Issue #28

Newsletter Guide: How to build a loyal community with consistent connection

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No one likes looking at a blank screen. Especially when that blank screen comes complete with a blinking cursor, that universal symbol that says you need to write something. In fact, a blank screen can be so distressing that some science even links it to higher blood pressure.

That blinking cursor is a formidable foe. But when people understand the benefits and power of newsletters, you’ll see why so many people work to overcome the blank page. From high ROI to higher engagement rates than social platforms, email marketing is one of the best ways to generate interest in what you have to sell or promote.

However, it’s not enough to be inspired. In addition to understanding the power of newsletters, you’ll need some actionable steps that’ll help you create a newsletter of your own.

For artists, creators, teachers, and more, starting a newsletter means building a true online community. But that doesn’t happen until the individual newsletter itself is written.

Build a loyal community with newsletters

With a ConvertKit Free account you can share what you love on a consistent basis with your newsletter to connect with your followers and grow your business.

Create your free newsletter

So why bother? And how can people with zero newsletter experience make it happen?

The truth is: You just need to know how to get started.

What’s the point of creating a newsletter?

If you’re going to spend time learning how to craft a newsletter, it only makes sense to have some confidence in the process first.

Simply put: why bother with creating a newsletter? Here are a few reasons.

Audience engagement

First things first: when you get a visitor on your website, how engaged are they? It depends where they come from. People visiting your site from a search engine may just be doing the virtual equivalent of “browsing.”

They poke around for a bit, then bounce.

Email marketing creates a more engaging experience, however, and happens to return some of the best statistics of any marketing channel, including:

  • ROI: 73% of marketers rate email’s ROI as either “good” or “excellent”
  • Revenue: When you use automated emails, you generate 320% more revenue than with non-automated emails, pointing to the repeatability of email’s success.
  • AOV (Average Order Value): Shoppers tend to spend 138% more when they come through email. This is compared to people who don’t receive email offers.

Content distribution

You have content that needs distribution. You have all sorts of channels to choose from: brochures, blog articles, social media, and more. Why distribute it with email? Why start a newsletter at all?

Email is currently the third-most popular channel for content distribution for a reason, ranking just behind major channels: websites and social media. Marketers who measure success by looking at email metrics like open rates and click-through rates (CTR) can more accurately gauge the success of their campaigns. And newsletter analytics make this easy to incorporate into a marketing campaign.

Karima Digital distributes a customer-friendly toolkit of software to encourage signups to the Karima Digital newsletter.
Karima Digital distributes a customer-friendly toolkit of software to encourage signups to the Karima Digital newsletter.

Sales funnel automation

Remember the stats above? Automated emails generate even more revenue than non-automated emails, and there’s a reason for this. Creating an email sequence that triggers as soon as someone signs up to your newsletter means that every time someone signs up, they’ll enter a funnel that’s already been tweaked, strategized, and optimized.

Once you have a sales funnel that works, email newsletter automation means you can repeat the process. You’ll have a reliable email sequence that you can repeat with new customers without lifting a finger (once you work out the best time to send your newsletter, of course). Once you have that sales funnel ready, you only have to write your newsletters once.

Additionally, using an email list is a cost-effective way to automate parts of your onboarding process and sell your products on autopilot.

Additional benefits of creating a newsletter

If you’re still on the fence about creating your first newsletter, consider the following reasons you may have an urgent need for this marketing channel:

  • Sales psychology. Statistics suggest that some customers need to hear a company’s claims over three times before they truly resonate. An email newsletter accomplishes this bit of sales psychology without you having to deal with each customer individually.
  • Preventing site bounces. Take a gander at your analytics and look at your bounce rate. You may be shocked to find that 50% or more of your traffic does nothing on your site except look at it, then click away (50% is the average bounce rate, according to research.) Without a newsletter, those site bounces end up nowhere, and there’s no way of recapturing them. Signing up a website visitor to a newsletter means that they don’t become another “bounce” that turns into nothing. You can still convert them into customers months–or even years–down the line.
  • The sense of community. Signing up for a newsletter instantly makes someone feel more “plugged in” to an online community. This is especially true with newsletters that offer exclusive deals and packages. People can also refer other people to your newsletter when they make online recommendations.
  • Creating a personal connection. Ending up in someone’s inbox gives a company the opportunity to give special offers, personalized messages, and more. There’s something about receiving an email that distinguishes one company’s offer from another.
  • Building a new revenue stream. Paid newsletters are fast becoming a popular option for creators of all kinds. They’re a great way to supplement your income from client work or monetize the blog content you’ve already written. Without clients, editors, or other gatekeepers limiting your creativity, the sky’s truly the limit with paid newsletters.

