Why You Need a Newsletter Marketing Strategy + How to Make One

Illustration by Mary Delaney illustration of a person with speech bubbles surrounding their head

Your email list is only as valuable as the number of engaged subscribers on it. This makes it essential to create an effective long-term newsletter marketing strategy.

In this guide, I’ll explore:

  • Why it’s important to market your newsletter
  • How to create a newsletter marketing strategy: a step-by-step process
  • How to refine your newsletter marketing strategy over time

When you’re finished reading, you’ll have a clear road map to getting more subscribers.

Why marketing your newsletter is important

Email subscribers are incredibly valuable: on average, email marketing has an average ROI of $42 for every $1 spent. In other words, the average return is 4,200% of the investment. 

Email marketing is also an excellent way to retain customers over a long period of time, which is important when you consider that acquiring a new customer typically costs five times as much as keeping an old one. This means that aggressively growing your email list can dramatically increase your income and help you build a more stable business over time.

Unfortunately, in today’s busy world, the “build it and they will come” approach doesn’t work. Every business your audience interacts with has a newsletter, and a person can only read so much email in a day. If you want to get their email, you’ll have to set yourself apart from the competition. You can do this by creating a detailed newsletter marketing strategy.

How to create a newsletter marketing strategy

Step one: make sure your newsletter is worth marketing

If you don’t have a consistent content plan for your newsletter, it’s time to make one. This will ensure that your newsletters are sent on a regular schedule and filled with content your audience is actually interested in.

I’ve already created a full guide to creating a newsletter, so let’s just go over some of the basics here:

  • Decide the types of content you’ll publish. Remember that all content should focus on providing value to your subscribers.
  • Set a publishing schedule. Establish how frequently you’ll send your newsletter and a regular time for it to come out each week/month. For example, you might choose to send your newsletter on the first Tuesday of every month, and set a recurring appointment to schedule the newsletter on the Monday before its release.
  • Create a template. You can use the same template for every newsletter to build brand consistency.

Be sure to check out the full guide for more detailed information.

Step two: choose your goal(s)

Goals can be used to guide your creative process and measure the success of your marketing strategy. 

For your newsletter marketing strategy, you’ll want to focus on a subscriber goal. This is the number of new subscribers you want to get during a specific period of time. Since this is the subscriber goal for your overall marketing strategy, rather than a specific lead generation method, you’ll want to aim big. For example, if you’re starting off with a hundred subscribers, you might aim to get that number to 500 in four months. You might also choose an ongoing goal, like an ongoing rate of 100 signups/month.

Once you’ve created an overall subscriber goal, you can determine the number of subscribers you want to get from each aspect of your newsletter marketing plan. For example, if you’re aiming for 100 subscribers/month, you might aim to get them from the following mix of sources:

  • Landing page – 50 subscribers/month
  • Signup form during checkout process – 25 subscribers/month
  • Signup form on content pages – 25 subscribers/month

Note that it’s somewhat harder to track how many of your subscribers came from individual social media platforms. You can view how many visitors are sent to a given page from each platform, but there’s no way to track how many of those visitors become subscribers. 

Step three: consider an opt-in bonus

An opt-in bonus is a reward of some kind that new subscribers get when they join your list. Your bonus can be as simple as a 10% discount to your WooCommerce store or as complicated as a four-part video course. If something is relevant to your business and provides tangible value to your audience, it can be used as an opt-in bonus.

Some business owners dislike opt-in bonuses because they tend to attract a certain percentage of junk emails, people who only sign up for the free bonus and may even unsubscribe right away. However, many businesses find that they get more than enough long-term subscribers to outweigh the junk emails. You can also clean your list regularly to limit the number of junk emails you’re sending to at any given time.

If you want to create a signup bonus, check out our full guide to opt-in bonuses.

Time-limited signup bonuses

One great way to encourage subscribers is to offer a signup bonus for a limited period of time. This creates a sense of urgency, as well as a sense of exclusivity, since other subscribers won’t necessarily get this bonus.

If you decide to do this, you’ll want to build an entire campaign around the time-limited nature of your signup bonus. For example, you might offer new subscribers a 10% bonus if they sign up during the month of August. You can then create content that focuses on why people want to buy your products/services before summer ends. You can also repeat this event every year with only minor edits to your campaign.

Step four: populate your site with signup forms

If you have a list at all, you’ve probably already put a signup form somewhere on your site, like in the sidebar. You might even have optimized it with excellent copy that focuses on what subscribers get when they sign up for your newsletter. 

Signup form of Revive.Social
Signup form for Revive.Social

This is a great first step, but you can dramatically increase your subscriber rate by putting signup forms in other key places:

  • At the end of long pages and blog posts.
  • In a popup that appears when someone has spent a certain amount of time on your site.
  • In a floating bar form below the top menu of your site.

You can check out our guide to signup forms for more information on various types of signup forms, including instructions for setting them up with MailPoet.

