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You already know that “email-marketing” is incredibly important. But, it can be hard.

Newsletters are those regular emails that go out to your list of subscribers. They come in many different shapes and sizes and they are widely recognised as being important pieces of content for online business owners. They can foster connection and community and even drive sales. A couple of months ago, a client of mine made a $6,000 sale from one subscriber alone.

But they are a very long game. Like most forms of content marketing, it can take ages to see the fruits of your hard labour. Many people give up too early.

But, it’s incredibly important to keep connecting with your list regularly, for example weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Being inconsistent or waiting long periods of time between communications can be detrimental to your lists engagement. People get bored or annoyed. Let’s avoid that.

Planning Your Newsletter

What is your newsletter?

Your newsletter is a lovely little gift people receive each week/fortnight. It’s a great opportunity for you to connect with and provide value to your community in a direct and intimate way.

So, let’s talk about some questions to get you started thinking about your newsletter strategy:

What special value to your subscribers does your newsletter provide?
Your newsletter might be a special way for you to connect with your community, provide them an insider look into your business, or create special content for them. This is important. People are opting into a newsletter because they perceive it to have value. So, you need to be clear on what the value is to your readers.

Will you send it weekly, fortnightly or monthly?
Choose a frequency that best suits you and your readers. Pick a schedule and stick to it.

Will you be doing any special series or offers?
For things like Christmas, Valentines Day etc? Series content can really jog your ideas. If there are any holiday specific content that you might like to create for your list, definitely brainstorm it.

What about recurring content?
Will you have a regular tip section? Inspirational picture?

What next?

Plan out your next few issues
You’ll want to plan out the main topic of your newsletters, call to actions etc. over a period of time. I suggest no more than 3 months in advance if you’re just starting out and you’re sending weekly or fortnightly. You want to give yourself room to adjust and adapt to trends and changes.

If you’re sending just once a month – you can probably plan your next 6-12 months.

What makes a great newsletter?

Many things make a great newsletter, there isn’t a magic bullet. However, there are some things that are broadly true.

Ginny Mineo over at Hubspot wrote a great piece a while ago that is still a relevant resource for newsletter strategy and tips. In particular, Ginny’s points about providing a balance of content (90% informative, 10% promotional), making sure your subject lines are good, as well as keeping it down to a singular call to action are great tips and you should definitely keep them in mind.

Tori Tsu’s short but very informative piece over on the Vertical Response blog is a recent publication and very digestible. Tori also gets bonus points for Golden Girl references. I really like Tori’s list of the kind of content you might think about putting into a newsletter including: blog posts, reviews, interesting facts, competitions, photos and more. Thanks Tori!

For a round up of excellent examples from other content creators, Danielle Corcione has curated a wonderful set of stories over on The Content Strategist and it is definitely worth checking out. I was especially intrigued by Ann Friedman’s model that includes sourcing content from others, exclusive content for paying subscribers and classified ads!


More in depth information?

If you’re hungry for more in depth ways to plan your newsletters, Get Response’s amazing white paper How to Write Newsletters that Get Opened Read and Clicked is a phenomenal resource with loads of tips and exercises in it to get you really thinking about your newsletter strategy in depth.

But, if you’re just starting to get your toes wet and want a more simplified workbook, check out my own Newsletter Toolkit and Planner.