PosterMyWall free class: 4 Types of newsletters to send to customers now
Starting a newsletter, or revamping an existing one, can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s why we invited Sharon Tanton, UK-based newsletter and copywriting expert, to share her expertise and ease your anxiety.
Sharon is the co-author of Valuable Content Marketing: How to Make Quality Content the Key to Your Success. She is also a teacher at The School of Valuable Content.
You can watch the class replay above or, if you prefer to read or skim for content, read on for a summary.
Introducing PosterMyWall’s NEW Email Marketing Platform
We invited Sharon to help us celebrate the launch of PostermyWall’s new email marketing platform. This tool works seamlessly with our design tools and will make it effortless for you to create your own truly beautiful email campaigns and newsletters.
In this PosterMyWall free class, Sharon introduced the 4 types of email newsletters that work brilliantly for small businesses. She also shared guidelines to help you choose which type of newsletter is best for you and a list of elements that all valuable newsletters share.
Here’s what Sharon had to say:
What is an email newsletter?
An email newsletter is a regular email communication sent to a list of people who have subscribed to hear from you. These can be people you found in real life, those who found you online, or a combination of the two.
Above all, a newsletter is a list of people you have genuine connections with. If you do a good job with your newsletter, all of your subscribers will be happy to be on your list.
As Sharon said, “Newsletters are the jewel in your marketing crown.”
They are also a space that, unlike social media pages, is entirely your own. You own it and can do whatever you want with it. Plus there is no algorithm to deal with. As David Hieatt, founder of Hiut Denim, says, the beauty of newsletters is that you can use this space to gather your people and have a slower conversation with them.
The secret to a successful email newsletter
The secret of a successful newsletter is simple. Create and share valuable content.
This means content that is meaningful to the target audience because it either solves a problem, provides entertainment, or teaches them something useful or actionable.
The trick is understanding your target audience so you can select content that your audience will find valuable.
What is the benefit of publishing a newsletter?
Newsletters are good for building trust over time, since you are consistently producing and sending out valuable, original content that is part of an ongoing conversation with your audience.
A weekly email newsletter can become a relevant part of your customer service, since you can use itto ask questions, have conversations, solve problems, and even help you design new products and services.
Newsletters are also great for sales because product email marketing gives you an opportunity to talk about your products and even add “buy now” links.
According to a study by McKinsey, for every dollar you put into dedicated email marketing, your return will be 40 times greater than what you would receive through Facebook, Twitter, and almost every other marketing channel.
Barriers to creating a newsletter
Sharon said there are a handful of common barriers that make it hard for many small businesses to produce a newsletter. These include technical issues, fear that your list is too small, imposter syndrome, time limitations, having no idea what to say, competitor envy, and the fear of being too “salesy.”
But Sharon is convinced that once you commit to creating a newsletter – and select the type of newsletter that will work best for you and your customers – you’ll be able to overcome every barrier and create something of value.
The 4 types of email newsletters for small businesses
The 4 types of email newsletters are:
1. The simple letter
The simple letter is:
- Includes minimal brand promotion,
- feels like an ordinary letter, and
- Is written as a me-to-you communication.
Many large companies use this type of newsletter to be relatable, because it’s easy to make it feel personal. It’s more like a letter from a friend than a marketing communication.
A simple letter type of newsletter should look more like a letter than an ad and include minimal brand graphics. It should never feel pushy or like it is trying to convince people to buy from you.
The one caveat is that because this style is text-heavy, it does require strong copywriting.
Most letter-style newsletters tell a story that pulls people into your world – then uses that story as a springboard into the message you want to share. This can take the form of rhetorical questions, such as those that Louise Fletcher uses in her newsletter. For example: “Aren’t we all tired of social media?”, “Aren’t we all overwhelmed by it?”, and “Don’t we need to find another way to share our art?”.
Sharon says that when you employ this technique, you can almost see your readers nodding along in agreement!
Examples of a letter-style newsletter
2. Carefully curated newsletters
Carefully curated newsletters are big on style and impact, but small on words. The focus is on design and links over articles and copy. The reason for this style of newsletter is to build a tribe. If you select this style of newsletter, your content should include many links that lead the reader to valuable products and information that your readers will appreciate. Only the very last link at the bottom of your newsletter should lead to your own product.
Sharon said that placing your link after your content is a deliberate decision. Placing your link adjacent to other valuable content creates the perception that your product is equally valuable.
