If your brand is looking for a more direct way to reach customers, it’s time to start a newsletter for your business. Email newsletters are well received in many industries and allow brands to effectively communicate with interested prospects and current customers.

Find out how a newsletter can benefit your business and then follow these steps to develop and launch branded email campaigns.

Why Does Your Business Need a Newsletter?

You might be wondering… if all of your audience is on social media, why should you set an email newsletter when you can reach anyone you want on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter?

Well, there are a few reasons why a newsletter for your business is better than strictly sticking to social media.

Facebook and other social channels have an algorithm set up where popular posts get more attention and less popular posts get pushed down. This means that you will only reach a portion of your audience, and you have to keep earning your engagement.

Social media audience engagement rates are incredibly low. Most brands see an average 17% engagement rate and only reach 2% of their audience. This means that if you gain 100 new fans, you should consider yourself lucky to get one extra like, share, or comment per post.

Email newsletters serve as an alternative to the competitive social media game. First, all of your recipients receive your emails. You don’t have to worry about some algorithm hiding your messages. Next, open and engagement rates are much higher for email than for social. The average open rate hovers around 20% with a 2% click-thru-rate. And, you own your email list and will have it for as long as those email addresses are valid, whereas your followers and content on a social media platform are subject to the whims and lifecycle of that organization.

All of this is to say: don’t count out email marketing yet. You can still start a newsletter and connect with your customers.

How to Start a Newsletter for Your Business

Your email newsletter can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.

Some businesses send monthly updates using the same template each time so they only need to fill in the content. Other companies constantly test new hooks, layouts, and subjects to see how their audiences respond.

This guide will cover the basics of how to start a newsletter, and once you have mastered these steps, you can move on to add additional bells and whistles.

1. Determine the Frequency, Date, and Content

Start by establishing what you can handle for your newsletter publications. It’s okay if you can only send one email per month. Quality beats quantity. CoSchedule shared an infographic with the most effective days and times to send newsletters, so see if it makes sense to send out your content on these days.

Your email content will play a major role in the frequency you can handle. Look at your upcoming sales, blog content, future events, and news to see what you need to report on and create an editorial calendar around it. You don’t want to overwhelm your customers, but you also don’t want to oversend content that could be grouped together.

Learn More: How To Create An Editorial Calendar For The Year [Free Template]

2. Review the Goals of Your Newsletter

Why do you want to start a newsletter? Do you want to drive people to your website to read your blog content, or do you want to increase sales and appointments for your business?

Your goals will help determine the frequency of your email blasts as well as the format. Make sure that every decision you make with your newsletter publications ties back to these goals.

3. Find an Email Newsletter Provider for Your Business Size

There are multiple free email services for small business owners. You can start with the free versions and then upgrade as your newsletter keeps growing.

Many of these email services also have templates you can use, or you can find sample templates online. This is great if you are not graphic design savvy and don’t know if you can afford to hire a professional designer.

4. Include Call-to-Actions in Your Content

Regardless of your newsletter goals, make sure you have a clear call-to-action (direction that tells the audience what to do next in the customer journey). Many people treat their CTA as the main purpose of the newsletter and build all of their elements with the desired customer action in mind.

As you send out your newsletter, track the actions of your customers. What percent of recipients open the emails? What percent click-through? What percent make a purchase? This is how you can determine the value of each email sent and track your growth.

Read More: A Guide to Writing Calls-to-Action (and 65+ of the Best Words & Phrases)

5. Promote Your Email Newsletter to Your Customers

Before you can send out emails, you need to have an email list. Build your list by encouraging prospects and new and existing customers to sign up.

  • Ask customers to join your newsletter when they make a purchase.
  • Place interactive displays in your store that enable customers to sign up for your list.
  • Add sign-up forms on your website.

Many people will sign up for a newsletter to learn about a company before they make a purchase. These sign-ups will help you build out your list with eager potential customers.

Read More: How to Generate Leads Online to Drive Customers to Your Physical Storefront

6. Test New Ideas, Subject Lines, and Layouts

If you market your newsletter to your customers and provide valuable content, then you should notice your efforts start to pay off within a few months.

You should start reaching new people, getting positive reactions, and driving sales.

Once you reach your comfort level with your publishing schedule, push your boundaries. How does your audience feel about emojis in the subject line? What sort of coupons do people respond to? You can answer these questions and learn about your audience (all while generating leads and driving traffic).

Learn More About Marketing to Your Customers

Starting a newsletter is just one way to keep your brand in front of prospects and new and existing customers. Discover more ways to engage and impress your customers in our free ebook that includes even more ideas for marketing to customers inside and out of your store.