Newsletters are super powerful for boosting conversions and increasing trust with your audience. However, many businesses don’t develop an adequate strategy and lose its full potential.
This is why in today’s post, you will learn exactly how to develop a high-converting newsletter by building an effective strategy.
But first, get the free Notion template to plan your strategy with ease 👇
The Power of Newsletters for Growing Your Business
Starting a newsletter has lots of benefits for your business. This type of email marketing is one of the best ways to directly reach your customers and leads, and it’s also a channel you own completely (unlike your business’ social media accounts, for example).
One of the best-known benefits of email marketing is the high-quality leads it provides. Since the people you are emailing voluntarily subscribed to your email list, this means they want to receive updates from you and are most likely to pay attention to what you have to say.
Indeed, email newsletters are a great way to reduce marketing costs: you are communicating directly with people that are most likely to buy from you. Indeed, according to Barilliance, the average ROI of email marketing in 2021 was 3,800% or $38 for every $1 invested!
Additionally, email marketing is the traffic source with the highest conversion rate for B2B businesses, and the second for B2C businesses. Building a newsletter has additional benefits, like personalization, automation possibilities, traffic generation, and relationship building with your leads.
With all those benefits, building a newsletter seems like a no-brainer. This is why here at Unita we recently launched a newsletter 🥳 It features weekly guides with resources for indie founders getting started with community building.
However, to reap the benefits of email marketing, it’s important that you first develop a newsletter strategy plan. Without a plan, you won’t be able to leverage the full potential of email marketing.
Based on our own experience building Unita’s newsletter, we’re going to show you all the steps we take to build a high-converting newsletter strategy.
Roadmap to Building a High-Converting Newsletter
Creating a newsletter strategy plan may seem like a daunting task, but there are very specific steps you can take to make sure you reap all the benefits email marketing can bring to your business.
To launch our own newsletter, we’ve done extensive research on how to develop a sound newsletter strategy plan. Today, we’re going to share those insights with you.
1. Define Your Goals
Every good plan starts with getting clarity on the goals you want to accomplish. Specifically, think about what expectations you have for getting involved with email marketing.
- Why do you want a newsletter?
- What are the business-related goals you hope to accomplish with your newsletter?
These questions are vital! Indeed, your newsletter strategy plan will be different if your goal is to drive traffic to your website, grow your email list, increase your social media engagement, or boost sales.
The specific goals you have will shape your newsletter‘s topic, frequency, messaging choices, graphics, and design.
For example: if your goal is to strengthen the relationship with your subscribers and position yourself as an authority in your industry, maybe the best choice is long-form, informative content on topics that are relevant to your audience.
2. Build Subscriber Personas
Subscriber personas are a segmentation technique where you create subscriber profiles, defining a group of subscribers based on their interests, values, demographic data, professional careers, and more. This allows you to visualize the person you are writing to and craft the perfect message for them.
Building subscriber personas help email marketers to deeply understand who are their customers and subscribers, developing better-performing campaigns. Indeed, according to Campaign Monitor, segmenting your emails can increase your revenue by as much as 760%!
But how do you create subscriber personas? The ideal situation would be to use data from your current email list, which will give you the most accurate results. If that’s your case, you can use a statistical technique called cluster analysis, which groups people into clusters with similar characteristics.
However, if you are trying to build a brand-new email list for your newsletter you won’t have the necessary data to perform this technique.
If that’s your case, we recommend analyzing some of your competitors’ newsletters. People that offer similar products or services will likely have similar target audiences as you. You can subscribe to some well-known newsletters in your industry to analyze their messaging and design choices, paying special attention to who they are communicating to.
Other options include using data from your website traffic or social media accounts, as well as surveying existing customers. You can also analyze (and attend) industry events, explore people on social media, look at what your target audience is talking about in online communities, or read industry market reports.
Once you have a pretty good idea of what your subscriber personas are, a good starting point is to use a template to build them, like Hubspot’s Make My Persona.
3. Define the Topics You’ll Cover
It’s very important to define your newsletter’s scope. Having clarity on this will help you plan your content and craft all your messaging around a well-defined set of topics, ensuring that the topics you cover in your newsletter are relevant, engaging, and aligned with your goals.
The topics you cover in the newsletter need to be based on your experience. When subscribing to a newsletter, people expect high-quality, relevant content they can’t find elsewhere.
The only way to create this type of content is to write about something you have deep experience with. What are those unique insights you can bring to the table?
