Winning the Inbox: How To Create Standout Newsletter Emails
By Amelia Woolard
Winning the Inbox: How To Create Standout Newsletter Emails
Table of Contents
In the dynamic landscape of digital marketing, email newsletters are a formidable business tool — one that continues to rule as a powerful means of communication and engagement with target audiences.
Email newsletters have a massive pool of potential customers because nearly everyone has an email account. More than 4 billion people worldwide have an email address, and adoption rates are still rising.
Email newsletters and other email correspondence also catch shoppers’ attention. In a survey, 59% of customers said that marketing emails have compelled them to make a purchase.
Marketers are taking note and allotting their resources appropriately, with nearly 40% of brands actively increasing their email marketing budget.
Email marketing (and newsletters, specifically) should be on the top of any marketing to-do list, if only because of their accessibility and revenue potential.
There’s really no reason not to try your hand at email newsletters. There are, however, right and wrong ways of doing email marketing.
We’ll show you how to correctly deploy email newsletters and simplify the practice with the right automation tools. Let’s dive in.
What Is an Email Newsletter?
An email newsletter is more than just a regular email. It’s a carefully crafted digital publication that your business regularly sends to its subscribers, typically weekly or monthly. Many businesses rely on a newsletter template to quickly create an email newsletter.
The primary purpose of an email newsletter is to build and nurture relationships with subscribers. Unlike other types of email marketing, newsletters aren’t purely promotional. Weekly newsletters go beyond simple sales messaging to offer special content, like insightful articles, tips, news stories, educational content, or exclusive offers.
The goal of newsletters is to provide content your target audience wants to see, so your brand can position itself as an authority in your given industry. When your business consistently delivers valuable content, customers view your newsletter as a worthy resource. In turn, they are more likely to engage with the content and develop a deeper affinity for your brand.
Furthermore, an email newsletter serves as a platform for your business to showcase its brand personality and voice. It allows you to communicate directly with subscribers in a more personal way, creating a sense of exclusivity. Execute newsletters correctly, and your business can strengthen its identity and stand apart from competitors.
Are Email Newsletters Still Effective?
In a rapidly changing digital landscape, it's natural to wonder if email newsletters are still impactful. However, the resounding answer is a confident "yes."
Email newsletters have proven their resilience and continued relevance in the marketing world. Their ability to deliver targeted messages directly to the inboxes of engaged subscribers sets them apart as a highly personal and effective marketing channel.
A study conducted by Litmus further reinforces the strength of email marketing. Businesses can expect an impressive return on investment (ROI) when implementing email newsletters, with an average ROI of $36 for every $1 spent.
So what makes newsletters so compelling?
Newsletters Deliver Targeted Content
One of the key strengths of email newsletters lies in their ability to deliver targeted content. Weekly newsletters can be sent to subscriber lists that have been segmented based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. This helps your business tailor its messages to specific audiences, ensuring relevance and increasing the likelihood that your subscriber will click on your subject line.
Newsletters Engage Customers
Email newsletters offer a unique level of accessibility. Unlike social media platforms or websites that require users to actively seek information, newsletters conveniently arrive in subscribers' inboxes, ready to be consumed. It’s the ultimate frictionless content delivery experience. Just be careful not to bombard your subscribers. You’ll enjoy higher open and click-through rates if you send five or fewer newsletters each week.
Newsletters Are Measurable
With email marketing software, you can take advantage of detailed analytics. You can track:
- Open rates to gauge the effectiveness of your subject lines
- Click-through rates to assess the appeal of your content and calls to action (CTAs)
- Conversion rates to measure the success of your campaign goals
- Unsubscribe rates to identify potential issues or areas for improvement
Armed with these insights, you can continuously optimize your newsletter campaigns to maximize your results.
How To Create an Email Newsletter
An email newsletter can be an incredible tool for captivating your audience and driving business growth. A regimented approach will help you achieve the best results. From conceptualization to creating a newsletter template and distributing your message, each stage plays a crucial role in your newsletter’s impact.
Start With Your Goals
Before diving into the creation process, define your objectives. Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to landing pages, generate leads, boost sales, or something else entirely? Clearly outlining your goals will provide a sense of direction while you plot out your content strategy and help you determine the best email frequency.
