how to create an email newsletter featured image

Don’t worry…

I’m not going to tell you the usual “how great email marketing or newsletter is and the 44X ROI you’ll get” mantra.

Since you landed on this post, I assume you’re already convinced of how powerful an email newsletter is.

Newsletter is part of the bigger umbrella of email marketing. Email marketing can generally be divided into 2 parts:

  • Evergreen automated emails
  • Newsletters (a.k.a. one-off broadcast emails)

However, there are a few misconceptions about how to create an email newsletter that we need to clear first:

1/ Creating an email newsletter is not about writing or designing the newsletter in Word or Google Doc.

2/ It’s also not about sending emails from your Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. account. If you send from these accounts, most, if not all, of your emails will land in the spam folder… never to be seen by anyone.

3/ Email newsletters are not about cold email outreach. Email newsletters are all about permission-based email marketing — you must have the explicit consent from subscribers that they want to receive emails from you.

After reading this post, you’ll learn how to create (and send) a successful newsletter that subscribers are eager to open and read. You’ll learn not only the “tech” of how to create a newsletter, but also strategies and tactics on how to make it successful.

Short on time and just want to quickly use an email marketing tool to create and send your newsletter? We’ve got you covered. Content creators use BirdSend to send 30M emails/month + save 80% in email tool expenses every month while still achieving high email opens (how is this possible?). Try BirdSend free today!

Goal of an email newsletter

It helps to understand they WHY — why do you want to create an email newsletter in the first place? What is your goal with a newsletter?

If you’re like most people, you want to learn how to create an email newsletter because:

  • You want to earn an income

    Typically there are 3 income types: sell your own products or services, sell other people’s offers, and earn ad revenue by placing ads on your site or even in the newsletter itself.

    To effectively sell (whether it’s your or other people’s offers), you first need to build a relationship with prospects. You do that by helping them solve some of their pain points / problems so that they know, like, and trust you → buy or click to your site to see your content (and ads).
  • You want to supplement your current traffic source

    You’re already doing social media or ads or SEO, but you want to capture a certain portion of that traffic and turn them into subscribers. So that you can keep communicating and staying in touch with them.
  • You use it as a hedge in case other sources of traffic dry up

    You’ve heard and seen large social media accounts getting closed. Even Donal Trump’s Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts were shut down.

    Regardless of the reason — sabotage by a competitor, or unknowingly violating the platform’s terms and conditions — the point is you’re not in control. You don’t own the audience on these platforms. The platforms do. And they can take it away from you anytime they want.

    Imagine what happens if you solely rely on social media traffic to bring in customers. Your business could be wiped out overnight.

How to create (and send) a successful newsletter

1/ The email newsletter content

Types of content

You can create your own content or curate other people’s content.

If you do the latter, make sure to do an intro / outro / give your comments or thoughts.

For example, share your perspective on why you think these content deserve to be in the newsletter, or why you agree / disagree with some of them, or how you recently experience the same thing yourself in relation to the content being discussed / shared.

This allows you to stand out and have a unique voice that people will remember, instead of just another person simply “sharing links”.

Subject line

Let’s start with the subject line, since it’s one of the first things people look at before deciding if they want to open your email.

The best formula I’ve found is: curiosity + benefit

E.g.

  • Don’t write another email until…
  • New subscribers not opening your email?

Don’t write another email until… Hmmm until what (curiosity)? I need to know before writing my next email so I can write better (benefit).

New subscribers not opening your email? I must find out why (curiosity) so I can avoid this problem (benefit).

I cover more on how to write enticing subject lines here.

Strong opening hook

People don’t read for for word. They scan.

Make sure your opening line hooks them in so they want to spend a few more seconds scanning further (instead of hitting the back button).

Writing style and vibe

Use humor to make your newsletter fun

Don’t just “plainly” educate — i.e. educate as-is in a “factual or theoretical” manner because this results in a boring experience for your subscribers. Kind of like how most teachers teach in a boring way.

Inject personal and anecdotal stories into your emails. Use humor too, as they’re not only great ice breakers… but can also relieve tension, lower people’s guard, and make you more likable and relatable.

