Is an opt in email list newsletter worth it?
Yes. Again and again, yes. Mailing lists might sound old school compared to the rest of our high reaching social media tools, but email lists aren't shorted by algorithms or advertisers. And a newsletter list won't go under like our friends at Vine. Email isn't going away any time soon. That's why lists are your leg up.
So how do you send out a newsletter?
First, you need people to send a newsletter to right? Here are a few easy, non spammy ways to gather email addresses:
- Gather emails on your checkout page if you're selling a product
- Have a newsletter sign up sheet on an iPad at your events, front office, or store
- Run give-a-ways and contests where the entry is opting into your newsletter
- Install a pop up plugin on your site that asks the user if they want to opt into your newsletter
Now that you have a list, you'll need a platform to create, design, and distribute your newsletter through. Here are a few "free to a certain extent" options:
All three of these services have free newsletter templates, but I will advocate for MailChimp as the cleanest most versatile platform for design.
Designing a newsletter.
While you should have an eye for branding, you don't need to be a degree holding designer to create your own newsletter. If your budget allows, then hell, hire yourself a designer. But, just because you're not a designer, doesn't mean you can't create your own newsletter.
Here are a few free resources to help design beautiful on-brand newsletters:
- Mailchimp (because designing a newsletter in Mailchimp is literally plug and play)
- Canva: Amazingly simple graphic design software
- Giphy: An online database of .gifs
- Emojicopy: Because emoji's make everything better 🏆😻
- Colormind: Creates cohesive color schemes using a deep neural net.
When to send out a newsletter.
Occasions like a new product drop, app update, change in services, or a new customer greeting all call for a newsletter. If you haven't sent out a newsletter before, then you'll need to do some testing. Your best send time may not be the same as your competitors or other companies in a similar field.
A good place to start is with this study done by Mailchimp. Send out your first few newsletters at Mailchimp's average optimal send time and day. From there, use the data from previous newsletters to note when your subscribers are actually opening their newsletters.
Keep a close eye on your insights and dial in every newsletter to reflect your best send times.
Here is a list of open rate benchmarks by industry to reach.
Now, for the protips.
Earlier in this article, I listed a few free email marketing tools. Use them to build your newsletter. Here are just a couple more protips for building your email marketing campaign:
- Include call to actions like "click here" "learn more" "sign up here" in the first third of your newsletter.
- Stick to standard fonts.
- Lose the sales pitch. Make your newsletter content engaging and beneficial to your subscribers.
- Keep your newsletter short and simple. You don't want to have your subscribers scrolling through content.
Go out and flourish the world with better newsletters!