You tell stories everyday. So why can’t you tell them in your email newsletter? You can. And you should.
If you’re wondering what to write in an email newsletter, you’ve probably gotten past the big hurdles (or not, kudos to you for doing research now). You’re set up Mailchimp/Mailerlite/ConvertKit. You probably have an opt-in and a welcome sequence. You deserve a hand clap (even if you’re not that far, you still deserve a hand clap). But I see you, over there asking, “now what?”
Well now, you write to them. Every. Single. Week. I’ve already told you why I think you should write to your email list every week. I’ve also shared what you should write but if writing doesn’t come natural to you, topics aren’t enough. You need to know if there’s a formula for pulling an email out of thin air every single week. How can you make this part of your business manageable enough that it doesn’t have you running and screaming away from your computer in angst the night before the email is due?
Use a formula!
When I write a weekly newsletter there are 5 key parts.
- Signature Closing
Each of those 5 parts take up a certain percentage of the email and make the decision making process so much easier. I don’t have to think about what’s coming next because I already know what I’m putting next in the email. Here’s the breakdown percentage wise.
Parts of an email newsletter
This formula + storytelling will make writing email newsletters natural. You already know a ton about your craft and you know how to tell a story which means you know how to write an email newsletter. Once you’re armed with a topic, you can get employ this formula and go from staring at a blinking cursor to rapid taps on your keyboard!
Use the word ‘you’ when writing your email newsletter, not “y’all”
Before I break down the formula, there’s one other thing to remember when writing an email to your list. Write each email to ONE person.
Yes! It’s so important not to write “I know all of you are thinking” or “what do y’all want to hear” because there is very little chance that a crowd of people are huddled around one phone reading your latest email. Instead of “you all”, “you guys”, and “y’all” just use the work “you!” It really brings your reader into the email by making the email less abstract.
When you’re writing, it may help to put one person’s name at the top of the email (like your ideal client avatar or your favorite client) and then erase it after.
Writing the introduction of your email newsletter
The introduction of your email newsletter is where storytelling becomes the most into play. It’s where you start to dive into the topic first teased in the headline but also the best place to connect with your audience.
You should start with a topic that connects you and your audience. For example:
- A childhood memory of you getting your hair done … by your Dad
- Driving to two different gas stations to put air in your tires and ending up having to go to the dealership to get them to fix your efforts
- Your obsession with coffee and corgis
Your story may seem to have absolutely nothing to do with your topic at first and that’s okay because eventually you will ease your way into connecting the two. The most important thing in an intro like this is finding something that the person you are writing to understands. And then tie them into your topic.
- The childhood memory of you getting your hair done by Dad can be the introduction to an email newsletter about finding a process that works for you but trying to cut corners and ending up with a mediocre result.
- Having to go the dealership to put air in your tires (literally me last week) can be the introduction to an email newsletter about picking the wrong web designer (you, a financial advisor) to build your website and having to pay money for a professional to fix it.
- And your obsession with coffee and corgis is the same thing as your obsession with data. Like coffee and corgis, data is beautiful and necessary. They both feed your happy place and need your love!
Writing the body of your email newsletter
The body of your email is where you get to the good stuff. It’s where you talk about the main point of your email but it’s not a free for all. Whether or not you choose to use headers or bullet points, you should always try to break the body of your email newsletter into key points.
If your headline has a number (for example “5 ways to avoid overnight shipping charges for your wedding favor order”) you know exactly how many points you are hitting in the body of your email newsletter. If you don’t have a number, you will still make your life easier if you outline a few key points to make writing this hefty section easier.
Generally, you should aim for 2 to 10 key points. Have few key points if there is more to say about them and always try to go for an odd number (unless you’re comparing 2 points or using 10 – people love the number 10).
Writing the advertisement section of your email newsletter
Warm fuzzy emails are great! You can be super motivational in every email newsletter to offset your sales emails but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remind them of who you are. It’s called email marketing people, don’t be afraid to sale! No, you should not hit people over the head with a cash register every week but there are people who want to buy from you, make it possible for them.
There are a few ways to handle this section. You can create a “weekly updates” section that looks visible different or include an offer in a P.S. section following your closing.
Weekly updates section
A weekly updates section is a great place to give a relevant rundown of your week to share with your audience. You can talk about things such as:
- A recent book or podcast you loved
- The projects you are currently working
- The launch that is coming up
- An event you’re looking forward to this week
- Your current availability for new projects
- Your latest blog post
- Your newest opt-in
A P.S. section
A P.S. section is especially helpful if you have a paid offer or survey where you’re asking your subscriber for a bit of their time.
Note: If you’re including a P.S. in your email, it’s going to be after the closing of your email!
Writing the call to action of your email newsletter
A call to action (CTA) is what you want your subscriber to do. The thing you want can be a blog post, your latest sales page, a new YouTube video, or to subscribe to your Facebook group.
Every sales email has one call to action, full stop. We’re not going to debate that.
A general email newsletter has a few more liberties. Like a sales email, there should be one key topic of your email and one CTA that you really, really want them to follow. Ideally that CTA leads one place but you can link to a collection of places to do research on your list and see what they link more.
Do they only click links to YouTube but ignore blog posts on the same subject? Create more YouTube videos. Are there people who click every sales page link but never buy? Try personal outreach? Are there people who buy everything? Try an upsell. Considering a pivot? Start dropping links to relevant posts by others and see if it at all connects with your audience before investing your own time in it.
Note: One CTA doesn’t mean one link. You can (and should) link to the same place multiple ways by switching between text and button links.
Writing the closing of your email newsletter
Here is where you have fun and leave your people with a lasting impression of who you are.
I close with three hearts in the brand color I rarely get to use (I’m looking at you yellow hearts ???). You can also go the emoji route or a catchy saying you use often, like these:
- Until next time!
- See you in the taco line!
Boom! Now you have an entire email. You used a story, talked about something you know well, reminded your subscribers that they can give you money, encouraged them to do something, and dropped the mic.
Now that you have a structure you have one less excuse to write your email newsletters.
Want the spark notes version of the anatomy of an email newsletter? ↓↓↓