Additionally, the subscriber personas you built in the last step are crucial to define your topics. Indeed, understanding the interests, needs, and preferences of your target audience is essential to determine the topics that will be relevant to them.
Make sure to stay up-to-date with industry news. Keeping up with the latest industry news and trends can help you identify relevant and timely topics to cover. You can do this by analyzing competitors’ blogs or newsletters.
4. Find the Right Newsletter Platform
With so many email marketing software options out there, it can be daunting to choose the right one to launch your newsletter.
However, there are a number of factors you need to consider when searching for the perfect newsletter platform:
- Email deliverability: Choose a platform that has a good reputation for delivering emails to subscribers’ inboxes. You can also check for the delivery rate for each platform you’re considering.
- List management: Make sure the platform has the ability to manage your subscribers’ lists, including adding and removing subscribers, segmenting your list, and tracking open and click-through rates.
- Design templates: Look for a platform that provides pre-made templates or an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor for designing your newsletters.
- Integration with other tools: If you use other tools for your business, such as a CRM, e-commerce platform, or analytics, choose a newsletter platform that integrates with them.
- Pricing: Consider the cost of the platform and whether it fits your budget. Some platforms offer free plans with limited features, while others have tiered pricing based on the number of subscribers or email sends.
- Customer support: Check if the platform provides customer support, such as email, phone, or live chat, in case you have any questions or issues.
- Analytics: Make sure the platform provides analytics on your newsletter’s performance, including open rates, click rates, and conversions.
You may also want to consider trying out a few platforms with a free trial to see which one works best for you. Some popular newsletter platforms include ConvertKit, Substack, and Sendinblue. We’ve made a full comparison of newsletter platforms that will be very useful for you at this stage.
5. Plan Content in Advance
The first thing you need to consider is what is going to be the frequency of your newsletter. To determine this, make sure you are realistic about the time you have available and are willing to dedicate for researching, writing, and editing the newsletter before sending it.
While most newsletters are weekly, there are also bi-weekly, monthly, and even quarterly newsletters. The time you need to create each issue will also depend on the type of content you are creating. For example, newsletters that include content curation or recommended readings will take a lot less time to write than newsletters that feature deep, long-form research on a specific topic.
Once you decide your frequency of publication, it’s time to build a list of topics for each issue. Having this list will help you to:
- Write content in advance, so you never miss an issue (consistency is key!)
- Always have topics to write about beforehand, so you don’t have to waste time thinking about what to write every time you sit to work on your newsletter.
To build the list of topics, you first need to brainstorm some content ideas. Jot down any topics, events, or promotions that you want to include in your newsletter. You can also look at industry news, customer feedback, and other successful newsletters in your industry for inspiration.
Now that you have decided on the frequency of your newsletters and planned the topics you want to cover in advance, it’s time to schedule everything in a content calendar. Set deadlines for when each task should be completed and try to stay consistent! There are plenty of content calendar templates out there, but here is one from Mailerlite designed specifically for email marketing.
How to Grow Your Email List
Now that you have successfully planned your newsletter, it’s time to start growing your email list and getting new subscribers.
There are many ways to grow your email list, but here are some of the most effective ones.
The first step is, of course, to add sign-up forms to your website. Make sure you have sign-up forms visible on your website, including in your header, footer, and on your “About” or “Contact” pages.
You can also use pop-ups on your website. Using pop-ups or slide-ins can encourage people to sign up for your email list. Just make sure to set these up in a way that’s not too intrusive and doesn’t negatively impact the user experience.
If you don’t have a website, don’t worry! You can also grow your email list from scratch without a website.
Building a lead magnet is another (very effective) way of getting newsletter subscribers (and it doesn’t necessarily involve having a website!). For this, you will offer a free resource, such as an e-book, guide, or webinar, in exchange for people signing up for your email list.
Now that you have your lead magnet, it’s time to start promoting it. To do this, you can create specific landing pages for your lead magnets that are optimized for email sign-ups. Make sure the page includes a clear call-to-action (CTA) to encourage people to join your list.
On the other hand, make sure to leverage social media. Promote your lead magnets and email sign-up pages on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Moreover, you can partner with other businesses to promote each other’s email lists. You can offer to cross-promote each other’s lead magnets, for example.
Lastly, hosting in-person or virtual events can also be an opportunity to collect email addresses from attendees. Besides events, you can consider organizing contests or giveaways on social media too.
Now that you know exactly how to create a newsletter strategy plan and how to grow your email list, it’s time to start thinking about monetization! Here are some additional tips to start and monetize a community newsletter.