Thursday, January 9, 2014

7 Tips for an Awesome Email Newsletter

I'm a published author who has, I'm ashamed to admit, a pitifully small email list. I've never done anything to actively grow my list, so it's my own fault. I decided that this year was the year I'd change that. I'm going to start putting out a monthly newsletter and actively trying to grow my list. One way I'll do that is to put a link to the sign up list in the backs of my ebooks, but that's another post.

I realized that I needed to do some research to make sure I was putting out a quality newsletter and that I would in fact be growing my list, rather than the other way around. So, I googled something like "great author newsletters" and started scouring the internet for information. 

Here's what I came up with:

  1. Open layout. Use images, colors, bold headlines, etc. with plenty of white space. No one wants to read a dense block of text. Have clearly designed sections (i.e. Announcements, on the blog, etc.)
  2. Put a clearly defined call to action, both at the beginning (in subject and/or header) and at the end, just before the close.
  3. Include social media buttons to encourage sharing and interaction
  4. Quality Content. Whether it's tips and tricks, announcements, recipes, or anything else you may be sending to your email followers, make sure they're giving them quality content. And what's the secret to that? Remember that this is about THEM, not YOU. Give them something they can use and enjoy. If it's all the party of you in every newsletter, they'll get sick of reading real fast.
  5. Tone. Make sure the language you use is warm and conversational. Or perhaps punchy and sarcastic. How you write is really all about your style, but 1) make sure it jives with your overall style on all your networks and blog, and 2) if you're critical and negative all the time, your email list will shrink in record time.
  6. Some research shows that newsletters sent between 6-10 a.m. or 7-10 p.m. get more opens and more clicks. Some people even suggest you should differentiate using time zones. That's a little extreme for my modest little newsletter, but it's not necessarily a bad idea. Just something to keep in mind.
  7. I'm going to throw in my own tip here. This isn't something I came across, at least not directly, but I'd try to put at least a little bit of humor or sentimentality in your newsletter. If people smile for any reason, they'll associate good things with your newsletter and want to open it when it lands in their inbox.
Of course, you must always use common sense when emailing people. Don't spam. Don't blitz them with unending emails screaming, PLEASE BUY MY BOOK in all caps. Just don't do that. (Not only will your list shrink, but you'll probably get reported to people who take spammers very seriously and can make your life very miserable.)

Below, I've pasted screenshots of my first newsletter. It may change over time. I'll experiment and see what works, what gets the most clicks, etc., but here's my first attempt. I'd love to hear what you think of it. Suggestions? Tips? Any problems you see?

Any suggestions? Do you have any secret weapons you use in your newsletter?


  1. Yours looks really nice!
    I'd have no idea what to say in a newsletter. I guess I could pull from the news items on my blog. Might do one later.

  2. Great tips. Thanks for sharing how to do one right.

    1. No problem! Thanks for stopping by, Natalie! :D

  3. Good ideas! I don't do email newsletters at all...... So I guess having a small list is better than nothing. :)

    1. Very true! Thanks for stopping by, Susan! :D