We are BIG fans of Mailchimp for 3 reasons.
- It’s easy to use.
- Has lots of great tools and templates to get you started.
- Always supports you with super-helpful resources.
Mailchimp is what we use to create beautiful landing pages, sign-up forms, questionnaires and much more. But in this blog, we are going to focus on emails.
Let’s get started…
Whoa there! Before you jump straight into templates and start getting all creative, ask yourself some key questions. Who is your audience? What can you help them with? Why should they listen? Then using this information start to sketch out your newsletter campaign plan. This will help you understand how often you need to send, how you are going to create content and what the call to action needs to be.
Your brand is the face of your company. It needs to be clear, compelling and consistent. Consistency leads to brand recognition and ultimately builds trust with your clients and customers. When we work with clients we will create a set of brand guidelines and some simple brand rules. These can vary from a couple of pages to the guideline equivalent of War & Peace. Two or 200 pages will depend on your business. Just make sure you have the key guidelines and rules in place. As a starter, we recommend a colour palette of 2 or 3 colours, Coolors is pretty cool for choosing colours that work together. Fonts, nothing too fancy, Mailchimp has a selection to choose from. And an Image style that has a consistent composition, style and tone.
Mailchimp provides you with a variety of template options so you can find the right layout for your newsletter. Pick the one that provides you with the best layout to get started. We recommend starting with something nice and simple.
Tip: Once you have created your basic template save it and re-use it for your next email.
Do one thing well
Often the problem with newsletters is that they’re cluttered and unfocused. New client projects next to a random event that happened two weeks ago. It can become a bit of a confusing mess. Often the most effective emails have one clear message.
Inform, educate and share
It’s tempting to sell, sell, sell but this can turn an audience off. Try to keep the content 90% educational and 10% promotional. Share your expertise and guide your audience towards useful resources.
Getting their attention…fast
Bring the most important information to the top of your newsletter and make it nice and clear. People are busy and do not have a lot of time on their hands. You have to get their attention in the first few lines. This also applies to the subject line…get creative with it.
Call to action
The Call to Action (CTA) is where you want your reader to do something. Whether it’s to click through to a blog post, forward to a friend, or make a purchase, make it super simple for your audience to know what you want them to do. The CTA can be an image, button, or text. Choose whichever suits your purpose but make sure the action is clear. Don’t get carried away adding too many CTAs or readers won’t know what to click.
Image size and quality
Logos, photos, icons or animation…we say YES to images in emails. Images grab attention and help tell a story or sell a product. Just keep them consistent with your brand and subject. If want to use photography but cannot take the photos yourself you can use stock library imagery. Unsplash is a good free source. Image quality is key, it’s important that they are clear and sized correctly to avoid squishing or stretching.
Test, Test, Test
Ok, so you now have a newsletter that you are happy with. Before sending it out into the world take a moment to test it. Send it to yourself, your friends and trusted colleagues. It may be a bit scary, but we guarantee it will improve the newsletter. Once you know what works with your audience and are confident in your content you can skip this part. But for now, it is highly recommended.
Ok, that’s our guide to creating your first newsletter. It is a steep learning curve but the best way to get better is to question, plan and then get started. Go for it and start sending!