working on starting an e-newsletter

Part 2 of a 2-part series about starting an e-newsletter.

In our previous post, we talked about the things you need to be aware of before starting an e-newsletter. In this post, we'll cover the steps that are involved with starting, and maintaining, an e-newsletter. Like any marketing effort, once you start, you should allocate the resources to keep it going for a period of time.

Producing an e-newsletter takes more time than you'd think.

First, you'll need to design and build an e-newsletter template. This is done in one of the online "email services" like Campaign Monitor or Constant Contact. Also, you'll definitely want to test it an online testing service, to make sure it looks good in any of a dozen email programs. Otherwise, it can look fine in one email program, but terrible in others. See a testing environment here.

Once you have that template designed and coded, there's a process that needs to be taken every time you send out an e-newsletter. Here are the main steps involved:

  1. Write, and post, 3 blogs on your website, because each "teaser text" link (click here to see what we call "teaser text") that appears in the e-newsletter will link to one of the three blogs on your website,
  2. Find, purchase and size however many images (usually 3) that will appear in the e-newsletter,
  3. Upload the images to your online template,
  4. Write and upload the teaser text that will appear in the e-newsletter into Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, or whichever email service you're using, and make the “Learn more” link go to the respective blog pages on your website which have the whole story,
  5. Send test emails to yourself make sure it appears the way you want it to,
  6. Make changes to the e-newsletter in Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, etc., and send another test email,
  7. Compile the email addresses,
  8. Upload the most recent version of your email list (if the list changes from one month to another),
  9. Schedule the e-newsletter through Campaign Monitor (or Constant Contact) to be sent out, and finally,
  10. Review the reports that your email service offers to see who opened your email, and clicked a link, in your e-newsletter. See a sample report here.

Why all links in your e-newsletter should point to your website.

You'll want each of the articles in your e-newsletter to link to your website, opposed to another outside website (that's not yours).

The reason is because one of the main purposes of having an e-newsletter is to get people to your website. And the more people that visit your website, the more "bonus points" Google's algorithms gives your website. That's because the more people who visit your site, and the more time people spend on your website, the more relevance Google gives it, since "dwell time" is considered a ranking factor.

That's why it's critical to have informative and/or entertaining blogs. Otherwise while you might get people TO your website, they won't stay long if your blogs aren't worthwhile. And both metrics are important o Google's algorithms.

Below is an example of "teaser text."

showing an example of teaser text for starting an e-newsletter

An e-newsletter shouldn't have a lot of content in it because:

  1. A long e-newsletter isn't inviting to read, because it seems as if it will require a lot of time, which most people don't have,
  2. Have a 1-sentence "teaser text" with a "Learn More" link allows you to highlight several stories quickly,
  3. The goal of the e-newsletter is to link someone to your website to read a story, because
  4. The more folks who visit your website, the better it is for your SEO because of something called "dwell time."

What if you're not inclined to produce an e-newsletter yourself?

If you don’t have the time, nor the inclination, to go through these steps yourself, you'd want your marketing or web design firm to handle it for you.
You'll probably want a marketing or web design firm to design and build your e-newsletter to begin with. That assures the e-newsletter will look good in every email program, because they have that coding experience.
Building an e-newsletter in Constant Contact or Campaign Monitor, requires some technical skill in order to make sure the newsletter looks good in multiple email programs. See a screen shot of what a testing window looks like here. This shows you all the email programs your e-newsletter can be tested in.

What you’ll need to do when starting an e-newsletter.

Start a Campaign Monitor account in your company's name. This way, when the newsletters are sent out, it will be invoiced to your company's credit card.

However, sending e-newsletters is cheap. It’s $5 for the first email address it's going to, and a penny for every other email address. We send our own e-newsletters to 400 names and it cost $9.00 each time.

Here's an example of a report.

It shows you who has opened your email, and who has clicked on which links. There are other stats the reports show, such as who has opted out of receiving your e-newsletter, what emails are no longer valid, and which email boxes are not able to receive your e-newsletters, and shows reasons for why that may be.

See other examples of e-newsletters either:

Below are examples of reports from Campaign Monitor.

screenshot of an e-newsletter report

screenshot of overview of e-newsletter opens and clicks

Example of what an e-newsletter looks like with "teaser text."

screenshot of what an e-newsletter looks like with teaser text

Screen shot of what a testing environment looks like.

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screen shot of a testing window for an e-newsletter

These are all the pieces and parts that go into starting an e-newsletter. If you'd like to know more about starting an e-newsletter, feel free to contact us.