After posting all about the reasons to start a newsletter for your blog a couple of weeks back, I had a few people wondering how they’d go about starting one, so I thought it would be a good idea and beneficial if I put together the ultimate guide to starting an email newsletter!
If you’re not sure what an email newsletter is, then an email newsletter is basically a marketing and communication tool that you can use to target a specific group and provide some form of service with. For my newsletter, I use it to provide support, advice and tips to a community of people interested in wellbeing and mental health.
You can have complete freedom with creating your email newsletter in terms of who you want to target, what it’s about, how often you send it out and many other amazing benefits! Check out my reasons to start a newsletter blog post for more on this.
So how do you start an email newsletter?
1. Come up with an idea
Before you plan on sending out your first issue, you need to come up with an idea. This can be one of the most difficult parts so it’s good to start with this part first. Most people when they think about starting a newsletter wonder what they possibly could use as their topic idea.
If you already have a blog, you might find it pointless to have a newsletter because you feel you already touch on these certain topics on your blog. I thought the same. I wondered what else I could offer other than what I was already posting about on my blog.
But your blog is the perfect place to start.
What is your blog about? What categories do you focus on? What are your key topics? What is your overall theme? What is the message you send out on your blog?
For me, I write a blog about beauty, lifestyle and mental health/wellbeing. I touched a lot on mental health and wellbeing throughout the summer and this was something I found I wanted to add to but in a different way to really be able to connect with people more.
Answering these questions will help you to build a bigger picture as to what your blog is and the areas you already focus on. From this, you’re able to see what areas you might wish to focus more on in your newsletter because these topics could be more focused or you might find you haven’t been putting as much attention on one particular topic in a way that you want to.
Now you can see what you can offer.
What else can you give either from these topics or to your audience?
Is there a certain skill you have that you haven’t quite shared yet like your amazing interior skills or how you keep on track of your finances each month?
Have you experienced something that has taught you a lot and you feel like you could be there for other people? E.g your life at university or your dating experiences.
Is there a passion or interest you want to touch more on? Or perhaps there is a topic you’ve never talked about very much and you want to be able to share it because you’re so interested and passionate about it?
This is a chance for you to get specific and find a topic that you are most drawn to. By doing this, you’re going to be able to bring in and focus on a certain group of people which will make your newsletter more personal and relatable.
If you’re still finding it hard to come up with some topic ideas, then why not think more about your audience?
What do they already love from you?
What type of audience do you wish to attract to your newsletter?
Is it the same audience from your blog but more specific people?
Do you want to build a completely different audience compared with your blog and have a separate community?
Here are some ideas you might wish to use or could bounce inspiration off…
- A book club – a newsletter to share your current reads, what’s on your to-do read list, a book club to build an interactive community around, your top reads or your top tips to managing a book collection like where to store your books, what to do with old books etc.
- Relationships – advice on dating, how to deal with breakups, what you’ve learnt from past relationships, the reality of a long-term relationship etc.
- Mindfulness – help people navigate their way through life with mindfulness practices like how to be more mindful every day, how to practice being mindful and other wellbeing focused topics.
- Photography – how to take photos different times of the year, the best cameras on the market, your essential photography kit, photography ideas etc.
- UK travel guide – sharing your favourite cities to visit in the UK, must-see attractions in the UK, how to pack for a holiday in the UK, how to save money by staying in the UK etc.
- Tall style – sharing how to dress and style your taller figure, the best places to shop, styles to avoid or ways to make styles you should avoid flatter you.
When you have a few ideas, make a list of all the ideas you have, no matter how weird or random they may be. The more you write down, the more chance you have of coming up with new ideas from these original ideas. Feel free to keep adding to this list over the course of a few days or whenever inspiration strikes.
Also, make a note of any features you want to include in your email newsletter like lists, your favourite articles from the internet, freebies you might offer etc.
2. Work on your branding
Once you’ve come up with your idea, it is next time to move onto the branding side of things. If you already have a blog, then you may be fairly aware of what your overall branding is. Your newsletter can reflect this but you can throw twists on it to suit your newsletter. This will help to keep brand consistency and make people recognise you easier.
The best place to start is with a name. I find names so hard. I always take to the likes of Instagram and Twitter to help me decide what names to go for. This can really be helpful to see what your audience likes and takes to the most.
You want the name of your email newsletter to reflect your overall idea and also your brand.
Mine is ‘Live Happier With Lauren’ because I want to focus on improving your mental health and wellbeing so you can live a more fulfilling life through ‘Live Happier’. The ‘With Part Lauren’ comes from my brand which is myself and where I have mentioned my own name on my blog.
When deciding on a name, you also want to opt for something that is rememberable, catchy and personal. You want people to be able to remember the name for your newsletter each time it hits their inboxes and for it to be so catchy that they pick up on it quickly when you’re talking about it on your socials.
The next part of your branding to work on is your colours. You want your colours to reflect your overall theme and what goes well together for it to flow. Sticking to 3 colours is always a good idea. This can mean a primary colour and two accent colours.
Try to consider the type of colours you go for and what mood and tone they set. If you’re writing a newsletter on mindfulness, then calming colours like blue that help to promote calmness and concentration rather than red which provides a more physical harsh reaction.
Or if you’re writing a newsletter all about your travels and travelling tips, then you’re going to want to opt for warmer tones like red, orange or yellow which can symbolise excitement, adventure and happiness.
