Email Marketing: How To Create Content

What goes into your email newsletter?

Small business man preparing to write E-newsletter

Small business man preparing to write E-newsletter

This is where the rubber meets the road.   I’ve seen perfectly capable small business owners freeze in utter fear staring at the email newsletter form while all of the color drained from their face.  I understand writing can be a challenge for some and we’ll discuss some workarounds for those who are consistently experiencing writer’s block.  I also know it can be intimidating to send a message to a faceless audience.  You don’t ‘really’ know these people, yet they raised their hand and told you they were interested in receiving your email newsletter.  So what do you do?

Move past your fear.  You made an implied promise you were going to communicate with this important audience and you have to keep that promise.  Get over the hump by recalling why you started your email newsletter in the first place.  You want to keep your company in front of those who have given you permission to use their email address.  You recognize the value of your email list of subscribers as they know, like and trust you and your offerings. As such, they most likely represent your ‘best’ customers.  They can, in time, become your online evangelists.  And, these email marketing efforts will pay dividends.  So, there is real value in maintaining your email list, which means you have to actually send them something of interest.

For those with writer’s block, you’ll find a list of Seven Tips in Creating Email Content and I would suggest you review it first.  There are all sorts of creative workarounds to move past any fear or hesitancy in writing an email newsletter and this post outlines seven.  If you give it some thought, I’m sure you can come up with several more to add to the list.

If you struggling for newsletter topics, you may want to read this post on 52 blogging topics.  The same rationale applies to one’s email newsletter.   However, you’ll want to narrow your email newsletter focus on no more than three different topics where you can consistently provide fresh, up-to-the-minute information of interest to your readers.

I want to share some additional content guidelines below.

Tip 1 – Keep it short

Your subscribers are just like you in that they have a ton of ‘To Dos’ on their plate.  Respect their time and tell them what you want to tell them and get out of there.  This approach is a time saver for you and for them.

Tip 2 – Consider offering a variety of content

Your audience is compromised of different folks with different interests.  So you may want to include two or three topics.  If one topic isn’t appealing, perhaps they’ll find one that is and you’ll give them another reason to stay on your list.

Tip 3 – Let your blog do the heavy lifting

You have plenty of material to share if you have a blog.  Don’t repeat the blog in your email newsletter.  Rather present  a short, introductory teaser along with a link back to the specific post.  This way, your readers can determine if they want to read more and you haven’t wasted their time.

Tip 4 – Do it your way

Some small business owners want their email newsletter to be graphically rich with very few words.  Others are simple text with one focused message.  Still others have a pleasing mix of graphics along with a variety of content.  Whatever your style or brand image may dictate, let that be your guide.  Trust your preferences.  They will serve you well.

Tip 5 – Write one-on-one

This is a tip you’ll find on the Seven Tips in Creating Email Content, but it is so important I didn’t want you to miss it.  One of the most valuable training tips my husband received when learning to write scripts for radio and TV was to imagine he was talking to just one person.  Why?  Because when you focus on one person, you become more relaxed and your choice of words become more intimate, more conversational.  Each person on your email list wants to feel like you are writing just for them and this is one way to make this so.

Tip 6 – Don’t forget CTAs

Calls to action (CTA) are important in our blog, your website as well as in social media interactions.  So include them in your email newsletter.  Get them engaged in your email newsletter content by giving them reasons to click on a link or visit your site.

Tip 7 – Build anticipation

Let them know what will be included in next week’s email newsletter that might whet their appetites and have them waiting in anticipation.  Perhaps it is a weekly feature of tools or tips or a special announcement before the general public of an upcoming event or an interview with some industry guru or industry celebrity.

Those are my seven tips on how to create content for your email newsletter.  I’d like to hear some of your tips.  Share them below.

If you’re just joining us or this series covering email marketing, you may want to review some of the previous posts. We’ve covered:


Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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