email marking flow

Newsletters sent to current and prospective customers and clients offer an effective way to convert warm leads, engage with a target audience, and even upsell products and services for small businesses.

Compiling and sending a newsletter entails more than just writing short, 100-piece snippets and throwing them into an email.

While SEO keywording isn’t a big deal with email marketing, a newsletter should still have several elements that lend to a better design that fosters more clicks from the links in each newsletter.

We go over the best practices for creating an effective newsletter for your small business.

It Starts With a Subject Line

Everyone reads a subject line in an email.

And catchy ones capture the attention of a target audience.

It’s easy to have a subject line that reads “Acme Brick Newsletter November 2021.”

Small businesses should be specific enough with their subject lines to denote something about the contents of the newsletter.

A target audience already knows the email is from a particular business by the sender’s address, so mentioning a company name is not very effective.

Perhaps a quick five to seven words on two main topics, like “We’re Growing Fast & Making New Stuff!”

While this is oversimplified, it does make someone curious as to what’s going on with a particular brand. What new stuff is the business creating? What does growing fast mean?

Educational & Easy-to-Read Content

Email marketing with a newsletter isn’t particularly salesy. There are plenty of conversion points in the newsletter, with contact us verbiage and phone numbers.

Small businesses should make newsletter content educational and informative.

As an example, a company specializes in self-sealing stem bolts. And they’re going to announce an improvement to the design that will make their main product 25 percent more efficient. A small business can do well by telling people how the new design can improve their customers’ bottom line without saying “Hey, but these from us!”

Other forms of education content include:

  • How-to guides
  • FAQs
  • Resources
  • Tips
  • Tricks
  • Industry trends

Content should also be easy to read and digestible.

Just like a web page or a blog, a newsletter should have enough white space, short paragraphs, and bullet points that make it easy to drive home several points.

Visual Elements Create Appeal

Designing visual elements don’t have to be complicated. Even a few images, with some logos and complementary hues that look like a company’s main color palette on the website and branding materials.

GIFs are popular. And they make a newsletter pop. There are plenty of GIF creators that can help a small business make a simple GIF from a staff photo, like if there was recently a celebration of a birthday, retirement, or workiversary.

Some visual elements in a newsletter can include:

  • Header with company information and title of the newsletter
  • Colorful border on all four sides
  • Staff photos 
  • Photos from social media
  • Animations
  • Videos
  • Hover effects like color-changing or fading

Simplify a CTA

Although small businesses can include links within the newsletter to test engagement, one simple CTA should suffice.

At the end of the newsletter, even just one sentence saying, “Contact us for more information.” with a link or phone number is plenty for a call to action.

For the CTA link, companies should add a UTM code to the end of a URL to measure KPIs for this particular campaign. UTMs are very easy to make, and Google favors them when tracking a campaign in Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

A UTM code differentiates an ordinary link on a website from a special one for more accurate tracking.

Testing 1-2-3

Small businesses can test subsequent newsletters to see how well they perform for email marketing.

Can altering or shortening a subject line produce better open rates or engagement? What about increasing or decreasing the number of links? How about the length of the newsletter? Should they be heavier on visuals and less on text?

A/B testing offers companies a chance to make small tweaks to test performance.

Once the right formula is in place, small businesses can stick to that format until the needs of the target audience change.

Elevating Newsletters for the Entire Staff

Newsletters off an exercise to show off a staff’s email marketing chops.

Who are the writers on staff? Who are the ones with an eye for visual design?

Small business owners may see some new talents emerge with the creation of a company newsletter, and it’s a fun way to have teams collaborate with each other in new ways.

Want a Great Newsletter? Call on Vervology!

Vervology is a digital marketing agency catering to small businesses.

Our staff can create a vibrant email marketing campaign along with a great-looking newsletter to supplement your lead generation.

Contact us today, and we’ll talk about what we can do to help your company.