You also want to apply this same strategery to deciding the fonts you use. Fonts help to set moods and tones as well. If you want to be informative and bold with what you’re talking about, then your font needs to reflect this. It needs to be striking and clear.
Whereas if you want something a lot more light-hearted and almost romantic, then whimsical writing will suit your newsletter theme best.
The same can be said with your logo. You want it to also be recognisable and for it to sum up your brand well. You want the colours to match the colours of the theme of your newsletter to maintain consistency.
Canva is a great place to find logo designs and to create your own logo with ease. There are loads of different shapes, colours, texts and illustrations that you can use to help achieve your logo. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find one you’re happy with!
The final design stage of your branding comes down to your theme. Your theme needs to be well designed, reflect the personality of your newsletter through consistency of each design part, easy to navigate and be clear so people can access and enjoy the newsletter without any issue.
Your theme will be the one thing that ties everything together and will play the role of a template each time you put together a newsletter.
The final stage of branding is about focusing on your values and USP. Your values are what your newsletter stands for, the goals and ambitions you have, as well as what it can provide to people.
I want to be able to remind people that you can take a few moments out of your day to sit down and invest some time in improving your own well-being through the use of my newsletter. My main goal is to provide weekly tips, advice, a check-in of support and other useful resources for people to use.
Have a good think of what your brand values for your own newsletter might be. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and think about what you truly want out of your newsletter.
Do you want to help people?
How do you want to help people?
Do you want to entertain people?
What will make it entertaining and how will you go about it?
Do you want to share other resources and content you’ve created?
Do you want to promote services and other offerings?
When it comes to your USP (unique selling point), you need to understand your brand better and why you are putting together this newsletter.
Why will people want to read your newsletter?
Why will they invest their time in consuming your content?
What do you wish to be known for?
What can you bring to people?
What will make you stand out?
How can you offer something different?
3. The important details
Now you’ve got your idea and branding sorted, it’s time to move onto sorting out those important details like how often you’re going to be putting out your newsletter and when it will be going out, to keep your audience in the know and when they should be expecting a new email from you.
How often are you going to be sending out your email newsletter?
Once a week, fortnightly, once a month, quarterly. Remember to be realistic with how often you can put a newsletter out. If you’re stuck for time, then it might not be a good idea to commit to a weekly newsletter and you might find once a month more doable.
What day are you going to be sending out your newsletter?
Will you be sending out your newsletter at the weekend when people appear to be more online? Or will you be using a weekday as your day to send out the newsletter? When is your audience or the audience you wish to attract more likely to check their inbox and be online?
What time of the day are you going to send it?
Are you going to use the mornings perhaps first thing before people head off for the day? Or are you going to wait until the afternoon or evening to send out the email newsletter for people to read when they get home?
Remember to consider what you already know about your audience or what you know about the type of audience you wish to attract. They will be able to give you a rough indication as to when they will be most likely to open up your newsletter and take the time to read it.
You can easily refer back to your audience throughout your email newsletter creation. Don’t be afraid to seek out some feedback on areas that you might be stuck on or what a second opinion on. This can help you to see what people are looking for and for you to get to know your audience better.
Then there’s also the importance of deciding what platform you will use to send out your newsletter. I personally use MailChimp as I find it really simple to use and does exactly what you want it to do. It has templates that you can use and customise to suit your theme. You can create different campaigns and build your list.
4. Promoting your newsletter
Once your newsletter is all ready to go, you need to work on the promotion side of things. You want to be able to build your list of subscribers and to get people aware of this new exciting adventure you’ve started.
For blog readers, you can add sign up forms and links on your blog to get people to sign up with ease. You can add this to posts, pages or even your sidebar widget to raise awareness and to get people to sign up.
When I created my newsletter, I dedicated a whole blog post to the email newsletter to let people know about the launch, providing my readers with a chance to learn more about the newsletter was about and what it would involve, as well as how they could sign up and when they could expect it. This really helped to raise awareness and to get people to sign up.
There’s also the option of adding a page to your blog all about your email newsletter including a brief summary of what it is about and a sign-up form for people to sign up with. If you have it on the top of your blog, people will see it as they navigate around and will be interested to learn more. You could also link to the blog post to provide further information.
In terms of social media like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, you can build the hype before your launch or for future newsletter once you’ve got things up and running. Share it on your Instagram stories and talk about it. Let people know what it is. Tell them why they should sign up. Show them how they can do that. Remember to include the link.
Post sneak peeks of when you’re working on different features for upcoming email newsletters. Get them to vote in polls on future ideas or topics they’d like to see. Build the hype and get them involved by being interactive as often as you can.
Tweet out the sign-up the link leading up to the launch to get people to sign up, but also during the time before your newsletter goes out. Do the same on Facebook to get people talking. Start discussions surrounding topics you’ve included in the newsletter. Get people to get involved and talking about their own ideas. Make it feel like an engaged community that people want to be a part of.
Somethings you could do to try to get people to open your newsletter every single time is to go as clickbaity as possible. Most people receive a good amount of emails every single day and you want yours to be the one they open up. Go as clickbaity as possible to draw attention to your email newsletter and to get people reading.
Always highlight what you have to offer. Give people something to keep coming back to and know that they will benefit from investing their time in your service. This doesn’t mean giving people freebies all the time, but it might mean providing them with tips and tricks that they can’t find anywhere else. Use it as a way to entice people in and make them want more.
Have you got a newsletter? Do you want to create one?