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How to create an email newsletter in 8 simple steps

Email newsletters are a great way to build brand awareness with existing and potential customers - keeping your business in the forefront of their minds and helping to position you as an expert in your field. Want to know how to create an email newsletter that'll boss your marketing efforts? Read on.

Email marketing is a really powerful way of promoting your business and its services to existing and potential customers.

It can also work to build trust and greater recognition, so that when your services are needed, your business is the first port of call.

But how do you create an email newsletter in the first place? What tools should you use and what content should you include?

In this post, we’ll cover how to make an email newsletter and how to send an email newsletter, step-by-step.

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How to create an email newsletter in 8 steps

Before you create your email newsletter, you need to set up your newsletter email list – that is, your email recipients.

We have a great article that explains how to create an email subscription list:

1. Choose your email newsletter tool

With your mailing list in hand, you need to select the software you’ll use to create and send your email newsletters.

There are various providers to choose from, but we’ll loosely base this on how to create a newsletter in Mailchimp. Its free plan makes it a good option for small businesses.

If you want to shop around, look for software that:

  • Sits comfortably within your marketing budget
  • Has the capabilities you’re looking for
  • Matches your technical skills

2. Set a goal for your newsletter

As with any marketing activity, your newsletter should align with your marketing strategy and help you to achieve your objectives. For example, a newsletter can be a great lead generation strategy.

To that end, before you put ‘pen to paper’, set a goal for your newsletter and use this as the framework for creating your content.

Some helpful questions to ask yourself:

  • Why am I sending out this newsletter?
  • What is its purpose and what am I aiming to achieve?
  • What action do I want recipients to take when they read this content?

For example, do you want to push people toward a competition you’re running on your social media platforms? Do you want people to contact you to book your services? Do you want to let people know about a new service you’re offering, with perhaps an exclusive discount to encourage uptake?

Without a clear objective, your content will lack direction and it’ll fail to resonate with subscribers.

3. Select a template and personalise it

Your email newsletter template is the framework within which your content will sit.

Email marketing software normally has a selection of templates to choose from. And most will guide you through how to create a newsletter template too.

You’ll then want to personalise your template with your company branding so that it can be instantly recognisable as part of your brand.

When doing this, keep it simple. Remember:

  • Short, concise pieces of content are more likely to be read
  • You want your recipient to read, scan, and click on the elements you want them to (your ‘Call to Action’ or ‘CTA’)
  • A lot of people open their emails on their mobile phones, so make sure your template looks good on mobile

Finally, set your email newsletter size. Most email newsletter providers will default your newsletter size, so check this works with your content and design before sending.

4. Pull your content together

Now for the important part: what is it you want to share with your mailing list?

Always have your newsletter at the back of your mind as you go about your daily activities, and make a note of anything that you see that might work well in it. Having a few ideas in your back pocket will save you time and stress when it comes to creating your email newsletter.

When you’re ready to start creating your email newsletter, drop your content into the main body of the template.

Follow these tips to make your content sing:

  • Break the text up by including some relevant, professional images that will inspire readers to click through
  • Bunch your content into sections using subheadings and specific CTAs to make it easier to navigate and less overwhelming to read
  • Keep your content concise and to the point.
  • Make sure your content is relevant, useful, and interesting for your readers
  • Personalise your content, for example, addressing the recipient by name

Most importantly, ask someone to read your content before it’s sent. Once it’s gone it’s gone. Errors, typos, and spelling mistakes will make you look unprofessional. 

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5. Decide on your subject line

No pressure, but what you put in your subject line is critical.

The wording you choose is what’s going to make people open – or ignore – your email. So, take your time here and think of something enticing.

You also need to choose your sender name (how your name appears in the recipient’s inbox). To build trust, use a name that they’ll recognise.

6. Check the technical details and test

Some email providers won’t load images, CTAs or HTML. So, it’s important to add alt text and a plain text version to get around this.

  • Adding alt text provides context about what your image or CTA is if a recipient’s email provider doesn’t load them
  • Adding plain text will mean the email newsletter will still look good even if their email provider doesn’t load HTML

Most software will allow you to preview and test your email newsletter in different browsers (Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome, Safari etc) and with different email providers (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, AOL etc).

7. Make sure you’re acting within the law

Legally, you cannot send marketing emails to anyone you want. People have to opt in to be on your subscriber list and agree to receive your content.

This is covered by GDPR law.

Similarly, you must include a footer in your email with your email address and a straightforward way for people to unsubscribe should they wish.

8. Press send!

With your subscriber list in hand, your content looking sharp, and the techie bits ironed out, you’re ready to hit send!

Don’t forget, if you want to get maximum impact from your email marketing, dip back into your email newsletter tool to see how your newsletter performed.

  • How many people opened your email?
  • Which part of your email got the most clicks?
  • How did it help you to achieve the goals you set out to reach?

This information can help to guide you when creating content for future newsletters.

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How do you send a newsletter via email?

If you don’t want to use email marketing software, you might be wondering how to send a newsletter via email instead.

Some of the popular ways to send a newsletter via email are to:

  • Include the newsletter as an attachment
  • Embed the newsletter within the body of the email

How to send a newsletter in Gmail

To send a newsletter in Gmail, you can embed it within the body of an email. This makes it more eye-catching when your recipient opens the email.

To do this, you’ll need to convert your newsletter PDF file to a JPEG. A quick search online should help you to find a free tool to do this.

Once you’ve converted the PDF to a JPEG, download it to your computer.

Next, click on ‘compose’ to create a new email. Then click on ‘insert photo’ along the bottom ribbon and click ‘upload’.

For how to send a newsletter in Outlook, you can also follow the steps above.

Whichever email provider you use, you must make sure you add your subscribers’ email addresses in the ‘BCC’ section of your compose box, not ‘To’ or ‘CC’.

This means that your recipients will not see the email addresses on your mailing list, and most importantly, that you don’t compromise their privacy and breach GDPR.

FAQs

How do you format an email like a newsletter?

To format an email like a newsletter, put your content into a newsletter template (within Google Docs, for example). Personalise your newsletter template and copy it over to your email account to send it.

How do I create an email newsletter for free?

It is possible to send an email newsletter from your own email provider for free. But for a more professional look, choose an email marketing software provider, such as Mailchimp. Its free marketing plan gives you all the basics to get started as a small business.

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