How to Create an Email Newsletter That Doesn’t Suck

November 16, 2015 Heather Cherry

email newsletter illustration

 

Email newsletters are a great way to stay in front of your clients while building brand loyalty. It's an important part of your agency marketing plan. With so many emails out there, it is easy for your newsletter to get lost in the mix. But, have no fear! I am here to break down the key components you need to know to create a great email newsletter.

Audience
Decide who your audience is and tailor your content to them. I can't stress this enough. By segmenting your list, you build the foundation for your newsletter. Your newsletter should have different content depending on who you're emailing. If it's a newsletter for personal lines prospects, don't include content about commercial lines.

Types of segmentation to consider: line of business, geography, age

Subject Line
First impressions are everything. And, in email marketing the same is true. The best email newsletter does nothing for your agency if your audience doesn't open it. The subject line should let your readers know they're getting a newsletter. But don't forget to make the subject line concise, catchy, and persuasive too. You want your readers to want to open the newsletter immediately.

Want more tips for improving your subject lines?

Content
Newsletters are light and fun by nature. So don't overload your content with sales-y material. A good rule of thumb is to include content that is 90% informative and 10% promotional.

While we're on the subject of content, I strongly urge you to use less of it. I know that may seem counter-intuitive. You don't want to overwhelm your readers with too much copy. Instead of putting a lot of text in your newsletter, try a few teaser sentences that link to articles. Bonus: You can then see which URL is more popular. Tracking which links are getting clicked will tell you what your readers like to read. Then you can include more content like the popular links in future newsletters.

Layout
One of the best parts about newsletters is you can lay your content out any way you'd like. There isn't a wrong way to organize your content. Just remember the goal is to make your newsletter easy to read and reflective of your agency.

Here are some layout options you may consider.

newsletter layout

    • Columns - A popular option, the column layout for your newsletter resembles a newspaper. Your readers' eyes will follow the content down each column. So, consider having your most important content pieces at the top.

    • Rows - The human eye reads from left to right, which is a benefit of rows. This layout is also a change from the column layout, so it may gain more attention from your readers.

    • Blocks - Using blocks is a modern and trendy way of laying out your content. This layout gives your newsletter a fresh facelift. Experiment. Use different shapes and sizes to emphasize different articles. It also gives the reader an organized path of content to read.

  • Remember the layout you choose should depend on your readers and your content. So check your email stats to see which layout generates higher click-through rates. A higher CTR tells you that articles are being read and the layout isn't hurting readership.

    Remember This
    The most important point I want to make is your newsletters should be interesting, informative and fun to read. Consider it an opportunity to establish a relationship and become a resource.

    If you need help with creating a newsletter for your agency, we can help. Contact us at (800) 383-3482 to learn about our agency marketing system.

 

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About the Author

Heather Cherry

Heather Cherry provides training and support on AgencyBuzz to ITC customers, leads AgencyBuzz Academy and presents on email marketing at Masters of Marketing. She has a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and writing from The University of Texas at Austin. Heather’s email marketing specialties include newsletters, unique content, contact segmentation, and targeted marketing. She is also a self-proclaimed social media junkie, cat lover, hopeless romantic, and music buff.

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