Email newsletters are a great way to establish brand credibility and build long-term customer relationships. More than 80 percent of marketers use newsletters to promote their content.

However, attracting subscribers and growing an email list requires planning and a clear strategy. Here, we’ll look at how to get an email newsletter up and running, and describe various ways to attract more subscribers.

More than 80% of marketers use newsletters to promote their content Click To Tweet

 

How to Start an Email Newsletter

1. Figure Out Your Newsletter’s Goal

How does your newsletter fit into your larger content strategy? Whether you’re trying to increase brand awareness or generate sales leads, the content you choose should reflect your marketing goals.

 

2. Design Your Template

The design should make it easy for recipients to scan and click elements of the email. This means it should be mobile-friendly, too. According to one study, 70 percent of consumers delete emails immediately that don’t render well on a mobile device.

 

3. Gather Great Content

To reduce email unsubscribe rates, make sure your content is high quality. As long as it’s entertaining, useful, and thought-provoking enough, people will look forward to it. Just make sure it’s well-edited. If there are any mistakes, it reflects badly on your business.

 

4. Use Email Marketing Tools

Email marketing services such as Constant Contact, Drip, AWeber, MailChimp, and GetResponse make it easy to manage email campaigns. Don’t miss out on their marketing power.

 

5. Welcome and Thank New Subscribers

To build trust, send out automatic welcome emails to new subscribers. Let them know their subscription was successful and introduce them to your brand.

 

6. Pick a Consistent Day and Time to Email

Try split testing different send times to see which ones increase engagement. When you know, be upfront about your email frequency; users will feel more comfortable opening subsequent emails.

 

7. Segment Your Email Lists by Buyer Persona

People are more likely to read emails that cater to their specific needs, so create multiple subscription personas based on when people chose to subscribe. According to HubSpot, targeting emails by persona increases email click-through rates by 16 percent.

Targeting emails by persona increases email click-through rates by 16 percent. Click To Tweet

 

 

How to Grow Your Email List

According to one study, email marketing databases degrade by about 22.5 percent every year. But with the right strategies, you can avoid this. Here are seven ways to help your list grow over time:

1. Clearly Display Email Newsletter Opt-ins

Make it easier for visitors to find your email sign-up form. Here are some of the most common locations:

  • At the end of blog posts.
  • In exit-intent pop-up forms.
  • On your checkout page, if you’re in ecommerce.
  • In a blog’s comment box, to allow people to leave comments.
  • On your website’s homepage, in the header, sidebar, or footer.
  • In notification bars that “stick” to the top or bottom of a website.
  • In your email signatures, inserted as a link to a subscription page.

Test different placements and see what works for you. And remember to make your forms simple – people don’t like filling out long, complicated forms.

2. Encourage Sharing

To encourage email sharing, add social media share buttons or email forwarding options to each message. At the bottom of emails, include a “Subscribe” CTA link so that anyone receiving a forwarded email can easily opt-in.

3. Create a Gated Content Offer

Gated content is content that can only be accessed after a user provides information through a form. Examples of gated content include ebooks, whitepapers, and case studies. Giving people a good reason to subscribe is one of the easiest ways to grow your list. For more ideas, visit our Guide to Gating Content.

 

4. Use Content Upgrades

A content upgrade is an offer of bonus content that relates to the topic of an existing article. Develop an existing piece of content into an in-depth guide and offer it to users in return for their email address.

 

5. Promote Your Newsletter on Social Media

Some social media sites make it easy to add a newsletter signup option to your account page. Facebook is a good example. Otherwise, add a newsletter sign-up link to your about section.

 

6. Collect Email Addresses Offline

Use trade shows to collect signups in-person. If you have a physical store, ask customers at the register if they’d like to sign up to your newsletter for exclusive news and offers.

 

7. Insert Videos

According to one study, around half of marketers who used video in email campaigns saw increased click-through rates, increased time spent reading the email, and increased sharing and forwarding.

Because many email clients don’t support video play within email, you could display a screenshot of the video with a link to where the video is hosted.

