Is figuring out what to send to your email list holding you back from sending out a consistent newsletter?
Well, you're not alone. This is one of the biggest issues that businesses face when they start to address email marketing. The fear I hear often is the anxiety of not having enough interesting things to send out.
But this is the farthest thing from the truth! You have a lot to talk about, you just don't realize it. There's plenty to talk about in your business and I am going to give you a ton of ideas to inspire you!
Squash that Fear!
Before we dive in, the first thing I want to say to you is: remember subscribers do not sign up for your email list because they don't want to hear from you.
Think about it. Do you sign up to get information from businesses and hope they don't email you? No!
You sign up because you expect information to be sent to you, that's exactly why you signed up.
Remind yourself of this the next time those creeping doubts begin as you put together your own newsletter.
Ideas for Newsletter Content
The suggestions below are just that, and not an exhaustive list. This is a general and common list of ideas that you can apply to your own strategy and reach for the next time you feel like you have nothing to say.
Something to remember if you get stuck: your newsletter is called a newsletter because it is literally a letter (email) full of news (info) about your business. Ask yourself: What is going on in your business that you can share with your readers?
Let's discuss types of content you can create for your email marketing strategy:
Blog Posts: Linking to blog posts is a great way to round up what you want your subscribers to zero in on. Make it easy for them! Don't wait for them to find your content on social media, deliver it to them!
Round up of old content: Don't be afraid to round up older blog posts that are timely or relevant. This is a smart way to get new eyes on older but still applicable information. In this example, Made by Rae rounded up all of her blog posts that shared different styles of her Ruby top pattern, and then linked to buy the pattern. So brilliant.
New Products & Services: A newsletter is a great way to announce new products and showcase them. Offering your subscribers information they can't get elsewhere or that they receive first builds trust with them, they know they can rely on getting the info in their inbox first before anyone else.
Back in stock: Have a popular product? Keep your newsletter list in the know. Grainline Studio sends out a simple newsletter alerting readers that their coveted patterns are back in stock.
Spotlight new products: Take the opportunity to make a splash with one product. Clothing line Curator did this beautifully with their new skirt, Grace.
Staff favorites: This is a great way to showcase what you have in stock, but add extra personality and a bit of a dynamic experience to what you offer. And you don’t have to be a product based business to do this! You can talk about your services this way too! Why you like something that you offer, or why you created it.
Video: I shouldn’t have to tell you, video is huge and it’s just going to get bigger and bigger. Don’t be shy about including Facebook Lives you have done, or share quick videos showcasing new products. This is a quick and easy way to create super valuable content quickly. It doesn’t need to be overly produced, you can shoot it right on your phone!
"Shop the Look" spreads: If you sell clothes or products, putting together a little fashion spread is a wonderful way to market your wares. Take a look at how Marimekko organized these simple spreads of their clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Such a fun and easy way to make your newsletter visual, give your readers ideas of how to pair items, and most importantly make it quick to shop from!
Gift guides: As above, use a flat lay for gift guides - making suggestions to your readers for specific holidays, dates (Mother’s Day, etc) or just because! You don’t need a special occasion to create these sorts of images. Think of your newsletter as your salesroom floor - make it easy for your most supportive fans to buy from you! Use PicMonkey, Canva, or Photoshop to annotate images easily.
GIFS: I love the idea of adding GIFS to your newsletter for dynamic and fun content. There has been fears in the past that GIFS would somehow trigger spam filters, but that's no longer the case and ESP (email service providers) like Mailchimp offer tips on adding them. Below, Ace & Jig show off new styles in their simple, yet stylish GIF. Use GIFmaker.me a one stop shop website for GIFS.
Personal essays or thoughts: Share an experience you think your subscribers can relate to, an A-ha! moment, or a lesson you learned in business. Getting personal with your subscribers builds relationships, and gives your readers a connection to you. Abby Glassenberg offers takeaways, musings, and thoughts in her newsletter about being a creative entrepreneur online (along with excellent links). And don't be afraid to turn these missives into blog posts.
Customer testimonials: A quote from a client or customer is a thoughtful way to spread social proof. This gives real life examples of how others are interacting with your business, and can do a lot for your brand reach, and offer real experiences your potential clients can relate to.
Case studies: Did one of your clients get incredible results from your services? Did you build a gorgeous website or design an incredible new look for a client’s brand? Share this! Case studies can be anything you want to be as long as they demonstrate a before and after with results your ideal customer are in search of.
Anecdotes: Don't be afraid to share positive experiences you've had with your customers. This will demonstrate your attention to customer service and your care for the people that support you. Never use real names without express permission though!