Using these in your email newsletters will allow you to carve out a personal brand of your own.

If you want to learn more about entertaining your subscribers, see point #3 of this chapter in this guide.

Be conversational too

Write like how you write to a friend. Use simple and every day language instead of trying to sound sophisticated. Use slangs.

No one wants to receive emails that sound formal or “corporate-sy”. But everyone wants to receive emails that are fun and full of character.

welly’s email has a lot of character

Never be afraid of selling

Remember the true objective of writing a newsletter?

Is it to have fun or is it to earn an income?

If it’s the latter, then you have to sell at some point.

People don’t have a problem with you selling if you do it the right way — and the right way is to deliver value first (i.e. make their lives easier by giving them a tip or two on how to solve their problems) and then ask for the sale.

You can even sell right in the 1st email. Just remember to deliver value first before selling.

Use Call-to-action (CTA)

Never end an email newsletter without asking readers to do something.

Whether it’s asking them to click to see your new video or blog post, or listen to your latest podcast episode, or reply to your email, or buy your product.

Every email or newsletter must have a compelling CTA.

No CTA = readers at the end of your email be like: “So that’s it? Okay, next email…”

next email meme

Email signature

I recommend having an email signature at the bottom of every email.

Reason #1:

It gives you an extra space to link over to your site.

But don’t just type the link; use a CTA instead.

Don’t →

Welly Mulia

Website: https://birdsend.co/

Do →

Welly Mulia

I help content creators save 80% in monthly email tool expenses while still delivering high email opens for them.

Reason #2:

It gives readers perspective, especially new readers. New readers can easily be reminded of who you are and how you can help them.

Keep email newsletter design simple for better deliverability

Remember why folks sign up for your newsletter in the first place?

Is it to be in awe of how “good looking” your email design is?

Or…

Is it so that your CONTENT can help solve their pain-points?

The answer is obvious:

  • Beautiful and fancy-designed emails: “So what?”
  • Simple design emails that contain helpful strategies and tips: “Now this is useful, let’s implement it!”

Plus, a simple email design (as opposed to a heavy, fancy-designed email) leads to better deliverability since the HTML and CSS code is much simpler and lighter.

2/ Sender name and email address

The first thing people look at before deciding whether to open your email newsletter is the sender.

There are 2 parts to “the sender”:

  • The sender name

    You can use your full name or you can use a combination of: [first name] at [brand]

    E.g. Full name: Welly Mulia

    First name + brand: Welly at BirdSend or Welly from BirdSend

    Don’t use brand name only because it sounds very “corporate-sy”. Remember, most people want to open emails from other individuals, but very few look forward to emails coming from companies.
  • The sender email address

    Never use a no-reply email address.

    Firstly, if you were to receive an email newsletter from [noreply@domain .com] — what is your first impression? That he does not care about you and just want to push his message down your throat? Yeah, that’s what I’d think too.

    Secondly, mailbox providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) will most likely put this type of emails in the spam folder.

Make sure to keep using the same name and email address when sending out your newsletters:

  • So as not to confuse subscribers
  • To tell the mailbox algorithms: “Hey I’m the same person who has been sending emails for the past few years, and my subscribers trust me and open my emails”.

Want the checklist of what should be included in your newsletter? As a bonus, you’ll get this entire post in pdf, so you can refer to it anytime, even when you’re offline. Click here to get them free.

3/ What is the best email marketing program / tool / software to create a newsletter?

There are many email marketing tools or email service providers.

In this article, I’m showing how to create a newsletter using BirdSend because — as you’ve probably noticed — you’re on BirdSend’s site.

Together with my small cohesive team, we run BirdSend — the affordable email marketing tool for content creators that send 30M emails/month and save them 80% in expenses every month, while still enabling them to enjoy high email opens.