Goals also help you measure success. If you have no destination in mind, how can you know if you’ve reached it? Regularly monitoring progress against your goals encourages continuous improvement. By evaluating performance, you can refine your strategy, optimize content, and explore new tactics along the way.
Identify Your Target Audience and Build Your List
Identifying your target audience is crucial for crafting relevant content that will maximize engagement. This can be a mix of existing customers in your contact list or new subscribers — it all depends on your goals (see above). For example, if your goal is to increase repeat purchases, your identified target audience could be customers who have already shopped with you and may be ready to buy again. Conduct market research to create detailed buyer personas that guide your content creation process.
After you define your audience and shape the outreach strategy, build a quality subscriber list. Grow your list organically using lead-generation tactics such as opt-in forms, content upgrades, and social media promotions. Focus on permission-based marketing to attract genuinely interested subscribers and boost your email deliverability rates.
After you’ve grown your subscriber list, it’s time to segment your send lists based on customer demographics, interests, and behavior. With your lists segmented, you can send a targeted and hyper-personalized email newsletter to specific groups of people, thereby increasing the chances that your recipient will open and engage with your weekly newsletter. Just remember to regularly clean your list to remove disengaged subscribers. Getting rid of unnecessary weight will make your campaign measurements more accurate.
Create a Newsletter Template
Creating a newsletter template is an essential step in designing an effective email newsletter. A newsletter template allows you to establish a visually appealing and branded layout that aligns with your business identity. A well-designed newsletter template enhances the aesthetic appeal and ensures a consistent and professional look across all of your newsletters.
An email template is also a huge time-saver for marketing teams because it removes the need to design the newsletter every month. In this way, a newsletter template can even encourage marketing teams to send emails out consistently, because there’s less friction in creating them repeatedly.
E-commerce businesses can use a drag-and-drop editor to simplify the newsletter template design process. These editors have user-friendly interfaces that allow you to customize the newsletter template without requiring advanced coding skills. With a drag-and-drop editor, you can effortlessly add and rearrange elements such as images, text blocks, headings, and call-to-action buttons. This streamlines the design process, saves time, and ensures a visually appealing layout.
Add Your Content
Once you’ve created a visually appealing email newsletter template, it's time to add compelling content that captures your audience's attention.
When creating your content, remember that the goal is to deliver messaging that meets your audience's needs, challenges, and aspirations. Consider their interests, pain points, and motivations. Don’t overlook CTAs and subject lines when preparing your message. Need help getting started? Turn to a tool with built-in AI content generation to help brainstorm ideas.
You can also switch up the type of content you share with your send lists. Play with a mix of industry insights, educational articles, blog post roundups, and how-to guides that provide valuable information. Update your subscribers on the latest product releases, special offers, or exclusive promotions to keep them informed and engaged.
Email personalization is key to delivering a relevant and impactful newsletter. Use dynamic content and automation tools to tailor your content based on individual preferences. Incorporate dynamic content elements that adapt based on subscriber data, such as displaying different offers based on shoppers’ preferences or browsing behavior.
Product recommendations are another great personalization tool. Product recommendations enhance your customer experience and encourage cross-selling and upselling. When your customer clicks on appealing product recommendations, they are 4.5 times more likely to add these items to their cart and complete the purchase. Suggest something exciting for their next purchase, and watch your ROI rise.
Test and Adjust
Wondering if your latest email newsletter performed well? You can test your efforts and adjust them along the way to ensure that your work isn’t going unnoticed. Testing your campaigns helps you hone your email newsletter skills and generate up to a 28% higher return on investment.
A/B testing is ideal for your email newsletter. With A/B testing, you can compare two or more versions of a newsletter to learn which one resonates best with your subscribers.
For example, you might create two versions of your newsletter and assign different subject lines to each version. Then, upon sending each version to different segments of your subscriber list, you can measure the open rates of each and learn which version earned more clicks. From there, you can take what you learned and tweak your approach with your next email campaign, adjusting as you gather more data over time.
Testing isn’t limited to subject lines and other elements. You can also experiment with different content formats. Is your audience interested in videos over text copy? Do they prefer shorter or longer articles? You can find out by experimenting with different messaging approaches and analyzing the metrics afterward.
Scale and Optimize with Automation
Once you’ve run a few successful newsletter campaigns, you may find yourself wanting to scale and optimize your outreach so it performs even better.