Introduce your staff or you: I love this idea. Clothing designer Elizabeth Suzann sent out a newsletter simply titled "Meet the People Who Make Your Clothes." Each staff member was introduced by photo and holding a sign saying what they do and why they do it. This brings a face to what you do as a business, and gives a nod to those that help run your business.
Tips: Offer tips or care instructions for using one of your products. This can be anything - from how to wash an item to a neat pattern hack or how to use your product. Below, Planoly an Instagram scheduler offers tips on how to create content (very meta!).
Press mentions: Any press or praise you get should be included in your newsletter. If you're featured in an article or on a podcast, be sure you're sharing it with your most ardent supporters: your newsletter subscribers!
FAQ: If you get common questions, share your answers with your readers - your newsletter is a great way to educate your readers about your business and your products.
A charity/nonprofit/cause your supporting: Now more than ever people want to know what the businesses they support are supporting. If you donate $$ or product or time to a charity or nonprofit let your readers know and why it’s important to you.
Special sales, discounts, and coupons: Offering your subscribers first dibs and exclusive sales is a perfect way to build your sales, trust, and your open rates. Last year Colette Patterns released a new pattern, releasing it first to only their newsletter list with a 20% off coupon. A word of warning: Make sure that you track how often you offer sales and discounts. It can be easy to lean on this as a way to stir up sales, but ultimately it trains your customers to only buy when you offer a sale. Resist the urge to make this a habit.
Exclusive content: Exclusive content can be literally anything you want it to be. Just make sure it's actually exclusive. 😉
Industry news or relevant information: If you have a product or a service and there’s a big industry around it, sharing industry specific news might be very helpful for your audience. A previous iteration of my newsletter was a round up of links pertaining to running a business online to educate my readers. Your main focus with your newsletter should be driving traffic back to your shop or website, but adding links to outside content that enhance what you offer your readers can be very valuable.
Announcements & Events: Sharing special announcements and upcoming events is something you want to do often with your newsletter. Your readers signed up because they want to stay informed with what you are offering and have going on! Keep an editorial calendar so you know what important dates are coming up and be sure to include them! A super example of this is Jen Hewett's newsletter. She includes new products she's working on and upcoming classes her subscribers can take (her classes sell out quickly!). Such a great way to showcase all that is going on in a business.
Sneak Peek/Behind the Scenes/Work in Progress: Readers love to get a sneak peek behind the scenes or an exclusive look at works in progress or an upcoming product. There's some sort of psychological trigger that happens - at least for me. I love getting to see into people's work spaces, their studios, their shops, and see what they’re working on. Offering this is a great way to include visual content in your newsletter, as well as a way to make the experience personal and intimate.
Inspiration: Never underestimate a good story! People that love and support businesses want to know the story behind how something came to be. Sharing this information gives your customers a look into your process or the history behind something they bought. This can be super powerful!
User Generated Content (UGC): Do you have a product, an item, or run a community? Make sure you've created a branded hashtag so your customers can easily tag you on social media. People love to share their purchases, items, and things they are making and they like to get a shout out from the brands as well. Asking your customers to tag you with a branded hashtag is a smart way to encourage communities to create content for your business that you can then share elsewhere. Use these images (with permission) in your newsletter to highlight what your community is doing with your products and in turn give back to your community for sharing their photo.
Two great examples:
- Rebecca Ringquist an artist that creates beautiful embroidery samplers and asks her customers to tag them on Instagram with #dropclothsamplers
- The Athletic encourages its customers to take pictures wearing their socks.
Instagram images: Repurpose that content! If you are spending time on social media making beautiful photos, include them in your newsletter. This makes your newsletter visually appealing and will encourage follows.
Your social media channels: Don’t be afraid to link to your social media channels! Grainline Studio does this often (scroll to the bottom).
Pinterest boards: Are you collecting ideas or examples of your products being used? Share these with your newsletter readers! Cashmerette has numerous boards of her patterns for inspiration.
Resources or tools: If you have resources or tools that you can suggest to your readers that will underline your business's goals and mission, this is an excellent way to offer value in your newsletter! I like to suggest apps, scheduling tools, helpful websites, etc to inform my audience. What can you share?
If you are just starting out with your newsletter, have some humility (I say this because it's something I need to hear all of the time) you aren't going to be perfect. But that's ok!
The point is that you begin and start sending.
Once you start sending out your newsletter consistently, you'll start to learn what your voice is, what works for your audience, and what feels good.
I hope these ideas help you. Remember its not an exhaustive list, it's just a list to get your brain and inspiration going. I'd love to hear what you like about the content in newsletters you receive or what you have sent to your subscribers. Tell me below!