On the Broadcasts page, click [New Broadcast] to create your newsletter:

(broadcast and newsletter are one-off emails, hence they’re treated the same)

how to create an email newsletter step 1

On the next screen, determine the recipients of the newsletter / broadcast:

how to create an email newsletter step 2

You can send to everyone in your account or you can send to a particular segment. In this example, I send to those who are tagged with [bought bruce lee consulting package].

If you want to send to everyone, just click the red x to delete the filter.

After that, click [Continue] to arrive at the next screen:

how to create an email newsletter step 3

This is where you write your content like how you’d write in Word or Google Doc. What you see is what you get. Simply type away, insert pics, logos, banners, gifs, emojis, etc.

After you’re done writing the content, click [Continue] to arrive at the last screen:

how to create an email newsletter step 4

Here, you simply type the from name, email address, and postal address. You only need to do this once; subsequent emails will not ask for this info again, unless you want to change it.

Click [Send Now] to immediately send the newsletter / broadcast to your subscribers.

You can also schedule it at later date if you want:

how to create an email newsletter step 5

Additionally, to get more eyeballs, you have the option to resend the newsletter to people who haven’t opened. It only takes 1-click to activate this feature, so why not?

how to create an email newsletter step 6

To do the above steps, click here to get started free with BirdSend.

4/ Email Newsletter best practices

The email content is mobile responsive

A lot of folks check their email on mobile devices. Obviously, with a mobile phone, the screen reading area is much smaller. Which is why it’s important to format your content to make sure it fits into the small viewing area while still displaying perfectly on desktops and laptops.

Good email marketing tools like BirdSend will take care of this for you… so if you use a legit one, you don’t have to worry about it.

Legally compliant

Make sure to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act by including an unsubscribe link in every email you send. Folks who no longer want to receive your emails can easily click it to stop receiving emails from you.

If you target European visitors, make sure to also include a GDPR checkbox (which BirdSend conveniently provides for you too).

On your opt-in form, it’s also good practice to have a short text that links over to your privacy policy (opens in new tab). It gives more confidence to folks who are about to subscribe.

BirdSend also provides you with this by default, and you can edit the text and link easily.

Check your newsletter spam score

You want your newsletter email to land in the inbox (and not spam), so ensure to check the “spamminess” of your content.

You can do this easily in BirdSend right in the email editor:

built-in spam score tool

Send a test email to yourself

The final step before sending out a real email newsletter is to always send a test email to yourself so you can get an idea of how it actually looks like and review if there’s any typo or broken link.

In the past, I’ve occasionally skipped this step only to send real emails with broken links and typos.

In BirdSend, you can quickly send a real preview email to yourself, directly in the email editor:

how to send real preview email

Want the checklist of what should be included in your newsletter? As a bonus, you’ll get this entire post in pdf, so you can refer to it anytime, even when you’re offline. Click here to get them free.

5a/ Import existing subscribers

If you have an existing list of subscribers, you can import them into your email marketing program / tool / software.

In BirdSend, the steps are pretty straightforward.

On the Contacts page, click [Import] to import new contacts / subscribers:

import subscribers step 1

You’ll arrive at the following screen:

import subscribers step 2

You can upload a csv file that contains the list of contacts you want to import, or you can copy / paste the data manually into the text area provided.

Click [Next] to go to the next screen and map the contacts’ data to the correct fields:

import subscribers step 3

You’ll then see the following screen:

import subscribers step 4

Here you can tag this batch of contacts (if you do segmentation). You can also subscribe them to an email sequence. Both are optional.

Click [Next] and answer a few questions related to your import to complete the import process.

To do the above steps, click here to get started free with BirdSend.

5b/ How to convince people to give you their email addresses

Newsletters have their place, but to get as many people to give you their email address, avoid saying “Subscribe to my newsletter”.

That’s because you’ll get a low opt-in conversion rate. In this day and age where people have super short attention span and are busy all the time, do you really think people are interested in signing up for another “newsletter”?

You’ll get a much higher conversion rate if you promise a specific freebie in exchange for their email address instead. In email marketing terms, this freebie is called a “lead magnet”.

But how do you then tie in your lead magnet to your newsletter?

