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Zyro Glossary eCommerce

Newsletter

What is a newsletter?

A newsletter is a digital marketing tool used by companies to communicate news related to their company or product to a wider, dedicated audience. Email newsletters are usually sent out to a particular email list, and this target audience usually consists of both existing and potential customers. 

While at first glance newsletters might seem like an ancient relic from the dawn of the internet, but for every $1 spent most email marketers see a $42 return on investment. It’s definitely a good idea to develop a newsletter marketing strategy if you’re looking to stretch your marketing dollar further. 

Typically, but not always, newsletters are created and sent through an email marketing software that allows the sender to automate and schedule the email send-outs. There are many different tools available, some offering services such as marketing automation services and ready-made email templates. 

Newsletters don’t just serve the business, though. There are some great benefits that the reader or subscriber of the newsletter will get from joining the newsletter, namely: 

  • Discounts. Many newsletters offer a discount for subscribing for one. 
  • Subscriber-only content. Many marketers share special content from behind the scenes with the newsletter subscribers. 
  • Early access. Joining a mailing list can give you early access to sales or new product launches. 
  • News. If you’ve built your brand well, people will be interested in what’s going on with your company.

Purposes of running a newsletter

There are some good reasons why a business should have a newsletter and/or an email marketing strategy. Sending out regular newsletters helps to: 

  • Build an audience. Offer the newsletter subscribers relevant content and in time you’ll be able to convert them into paying customers. 
  • Deepen audience engagement. Newsletters are a great way to create a relationship with your audience. When someone subscribes to your email list, they are interested in hearing more about your product and company, compared to a one-time browser on your website.  
  • Develop brand advocacy. Newsletters are a great avenue to advocate for your brand and get your email subscribers to share the word. Use competitions, for example, to engage your audience to the fullest.

Benefits of a newsletter for eCommerce businesses

Newsletters are great for businesses that operate mainly online, like eCommerce stores. Some of the main benefits of email newsletters include: 

  • Reduce retention and build brand loyalty. Different loyalty programs, subscription services, and special newsletter offers are a great way to keep your customers satisfied, and returning to your online store. 
  • Generate sales. Since your store exists online, a well-timed and well-written newsletter announcing a new crash sale can generate a nice order spike. Combine the newsletter with a strong landing page, and you’ll increase your chances of higher profits. 
  • Upsell opportunities. Use your newsletters are a safe space to recommend add-on products or promote your best upsell offers. 

What should a good newsletter contain?

There are many different types of newsletters that get sent out every day, but the good ones all share some key elements.  

A great email campaign should have: 

  • High-quality and relevant content. Don’t just sell to your audience. Provide them with interesting and engaging information that’s related to your business and product. Make sure your content is also personalized and scannable.  
  • Creative subject lines. You need a good subject line to grab the reader’s attention, or your amazing newsletter will sit unread in the inbox for time memorial. 
  • An attractive layout. Would you want to read a long wall of text, written in the smallest of fonts? Invest in a good-looking layout that’s pleasant on the eyes. 
  • An unsubscribe button. In the age of data privacy and transparency, you’ll build trust with your audience by being clear about the unsubscribe options to your newsletter.  
  • Strong call-to-action (CTAs). A good newsletter, like any other marketing copy, should encourage the reader to take a desired action: to make a purchase, to set up an appointment, or to sign up for a webinar.
  • A consistent and relevant send-out schedule. If your target market research made it clear that your customers read newsletters in the afternoons or during their evening commutes, don’t send your newsletter out on a Sunday morning. 

You should also pay attention to mobile responsiveness and transparency: make sure that your email campaigns have a clear footer with links to your terms and conditions and privacy policy. You don’t want to come across as shady, so include details like your physical mailing address, phone numbers, and a reply email address. 

How to create a successful email newsletter campaign

To run a successful email marketing campaign takes a bit of time and some preparation. 

Before you start, you should understand your reasons. You need to understand whether you need a newsletter and decide on the type of content you want to share in your newsletters. 

You should always pay attention to the content. Plan the content of your newsletters in advance, and remember to balance the informational and the promotional copy well to not annoy your readers. 

You need an audience, so share the word. Implement a newsletter subscription box in various places on your website, and set up a dedicated subscription landing page. Remember to detail the benefits of subscribing to the consumer. Get creative on social media to gain some subscribers too. 

Design your newsletter. Create catchy subject lines, decide on a primary CTA, design, and write your newsletter, and don’t forget about the image alternative text. Some email providers have a tendency of blocking images. 

Don’t forget about the unsubscribe. Your brand will come across as confident and professional if you’re open with your audience. Nobody wants their newsletters to be regarded as spam. 

And finally, it’s time to test your newsletter. Run multiple tests before you send out your first newsletters. Sometimes a small typo in the headline can influence the open rate of your email more than you’d think.  

Tracking the effectiveness metrics of a newsletter campaign

As with content marketing, or any type of marketing in general, you want to be able to measure the performance of your newsletter marketing campaigns. 

There are a bunch of metrics that you should keep monitoring, mainly: 

  • Bounce rate. This refers to the number of emails that couldn’t be reached (that ‘bounced’ back). If your bounce rate is high, you’re wasting money sending your newsletter to emails that don’t work.
  • Unsubscribes and spam complaints. Pay attention to the number of spam complaints and unsubscribes after your send-outs. It could be an indication that something’s wrong with your schedule or your newsletter layout or content.
  • Open rate. Open rate means the number of people who opened your newsletter. A bad open rate could mean that you need to work on your subject lines or send-out timing. 
  • Click-through rate (CTR). It’s important to know how many people ended up taking action and clicking to the links you placed within your newsletter. You should aim for a high CTR if you’re aiming to generate sales with your email marketing efforts. 

How to improve the engagement of newsletter subscribers

You’ll know after a few weeks and a few newsletters how well your emails are performing. Once you have an idea of your strong points and the challenges you’re facing, it’s time to optimize. 

Run A/B tests and create variations of your subject lines and content, and send them out at different times. Finding the best combination that works well for your audience is key, and will save you time and effort later on. 

If your audience is big, you should segment it down to different groups and tailor the messages and content accordingly. Maybe your eCommerce store sells clothes for women, men, and children. You could segment your newsletters to women, men, and women with children (if this demographic would be the main buyer for children’s clothes). 

Highlight trends and events that interest your segmented audiences. And remember to be critical of your copy overall: most people won’t spend as much time reading as you’d hope them to. Keep it short and easy to digest.

Written by

Author avatar

Matleena

Matleena is a seasoned eCommerce writer, with a particular interest in emerging digital marketing trends, dropshipping, and growth hacking. She’s addicted to coming up with new eCommerce business ideas and making them a reality; she deserves her nickname of ‘print on demand business mogul.' In her free time, she enjoys cups of good coffee, tends to her balcony garden, and studies Japanese.

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