Of course, you can’t create that personal connection unless your newsletter comes across as authentic. It should feel like it was written by you, for them. Person-to-person. Here’s how to craft your newsletter to ensure it has that kind of resonance every time you hit send.

How to start a newsletter and craft your first one (in under 30 minutes)

With a few simple steps, you can write, design, and send your first newsletter in under 30 minutes. Here’s what you need to know.

Step One: Decide how you want to gather emails

The big choice you face when setting up newsletters: Deciding whether you want to use a landing page or an online form. But don’t choose an online form because you’re not sure how to create a landing page. Newsletter tools like ConvertKit offer free landing page builders so you can easily incorporate a landing page onto an existing website.

What’s the difference? You’ll have to find out which works better for your business. But generally speaking, an online form is easier to integrate into simpler websites. A landing page, on the other hand, helps you build A/B tests for larger websites with more niche audiences.

Whatever you decide, make sure that you don’t interrupt the web experience with your sign-up form. For example, a web form with a “slide-in” can draw attention to itself without getting in the way.

YouTuber Amy Landino uses a discreet sign up form at the bottom of a product page to encourage email signups without interrupting content that’s top-of-fold on her website. Image via Gatluw House.
YouTuber Amy Landino uses a discreet sign-up form at the bottom of a product page to encourage email signups without interrupting content that’s top-of-fold on her website. Image via Gatluw House.

Step Two: Create something of value for your audience

Did you ever sit down and wonder why someone might subscribe to your newsletter?

The most immediate answer is to gain access to a 10% discount when they shop at your site. But you can go beyond this.

Consider the central selling point of your newsletter. What will the reader get out of it when they sign up?

Career coach Latesha Byrd incentivizes new email signups with an Ultimate Job Search Quarantine Checklist.
Career coach Latesha Byrd incentivizes new email signups with an Ultimate Job Search Quarantine Checklist.

In some cases, a blog might offer unique tips that go above and beyond the latest blog posts. Or you can make ConvertKit part of your overall offering, such as using a Teachable integration with ConvertKit to make it possible to sell an online course.

Step Three: Write to a very, very niche audience

Chris Craft, author of Go Long: Getting Big Wins from Writing Long Form Content, is a ConvertKit user. His strategy? He says he writes his emails as if he was writing to a friend.

BravelyGo, a community for women managed by financial coach Kara Perez, incorporates a casual, personal tone in its ConvertKit invite.
BravelyGo, a community for women managed by financial coach Kara Perez, incorporates a casual, personal tone in its ConvertKit invite.

Once you’ve decided that you’ll start a newsletter and what its unique value proposition is, this personalization will give your newsletter the resonance that makes people feel comfortable with giving you their email.

It’s easier to automate than you might imagine. Include a personal element by using ConvertKit’s personalization features.

Step Four: Write a CTA with every email

If your newsletter is telling a story, your call-to-action, or CTA, is the answer to “what’s next?”

For many people, the CTA is actually the first thing they scroll to. Some estimates suggest that 90% of the people visiting a website will read the CTA as well as the header copy when they scan. They want to know what they’re being sold.

Here are some CTA best practices to keep in mind:

  • Personalization. Whenever you can incorporate a personal element (such as by using ConvertKit’s personalization features), your CTA will seem that much more engaging.
  • Psychology. Write from the “first-person” perspective. Don’t say “get your free eBook.” Instead, write from your readers’ perspective. “Download my free eBook today” sounds more immediate, which helps spur action.
  • Start with action verbs that clarify the process. “Free Trial” isn’t as engaging or immediate as “Sign up for a Free Trial.”
  • Visually distinguish the CTA from the rest of the content. Great email newsletters need great design to match. Whenever you can, use color and contrast to make your CTA button stand out from the background or simply start a new paragraph with a link, you make the CTA easier to spot, and easier to click.

Writing your first ConvertKit newsletter

You might still have a blank page—but now you know what to do with it.

You should write each and every edition of your newsletter as if you’re writing to someone sitting across the table from you. Focus on the value proposition of your newsletter, provide value right off the bat, and you’ll find your engagement (and your subscriber count) growing before your eyes.

If you want to take your newsletters to the next level, we recommend using one of ConvertKit’s newsletter templates. That way, you’re never working from a blank page. Just sign up for a free account with ConvertKit and answer a few questions about your goals. We’ll help you do the rest.

Build a loyal community with newsletters

With a ConvertKit Free account you can share what you love on a consistent basis with your newsletter to connect with your followers and grow your business.

Create your free newsletter