A carefully curated newsletter may not be personal like a letter-style newsletter, but it should still feel human and be highly engaging.
Examples of the carefully curated newsletter
3. The insider tips newsletter
These newsletters contain expert ideas readers can’t get anywhere else. They help readers achieve a goal, such as growing their business or building a better wardrobe, and include a blend of text, video, and other visual content. (You get to pick the style that works best for you!)
This type of newsletter is usually very niche, such as Coach Parry’s tips for old-aged runners, which makes them highly coveted and very useful to that audience.
Like the carefully curated newsletter, insider tips newsletters include minimal copy. What they’re really big on is value.
Sharon pointed out that the tips shared are often videos you can watch on the go, such as Coach Parry’s stretching tips that are designed to be viewed by his audience while they are out on a run.
Insider tip newsletters are frequently used by coaches, trainers, therapists, accountants, and other providers of personal services.
Examples of the inside tips newsletter
4. The magazine-style newsletter
This type of newsletter is great for brand building. It takes more effort than other types of newsletter to create, but it delivers a ton of value. As Sharon said, “A magazine style newsletter is created, not curated.”
Magazine-style newsletters contain beautiful photography with short blurbs to support the images. Every item in the newsletter links to a longer piece of original content on the company’s website. This places reams of inspiring content at your customers’ fingertips.
Ideally, a magazine style newsletter creates a world and keeps you there for a while. This type of newsletter stands out because in addition to creating a newsletter, you are demonstrating your expertise by writing every piece of content it links to.
If you are just starting out with newsletters, Sharon warns that this might be a big one to take on, especially if you plan to deliver fresh content every week.
Examples of the magazine style newsletter
General tips for every email newsletter
Sharon’s suggestions to create a strong newsletter of any type include:
- Plan it out.
- Thoroughly understand your audience.
- Have ideas to share.
- Hone your copywriting skills.
- Carve out regular time and energy to make it happen.
- Know how to – and continue to – build your list.
3 things to consider before sending an email newsletter
Still not sure which of these 4 types of newsletter are the best fit for your business? Sharon suggests that you ask yourself the following three questions:
1. What’s right for you: Which option fits your style and personality?
2. What’s right for your business: Visual or text – which suits the business you are in, your customers, and your brand?
3. What’s right for your readers: What’s the best way to deliver value to your audience? What do they want to read, see, or hear – and how would they prefer to receive that content?
Lastly and most importantly, what is your gut telling you? Which type seems the most right to you?
Principles for valuable newsletters
Sharon stressed that all valuable newsletters are:
- Reader-centric, not company-focused
- Helpful and inspiring – selling shouldn’t be the primary aim
- Sent regularly – customers can depend on them to arrive as promised
- Consistent in style – every issue is recognisably yours
- Warm and personal – created with care by humans, with heart and soul
- Written for a niche – it’s clear who the ideal reader is
- Trust-builders because they consistently share good stories and news that customers are interested in.
As far as newsletter don’ts, they include:
- Don’t focus on company news
- Never be pushy or aggressive. Your newsletter should build trust first and then invite your audience to take the next step with a relevant offer
- Don’t try to write for everyone – write for your ideal reader only
Next step to create your newsletter
Hopefully by now you’re pumped to start or revamp your newsletter. So, what’s the next step?
Here are Sharon’s suggestions for how to stay on track while creating your newsletter:
- Commit to making this happen – “I will launch a newsletter this fall.”
- Clarify your goal – what do you want your newsletter to do for you?
- Identify who you want to talk to, who you want on the list, and what fires them up
- Study other newsletters in your inbox and see what connects with you. Make notes. What ideas can you steal?
- Select your email marketing platform. We suggest PosterMyWall.
- Build a list of current contacts you’d like to invite, then politely invite them to join your list
- Work out the themes you want to cover
- Design or customize a newsletter template
- Write your first newsletter, and keep the momentum going!
Start your newsletter today!
To help you get started, please take advantage of PosterMyWall’s new email marketing platform.
Our latest feature, the Email Maker and email marketing platform, is an all-in-one tool which is perfect for someone looking to start a newsletter. The Email Maker allows you to choose a professionally designed newsletter template, customize it according to your needs, upload your mailing list(s), and send your newsletter from the website.
Check out this video to see how this feature works.