If you could write all the things down that you should be doing to improve your brand, the list would be never-ending.
From organising user-generated content to updating those dated images on your website and finally squaring a new blog post away, the sheer amount of tasks to tick off can be overwhelming.
Worst yet, you know deep down that doing these things will only enhance your brand.
Why is it so hard to do them?
Newsletters and email marketing fall into this category of things you should adopt, and with a roughly 4,000% return on investment, you might argue that they’re more must than maybe.
But the thought of sourcing a decent newsletter platform, brainstorming ideas week after week and actually sitting down to write the damn thing is, quite frankly, bloody intimidating.
The question then becomes:
How can a surf brand owner or manager, whether you run a small surf house or move thousands of wetsuits, write newsletters that will connect your brand with customers and send them to your website?
Well, turns out, it’s pretty easy.
I’ll show you just how it’s easy to write a newsletter using the steps below and give you a behind-the-scenes look at why newsletters are set to be one of the most powerful (and affordable) ways to spread the love about your brand.
Check ’em out now and let me know what you think or read an earlier post on newsletters here.
Why are newsletters such a powerful marketing tool?
Think I’m pumping up newsletters a little too much?
I get it.
I love writing newsletters myself, and I can testify to their effectiveness. If, however, you’ve never sent a newsletter or engaged in email marketing before, I understand your trepidation. Why sink all that time and effort into something that you’re not sure of?
Because they work like a treat.
I won’t try to persuade you with word wizardry. Instead, I’ll let the following statistics from Web Site Rating do the talking for me:
- 58% – the percentage of internet users who check their emails before checking social media
- 8/10 – the number of B2B marketers (business to business… like me!) who say newsletters are the most effective way to disseminate content
- 99% – the percentage of email users who check their emails daily
- $44 for every $1 – the ROI for newsletters when worked out as an average
Perhaps more importantly though, newsletters and emails aren’t in danger of being labelled a hazard to your health. This means that while other forms of marketing might dwindle in popularity, email newsletters are only going from strength to strength.
8 easy-to-follow steps for creating regular newsletters
I’m not going to sit here and say I have all the answers when it comes to email marketing or getting your newsletter off the ground.
I’m far from a marketing or newsletter whizz – all I know is what worked and is working for me.
Below is every step I took to start my newsletter, which while not boasting thousands of subscribers, regularly gets open rates of 60% or more (when the average email marketing open rate in 2023 is 21.33%).
Let’s get into it.
Step 1: Choose an email newsletter platform
There are dozens of different email newsletter platforms out there, and the vast majority offer a free trial period.
Take your time to go through the features of each one and decide which best suits your individual needs. Security, customisation and ease of use are all important considerations here.
You can also check out the 6 emails newsletter platforms I recommend to help you get started.
Step 2: Define your email newsletter objectives
Before you start writing your newsletter, it’s important to define what you want to achieve with it. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Promote a new product or discount code? Generate leads? All of the above?
Once you’ve determined this, make sure each piece of content in the newsletter supports this goal. If not, don’t include it!
This is also the part where you can really dig into your target audience.
If you don’t know who you’re writing to, how are you going to come up with content ideas? Take a look at the people who have booked with you or purchased from you in the past. What do they have in common? Where are they from? What are their interests?
Any valuable information that you can discern from them will help you write a newsletter that connects.
Step 3: Ensure you have a sign-up form in place
You could be the best surfer in the world, but if you don’t let people see you, nobody is going to know! It’s exactly the same when it comes to newsletters.
Remember, the easier it is for people to sign up, the more likely they are to do just that. Just keep in mind that they should have the option to opt out too – it’s one of the keys to having a successful newsletter.
Step 4: Settle on a realistic frequency
Getting started is more important than writing every day or week. No matter how much you want to write, life has a way of getting in the way and preventing you from doing so – trust me, I know!
If you can manage it, aim to send out your first newsletter once per month. This gives you enough time to begin building up your email list and have content ideas ready to go.
You can always tweak it later and dial up the frequency once you have a routine in place.
The important thing here is that you set a time to write your newsletter and stick to it.
No pushing it back for something perceived to be of more importance!
Also, word of advice: don’t write and send your email newsletter on the same day. This can lead to mistakes or even missed opportunities regarding what to write. Instead, write it one day then post it the next – you’ll thank me later.
Step 5: Choose a newsletter template
Do you want to add a lot of images? Are you more keen on creating a story-style newsletter? Maybe you just want to share links or updates?
Go back to your newsletter strategy and design a template around it. You want to make sure the content spaces within your newsletter can be filled month in, month out.
One tip is to look at the newsletters you enjoy reading. You can then simply copy the template they use and try it out for size.
Step 6: Fill your newsletter with interesting content
Templates, subject lines and flashy pictures all mean nothing if what you include within the email isn’t interesting.
In my own experience, the best-written content is friendly and personal while being helpful or sparking curiosity. How exactly you do this will depend on your target audience and the topic you’re writing about.
What I can say is that it’s a good idea to write in short, snappy sentences. Nobody wants to be faced with a wall of text – think quality over quantity here!
As far as coming up with these content ideas go, this is where you can get really creative. Borrow tidbits from your life or tell stories that humanise your brand. Don’t be afraid to share failures!
The key here is writing in a way that both entertains and informs so that it stays readable long after landing in a subscriber’s inbox.
If you can do this effectively, you’ll quickly create a bond with your readers and keep them coming back for more.
Step 7: Add personalised fields and a call to action
According to HubSpot, 72% of brands say that one of the most effective strategies for email marketing campaigns is message personalisation.
The reason for this is simple: personalised fields not only make your readers feel special, but they also encourage more people to open the emails.
What’s more, personalised fields allow you to segment your subscribers according to their interests and preferences – a great way of showing them relevant content and offers.
Tell me, are you more likely to open an email titled “Hey [name]!” or one that just reads “Dear subscriber”?
Let’s not forget the call to action (CTA) either. The purpose of a call to action is to direct readers to your website, products, Facebook group, landing page, blog post or social media channels.
Think of it like a digital signpost that guides readers in the direction they need to go.
Where can they find the best surfboards? Thataway!
Step 8: Split test different subject lines and preheaders
Last but certainly not least, you should split-test different subject lines and preheaders until you find the perfect combination.
A/B testing allows you to compare two versions of email subject lines, measuring which one performs better in terms of opens, clicks, etc. This is invaluable for refining your newsletters and improving their performance over time.
As for how to write an effective email subject line and preheaders, that’s actually one of the most fun parts of creating a newsletter! You can really get creative here by using puns, emojis or even asking direct questions.
Just remember that the main goal of email subject lines and preheaders is to get your reader to open the email – so make sure they pique curiosity (without including any potential spam trigger words).
Starting a newsletter for your surf brand’s website is easier than you think.
Begin small and build up from there and so long as you’re not a complete newsletter kook, you’ll get a good open rate and some replies. Then, once you’re confident in your newsletter creation capabilities and subject lines, you can dial up the frequency and build your list even further.
So go on and write a newsletter now – an army of loyal readers are just waiting to hear from you!