Which leads me to my next point below…

Send emails immediately to new subscribers, regardless if your next newsletter issue is still days or weeks or months away

After they’ve submitted their email address, immediately auto-deliver the lead magnet you promised via an automated email.

Don’t wait until the next newsletter issue, which could still be a few weeks or months away — by which time they’d have forgotten about you → when they see your email a few weeks / months later, they’d be like, “Who the hell is this person spamming me!?”

why this person spammed me

wI recommend not only sending 1 automated email, but a series of automated emails to build relationships with your subscribers. And as I’ve stated above, the best way to build relationships is to help them solve some of their pain points and problems by way of tips, case studies, and strategies.

You deliver these content in your automated emails, spread across a series of email (preferably at least 7 emails over 7 days — so 1 email/day).

These automated emails are known as email sequences or drips or autoresponders.

Then, after they’ve “graduated” from your email sequence, put them into the “newsletter ready” segment so they’ll start receiving your newsletters.

Give the right expectations

Right on the opt-in form before people subscribe, give them the right expectations.

1/ Frequency

If you email daily, which is what I recommend using automated emails, then say it like it is. People who don’t want daily emails won’t opt-in, which is totally okay. You’re only here to serve people who want to hear (and buy) from you.

2/ What the lead magnet is about or in the case of “sign up for my newsletter” — what the newsletter is about.

Steps to create an opt-in form in BirdSend

On the Forms page, click [New Form]:

create optin form step 1

You’ll arrive here:

create optin form step 2

Choose the type of opt-in form you want to create. Let’s choose Popup in this example:

create optin form step 3

You can add more fields (e.g. name, mobile number, gender, hobby, mailing address, etc).

You can also enable / disable the GDPR checkbox [We will also send you emails about our products and special offers] — which is totally customizable.

From here, you just need to go down the list and fill the rest of the settings:

create optin form step 4

Let’s start with the 1st one [Post-Submit]:

create optin form step 5

After someone submits their email address, what do you want to do? Redirect them to a thank you page or post a custom message on current page?

Next, we move down to [Double Opt-in]:

create optin form step 6

If you use single opt-in, simply disable this setting by toggling off the yellow button [Enable].

If you use double opt-in, feel free to customize the email settings including the subject line and body content.

Moving to the next one [Post-Submission Automation):

create optin form step 7

Here you can segment contacts right when they opt-in, and subscribe them to sequences / email drips / autoresponders to automatically build relationships with them. You can add as many actions as you want by clicking the [New Action] button.

All of these are optional though. Simply click the red x to delete any or all automation.

Finally, we move on to the final step — [Integration]:

create optin form step 8

This is about how to display / embed the opt-in form on your website(s).

If you use WordPress, we provide you with a WordPress plugin that you can easily install on your site.

If you don’t use WordPress, you can insert a text snippet on your site, or you can take advantage of our “Hosted” feature where we host the form for you:

create optin form step 9

Finally, click [Update] at the bottom of the screen to save your settings.

To do the above steps, click here to get started free with BirdSend.

Build and grow your email list

If you don’t have an email list yet, here’s how to build one:

Step #1 — Get traffic to your website and / or lead capture page

Step #2 — Convince visitors who land to opt-in

A lead capture page is simply a landing page where the only goal is to convert visitors → subscribers. Visitors can only do 1 thing on this page — either to subscribe or exit the page. Nothing else.

Here’s an example of my lead capture page:

email challenge lead capture page

Click here to see the page live (and join the challenge if you want to fix your email mistakes 😉)

Both Step #1 and #2 are too long to be covered here. They’ve been explained in detail in Section D and E of The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Content Creators.

But the gist is this:

  • To get traffic, you can use social media and communities to get people to your website and / or lead capture page. You can, of course, use ads too if you have the budget.
  • To convert traffic → subscribers, you need a strong lead magnet offer and a simple lead capture page to “sell” visitors how your lead magnet is going to be beneficial to them.
  • To increase the chance you get more subscribers, scatter your opt-in forms throughout your site. Don’t just put an opt-in form on your homepage, or an in-content form weaved within your blog posts. Use popups, sidebar forms, and welcome screens too.

