up front when they signed up will help build trust between you and your audience. When readers trust you, they will be more likely to buy from you.
  5. Tickler Subject Lines – The subject line is like the headline for a newsletter. It should be short and descriptive, but also enticing and exciting. An approach that has seen a lot of success is the ‘This One Thing’ method. Think of a headline like ‘Increase your email conversions with this ONE simple trick’. This subject line does 3 things: 1. It tells readers what they’ll gain, 2. It creates a sense of urgency and timeliness, and 3. It conveys that the content covered is not complex. This is just one example, and there are lots of other methods. Just remember to tickle their fancy.
  6. Craft a good ‘hook’ – Once your reader has clicked on your newsletter with an engaging subject, you want to reaffirm them and ‘hook’ them into the rest of the content. Provide some additional context as to why your content is better than the rest. Make sure the reader knows that after reading your full newsletter, they’ll know how to solve the problem you’ve outlined (A ‘hook’ is similar to a ‘pitch’ which we cover in depth here).
  7. Focus your Call to Action – Now that the reader is hooked in and you’ve provided on your promise, tell them what else they can do. You should only include one call to action in your email, since creating value is your main focus. The call to action should ideally support the content that you’re delivering. Locate it in a section that flows logically with what you’re discussing. For example: if your email newsletter is talking about how to groom a pet and there is a section about trimming hair, you could include an affiliate link to a hair trimmer at that point.
  8. White Space, Concise Copy – Like we mentioned before, newsletters are not full company update documents. They’re short and to the point. Meant to be read in a single session while riding an elevator or sitting in a waiting room. Content that is broken up into paragraphs and utilizes appropriate white space is great for email. This type of content is easily digestible, and can also be displayed easily across a wide range of devices and platforms.
  9. SPAM & Unsubscribe Options – You should make sure you’re aware of any specific SPAM laws in your country or locality. For most people in the US, CAN-SPAM of 2013 is the name of the game. For those in the EU, the GDPR regulations will take effect in May 2018. Know the laws and regulations that apply to you. If you’re not sure, consult a lawyer. At the very least, you should notify readers when they’re signing up for something, and also provide visible and easy to use unsubscribe features.
  10. Test, Adjust, Repeat – Another common theme on our blog. The internet marketers code. Don’t just set it and forget it, take note of what types of articles perform better than others. Hone your content to focus on the things that work best. Try different tactics to entice users to convert. Most importantly, keep the content fresh. Don’t let the topics become stale and generic. Look at what others are writing about. Stay up on industry trends. Deliver what people want to read and engage with them to find out more.

There is a lot that goes into a successful email newsletter. In addition to good writing, online business admins will often times set up lead funnels and marketing campaigns to support them. We’ll be covering those topics in future posts. For now, if you want more information, sign up for OUR newsletter below:


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