5 Critical Things You Need to Do Before Sending an Email Newsletter

Author: Alyssa Gregory | October 19, 2015

Email marketing can be a very powerful long-term marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. When you communicate with your audience consistently through email newsletters, you forge relationships with your readers, boost brand recognition and increase your credibility as an expert in your industry. It may take time some time to build your list, but with consistent effort, your email newsletters can also help you generate new business on a regular basis.

If you are just getting started with email marketing, use this checklist of critical steps to get the best results from your efforts.

1. Choose the Right Template

Most email marketing platforms come with a set of email newsletter templates you can customize through a simple drag-and-drop functionality. This is a great option if you don’t have coding experience, but consider at least modifying the color scheme so it represents your company. Better yet, hire a designer to add your logo and other brand elements for a consistent look and feel. If you’re unsure which direction to go with your template, Constant Contact has these tips for choosing the perfect email template.

2. Proofread and Check Links

There’s nothing worse than spending time working on your newsletter, finally sending it, and then noticing you have a typo or a broken link. For typos and grammatical errors, print out the draft newsletter and review it carefully on paper. Then, if you have someone on your team who hasn’t seen the newsletter yet, ask him or her to do a review with fresh eyes to catch anything you may have missed. And when it comes to link checking, test every link in your newsletter at least once to make sure every link goes where you want it to go.

3. Create a Compelling Subject Line

One big no-no with email newsletters is having the same subject line for every issue. This doesn’t tell recipients anything about the content of the newsletter or them give any reason to open it. You have an opportunity to entice your readers to open your newsletter based on your interesting and engaging subject line. Try using your recipient’s name in the subject, including an offer or teaser, or using a specific call to action. Here are a few more tips for writing a subject line that boosts your email open rates.

4. Send a Test

Before scheduling your newsletter to get distributed to your list, make sure you send yourself a test. Even if the newsletter looks great in preview mode, you never know for sure until it arrives in your inbox. If you’re using an email marketing platform that shows you what your newsletter looks like on different devices, this is probably adequate testing. If, however, you can’t test this thoroughly in your email service or you have a custom-coded newsletter design, you may want to run it through a service like Litmus to make sure everything looks good across different email clients and devices.

5. Don’t Forget the Unsubscribe Link

Most email services don’t give you a choice about whether or not to include an unsubscribe option, but you often have a choice where it goes in your newsletter. The standard placement is in the footer of the email message, but you can also include an unsubscribe link at the top of your newsletter to make it easier to find. Remember, making it easy for subscribers to opt-out from receiving messages from you is the law under the CAN-SPAM Act. If you don’t follow these regulations and your readers mark your email as spam, you can be blacklisted by your email marketing platform and unable to send to your email list any longer.

Remember that it’s important to send your email newsletter on a regular basis. The optimal frequency depends on your audience and the content you’re sharing. As your list starts to grow, you can include a reader survey to find out more about what your audience wants in terms of content and timing and use that in your future email marketing campaigns.

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