Examples of newsletters and lead magnets (by BirdSend users)

Lead magnets

Pam Barnhill’s Morning Time Plans

pam barnhill lead magnet

Amy R’s House Cleaning Checklist

amy’s cleaning checklist

Nora Dunn’s Travel Checklist

travel checklist lead magnet example

Newsletters

Sam Chui’s newsletter

sam chui newsletter

Amy Pelzner’s newsletter

amy pelzner newsletter

Ian Usher’s newsletter

housesitting magazine newsletter

Conclusion — How to create an email newsletter

An email list of your own (so that you can send newsletters + automated, evergreen emails) is much much much more valuable than your social media accounts and followers, no matter how big they may be.

An email list = asset that you can take whenever and wherever you want. Nobody can take this asset away from you.

Social media accounts = building your business on rented “sand” (sand because it’s fragile; you never know when your account is going to be shut down). The social media platforms own your audience, and they can take it away from you anytime they want.

Also with emails… it’s more personal and one-to-one rather than social media where you’re engaging and commenting publicly.

Finally with social media, you have to create new content all the time. Okay, you could repost the same content, but there’s a limit before your followers start to get annoyed because they’re seeing the same content repeatedly → unfollow you.

With automated evergreen emails, each person is getting your content in their inbox. The same content that’s been used thousands of times when you have thousands of subscribers. But that’s okay because each subscriber only sees it once.

Newsletter FAQ

How often and how long should an email newsletter be?

As often and as long as it takes you to build a meaningful and trusting relationship with your subscribers.

Can I buy an email list?

No, you shouldn’t because it goes against CAN-SPAM law and also results in poor email performance — high spam complaints, high bounces, and low open rates. Your email marketing tool / software account will also be closed as you’ll get caught sooner rather than later.

I’ve heard a lead magnet is more successful at getting subscribers than asking people to join my newsletter. Is this true?

Yes, very true. I’ve explained above in this section.

Can I promote affiliate offers in my emails / newsletters?

Obviously, check the terms of conditions of the email marketing tool you use. Most will not allow you to blatantly promote affiliate offers if you don’t have a central website on the said topic that you’re promoting. For instance, if you promote travel accessories, your site / blog better be about traveling and the content better be good.

So, if you have a good site / blog about the said topic, most likely you can promote affiliate offers.

The key is to care for your subscribers’ well-being and treat them like a human, like a friend. Don’t aggressively push offers down their throat every day. You wouldn’t want to be treated that way, so treat them how you wish to be treated.

I’d like to reuse my newsletter content and post it on my blog, but I’m afraid people know about it. What should I do?

People are busy. Even your fans won’t know everything you put out. Since you’ve already spent the time and energy to create the content, I’d recommend putting it on your blog so non-subscribers can see them too. Plus, you can also do SEO on them and attract search traffic. Always leverage what you have.

How do I create a video newsletter?

Video in emails are not supported by almost all major email clients, with the exception of Apple Mail. But a lot of folks don’t use Apple Mail.

most email clients don’t support video
Screenshot taken from https://www.caniemail.com/

This means it’s pointless to embed videos inside emails.

Moreover, video in emails will make the email message itself very heavy and unwieldy. And because mailbox providers can’t scan the content in the video (e.g. for fear it contains a phishing message), it’s more likely to land in spam.

What you could do is to use a video thumbnail and link it over to your video.

Want the checklist of what should be included in your newsletter? As a bonus, you’ll get this entire post in pdf, so you can refer to it anytime, even when you’re offline. Click here to get them free.

Want to quickly use an email marketing tool to create and send your newsletter? Content creators use BirdSend to send 30M emails/month + save 80% in email tool expenses every month while still achieving high email opens (how is this possible?). Try BirdSend free today!

Welly Mulia

👋 My customers (Content Creators) send 30M emails/month via BirdSend. They save 80% in email tool expenses every month while still enjoying high email opens.

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Save 80% every month. High email opens. Super fast email sequence setup.

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