In the vast majority of cases, use Mail Chimp when writing your enewsletter. It is the ‘market leader’ and unless there is a good reason not to use it (you are already using something else), then then this will give you a quick, low cost start.
The free option is absolutely fine, you can upgrade if you:
- have more than 2000 subscribers to your e-newsletter
- don’t want to have the Mailchimp logo at the very bottom of your emails
- sell online via your website and want to use automation workflows when people register, place an order, abandon a shopping cart.
If you do choose to upgrade, it is still good value with PAYG options or a monthly fee (from around £16 per month). So the first easy step is to create your account by visiting https://mailchimp.com/
Decide on a frequency
Your frequency may be quarterly, monthly or weekly depending on your audience and what you want to communicate. If this is your first step then choose quarterly with the aim of increasing this as your confidence grows to monthly. For some businesses, for example retailers, the frequency may be event driven (Christmas, Valentines etc).
Then set a target first issue date for writing your enewsletter. Be realistic, today and probably tomorrow might not be possible. 5 days maximum though as otherwise your content may go out of date, and you don’t need to spend that much time finessing the content!
Create your list of people to receive your enewsletter
Oh this is so often the stumbling block! Where oh where is your customer / leads / contacts list? Well start with your email! You can export your contacts quite easily from email systems into a spreadsheet. If you have a list of names in Word or Excel then these just need to be imported into Mailchimp.
In Mailchimp, choose the List menu, click on Create List button (right hand side), give it a name (e.g. My Newsletter Contacts) and complete the remaining fields. Then click on Add Subscribers and choose Import Subscribers then follow the steps on screen.
Tip: When you get to the ‘Remind People How They Got On Your List’ field enter a straight forward fact like ‘We have discussed our products’ or ‘We have discussed my services’. Or perhaps ‘You have bought from us previously’.
Create your enewsletter – the steps in Mailchimp
Click on the Campaign menu, then choose the Create Campaign button. Select the Regular Campaign option. Choose the List you created in the step above (use the Entire List option, Segments we can save for discussing on another day!) and click Next.
Enter the Campaign name, for example ‘Newsletter January 2017’. Then enter the Subject. The other fields should be already populated. Click on Next.
Now you are ready to choose a Template when writing your enewsletter. To to get started just use one of the Basic options. 1 Column – Banded is very straight forward to use so just select that option and click Next.
First edit the very first item which will by default read ‘Use this area to offer a short preview of your email’s content.’ Click on it and the text will appear on the right hand side ready for editing – perhaps say ‘Welcome to my newsletter’ or something else very simple.
Second decide if you are going to include a heading image; this would normally be your logo and business name, perhaps with a strapline. If so click on the Browse button and choose your required image – you may need to alter the size of your image which can be done in something as simple as the Microsoft Paint application.
Finally, click on the ‘It’s time to design your email.’ box and type in your Content and select your pictures.
To add another section of content, i.e. your second article, on the left hand side click on the + button circled below.
Tip: You can use the ‘Preview and Test’ option to check to see how your newsletter will actually look. Choose ‘Send a test email’ and enter your own email address. It will appear in your inbox in a few minutes.
Last Step to writing your enewsletter
Click Next, do your final checks and then click on Schedule. Select a date and time for your message to be sent. This can be challenging to decide but have a quick think about when your audience might have few minutes to scan your enewsletter, for example, on their commute. You can always try a different day and time with your next issue to see if that generates more interest.
Volia! Your e-newsletter is scheduled.
Sharing, comments or questions always invited.