 

8. Dedicated Landing Page

When it comes to high conversion rates, it is hard to beat a dedicated landing page. A landing page will usually have one goal, so your visitors have fewer options available to them. You can include a call-to-action at the end of your article, in a notification bar and in the blog sidebar.

A dedicated landing page can disrupt the blog experience, so you could include a link back to the blog for those uninterested in your email offer. A benefit of a landing page over opt-in boxes is the potential to include more selling points, making the visitor motivated and eager to join your list. There are many professional writers specifically dedicated to creating the very best landing page for your website.

Related Reading: 8 Tips for Creating Landing Pages that Convert (With Examples)

 

 

4 Tips for Making Your Email Marketing Smarter

1. Experiment With Your Email Timing

When it comes to email marketing, there’s truth to the adage “Timing is everything.” Studies have shown that certain days of the week and times of the day result in better open and click-through rates.

For example, Tuesday was found to be the best day for sending a marketing email, with Thursday coming in a close second. The best time of day for sending your email is 10 AM, followed by the evening window of 8 PM to midnight.

Of course, these time frames won’t be ideal for every business and every audience. If they were, inboxes would be deluged with email every Tuesday morning at 10:00. Your best bet is to test out some of the popular timing strategies and compare your open and click-through rates to find your audience’s sweet spot.

 

2. Explore the Advanced Features of Your Marketing Automation Platform

Are you getting the most bang for your buck from your marketing automation system? Chances are, there are some helpful advanced features that you’re not using. Many systems allow you to perform A/B testing, preview your marketing emails across different devices and platforms and do sophisticated reporting and analysis. Understanding and utilizing these features will help you understand what your audience likes to see and will ultimately make your emails more successful.

 

3. Use Customer Data to Design Better Emails

Your own customer data can play a big role in boosting the performance of your emails. One of the easiest and most effective ways to utilize this data is through personalization. Amazon is a great example of a major player that relies on a personalized approach to emails. You never get an email from Amazon that says “Dear customer” – their messages always address you by name. Delivering personalized emails increases click rates by 41% and is supported by most marketing automation platforms.

Another way to make your customer data work for you is segmentation. When you segment your subscriber database, you can send email campaigns that more accurately target your audience. How you split up your subscriber list will depend on your business and your goals.

You may want to segment based on geographic location or by industry or, if you market your product or service to other businesses, it can be helpful to segment by company size. You might even segment your list based on where they are in the sales cycle. Leads who are ready to buy could receive a trial offer, while those are earlier in the sales cycle may appreciate an informative article.

4. Make Sure Your Emails are Mobile-Friendly

A whopping 54% of emails are opened on mobile devices. When someone opens up an email on their phone or tablet and finds that the message isn’t optimized for their device, they are much more likely to ignore it, or worse, delete it or unsubscribe from your list.

54% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Click To Tweet

A few key changes can ensure that your emails are optimized for mobile users:

  • Use responsive design: Most of the major email service providers offer this functionality, which optimizes the user experience across different devices and screen sizes.
  • Create short headlines: Subject lines are critical – keep yours short and simple so subscribers can understand exactly what the email is about.
  • Make your call-to-action easy to click: Text links might work well for tablet users, but they might be tricky for users with small smartphone screens. Be sure your CTAs are big and easily clickable.

 

Examples of Awesome Email Newsletter Templates

Death to Stock Photo

Death to Stock Photo is a not your typical stock photography website. Here is one of their monthly emails where they share the latest pack of not-stock images along with a few bonuses.

 

J Crew

Directional cues can help guide viewers to your call to action. This email newsletter from J Crew shows how you can combine high-quality images with directional suggestions for impressive results.

Convince & Convert

When it comes to email marketing, it always helps to stick out from the crowd. Convince & Convert’s newsletter is a wonderful reminder that email marketing is still about providing value. They skip all the email marketing gimmicks and put the entire blog post directly in the email (complete with “Click to Tweet” links and all.)

 

Taking It Further

As well as being a tool for lead generation and customer retention, an email newsletter is a great way to learn how your target audience reacts to your brand over time.

Use these strategies to grow your newsletter and keep tracking the results. Test different sign-up forms, using different button colors, fonts, and language. In time, you’ll find out what works best for your business.