Step five: create at least one newsletter landing page

A landing page is a web page created for a specific marketing campaign, typically with the goal of getting visitors to take a singular action. These pages minimize distraction, sometimes going as far as to remove the top menu and any references to parts of your site that aren’t directly related to the desired action. 

Some landing pages are incredibly simple, featuring only a signup form:

How to create a newsletter marketing strategy: Fearless Nomad example
Landing page for Fearless Nomads

Others are lengthy pages with detailed copy and/or social proof in the form of testimonials and reviews, like the landing page for Growth Tools:

Growth Tools landing page part one
How to create a newsletter marketing strategy: Growth tools landing page part two

You can either create landing pages directly in the WordPress editor or use a specialized tool like Instapage. Specialized landing page tools tend to be on the expensive side for new business owners, but they provide access to advanced tools like A/B testing and even expert feedback. 

When you build your newsletter landing page, remember to follow some best practices:

  • Make sure your first call to action appears above the fold (before users scroll down).
  • Use visual cues like contrasting colors, buttons, and directional imagery to point users’ attention at your call to action.
  • Incorporate high-quality photos or illustrations.
  • Include a call to action on every screen. Users should be able to take action at any point.
  • Consider including reviews or testimonials, especially if you have permission to use customer photos (this helps cement the idea that your reviews are from real people).
  • Build personalized landing pages for different segments of your audience.

Most of all, remember to keep your content focused on how signing up benefits your audience. 

Step six: add a link to all of your pages

Make sure your newsletter landing page is linked to everywhere you are. If a person is looking at something related to your brand, there should always be a link to your signup page visible.

Here’s a quick list of places to add links:

  • The “About” page of your website.
  • The social media bios on all profiles associated with your business.
  • Bios used for things like guest posts and interviews.
  • The email signature associated with your business account.
  • Your personal email signature.
  • In “Thank you” emails to customers.

Really, anywhere you’re promoting your work is a good place to share your landing page. You may even want to create specialized landing pages for some of these purposes, like a personalized landing page for your Instagram followers.

Step seven: schedule newsletter promotions on social media

The next step in developing a newsletter marketing strategy is to establish how and when you’re going to market it on social media, beyond adding a link to your bio. 

This will look a little different depending on the platform you’re marketing on:

  • On Facebook, you might post a reminder post about your newsletter once per week, with additional marketing messages posted any time you have a limited-time signup bonus. You might also want to create paid advertisements for your landing page.
  • On Twitter, things move a lot faster, so you might post about your newsletter once or even twice a day, increasing that frequency any time you have a limited-time signup bonus. You can schedule these posts using a tool like the Revive Old Posts plugin.
  • On YouTube, you can link to your newsletter in the description of each video, then mention it at the end of your videos. Depending on your permissions, you may also be able to add a link to the end card that displays when someone finishes one of your videos.
  • On Instagram, you can post screenshots of your newsletter or your opt-in bonus and tell people to look at the link in your bio to sign up. You can also mention it during live sessions.

Whatever platform you’re sharing your newsletter on, make sure that you maintain a balance between promoting your list and promoting actual products/services. You want to give your social media audience as many opportunities to interact with your brand as possible.

How to refine (and expand) your newsletter marketing strategy

As with everything in marketing, your newsletter marketing plan should be a living document, expanding and changing as your business does. At the bare minimum, when you start building a presence on a new social media platform, you should add information about what you’ll do to promote your newsletter on that site or app.

You can also expand on your core newsletter marketing strategy with temporary lead generation campaigns. 

Here are a few types of lead generation campaigns you might want to run:

  • Newsletter swaps. This is when you collaborate with a business owner in your industry or a complimentary one. You share their business on your newsletter, and they share your business on their newsletter. It’s a win-win situation. Just make sure you trust the business you’re swapping with!
  • Paid ads. I touched on this briefly in the last section, but it’s worth talking about in more detail. You can create paid ads on every major social media plan and many search engines. There are even courses for things like Facebook advertising and Google Ads.
  • Influencer marketing. People usually rely on influencer marketing for selling paid products because of the high cost, but it’s also an effective way to market your newsletter. You’ll just want to set up an excellent automated welcome sequence first to ensure that those subscribers become customers.

You might find that when you think about your own business, you can imagine even more ways to gain subscribers.

Final thoughts on creating a newsletter marketing strategy

Marketing your email list is crucial to the long-term survival of your business. You can create an effective newsletter marketing plan in seven steps:

  • Double down on the quality of your newsletter.
  • Create overall goals for growth.
  • Add a variety of signup forms to your website.
  • Create at least one newsletter landing page.
  • Add links to all of your business pages and email signatures.
  • Add newsletter promotions to your social media calendar.

Once you’ve established an ongoing promotion plan, you can start building temporary campaigns with things like paid ads.

Do you have any ideas about your newsletter marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments section below!