For this, automation is your friend. Email service providers with built-in AI capabilities will help you deliver hyper-relevant newsletter content at scale that still nurtures leads and drives conversions. Best of all, you can use the power of AI to streamline workflows and optimize delivery times, so you’re always sending an email newsletter at the most opportune time.
For example, with AI, you might send:
- A welcome email newsletter with a special offer whenever someone signs up for your newsletter
- A newsletter with an abandoned cart reminder if the shopper hasn’t completed the purchase
- A newsletter with a happy birthday greeting and a special discount when applicable
By automating your email newsletter campaigns, you can save time and ensure timely and consistent communication with your subscribers.
Scaling your success is also easier with the valuable data and insights generated by a marketing automation platform. By analyzing the metrics automation gives you, like open rates and click-through rates, you can refine your email newsletter strategy to get better over time. When your newsletter improves, so does your overall email marketing performance.
Brands That Found Success With Email Newsletters
A growing number of e-commerce businesses are leveraging email newsletters to strengthen their reach and grow their brand authority. The innovative companies mentioned below recognized the value of connecting with their audience directly through their inboxes, and now they’re reaping the rewards of their efforts.
Netherlands-based clothing and jewelry retailer My Jewellery aimed to connect with its customer base through email newsletters while prioritizing their personal data privacy. The brand recognized the potential risks of relying on third-party data for marketing efforts and instead focused on establishing a direct and authentic relationship with customers with zero-party data.
Bloomreach Engagement helped My Jewellery respect shoppers’ data privacy by using a "style profile test" to gamify zero-party data collection. The test asks My Jewellery shoppers to indicate their interest in a specific My Jewellery item by clicking on a heart or an X.
With this valuable intel, My Jewellery was able to generate personalized style profiles for each customer. These profiles were filled with items tailored to their preferences, all achieved without resorting to third-party data collection. Those items are then used in email newsletters to encourage sales. As a result, My Jewellery saw a 20% increase in open rates for emails personalized with style profile data compared to a typical email newsletter campaign.
Benefit Cosmetics, the UK’s top prestige blush brand, was ready to launch a new line of category-defining blushes. However, in launching these products, the business also discontinued some customers’ tried-and-true favorites. Benefit needed a stellar marketing campaign to help the brand launch the new line and encourage customers to fall in love with the new products.
Bloomreach Engagement partnered with Mailgun by Sinch to roll out an omnichannel campaign that included email marketing. By leveraging Bloomreach's email infrastructure and APIs, Benefit successfully targeted different customer segments using prelaunch marketing emails and other messaging mediums. Benefit also relied upon Engagement’s next-level customer analytics capabilities to understand customer journeys and inform their campaign decisions accordingly.
The Blush Launch campaign achieved outstanding results, with a click-through rate surpassing the global retail average by 1.7 percentage points and generating 40% more revenue compared to similar Benefit emails. These impressive outcomes solidified Benefit Cosmetics' position as a leader in prestige cosmetics.
Bensons for Beds
British bedding and furniture retailer Bensons for Beds emerged from the pandemic with new leadership and a fresh focus on digital marketing. Hoping to match its in-store experience, Bensons for Beds turned to Bloomreach to help the business make better use of customer data to create personalized customer journeys, build brand loyalty, and bring in online sales.
Leveraging Bloomreach Engagement's customer data capabilities, the brand was able to send personalized email campaigns with relevant product recommendations.
Bensons for Beds wanted to grow digitally, and with Bloomreach Engagement, the company boosted like-for-like sales by 7% and overall online sales by an incredible 41% when compared to the same period in the previous year.
Kick Your Email Newsletters Into High Gear With Bloomreach Engagement
Email newsletters remain a powerful tool in the world of digital marketing. Follow the steps outlined in this guide and leverage the right tools, and you can create an email newsletter that engages your audience, fosters brand loyalty, and drives business success.
To take your newsletters to the next level, you’ll need a next-level solution like Bloomreach Engagement. With its robust email marketing capabilities, Bloomreach empowers businesses just like yours to deliver highly personalized and impactful campaigns. From advanced segmentation to AI-driven automation, Bloomreach Engagement provides the tools you need to optimize your email marketing efforts and drive measurable results. Plus, with pre-made templates and automations, you can get up and running in no time.
To get started with improving your emails, read our guide on how boosting email inbox placement can lead to a big bump in revenue.