If you are looking for a free and easy way to create your very first newsletter, you have come to the right place!
I will give you the same simple step-by-step process I followed back when I was a total newbie at this =)
By the end of this post you’ll be on your way to becoming a master at writing newsletter !
Enjoy the read
1) Install SumoMe Plugin (it’s free)
SumoMe free plugin is a set of really cool tools that can be used to grow your website’s traffic. They are as follow :
Get more subcribers and grow your email list
Make sense of your website traffic and visitors behavior
Quick and easy ways to add sharing to your website
Get more traffic and grow your website
Stay in contact with your customers
Get more customers, generate sales, and earn money
SumoMe is completely free and it has a nice and fun tutorial that helps you get started, so don’t worry about getting lost if you are not familiar with plugins. You’ll do fine! =)
To build a mailing list and create newsletters you will want to install the “Email” tool by SumoMe. Once installed you’ll be able to choose from various ways to get people to subscribe to your email list… : “list builder”, “scroll box”, “smart bar”, “welcome mat”.
Take me to SumoMe Download
2) Sign up to MailChimp (it’s free)
Mailchimp is an autoresponder. Basically it’s an email marketing solution to manage subscribers, send emails, and track results.
Simply put, Mailchimp will allow you to :
- upload your email list (built on SumoMe, each time someone subscribes to your newsletter)
- create campaigns
- send newsletter to your collected emails
- track your results (opens, clicks, shares…) and much more that you’ll discover as you play around the website.
Mailchimp is very intuitive and easy to use and if you’re already familiar with wordpress or any similar website editor, you’ll feel at home with Mailchimp.
Note : SumoMe allows you to connect it with Mailchimp.
Take me to Mailchimp Signup
3) Create Opt-in Form on SumoMe
Ok so you have installed a plugin that will enable you to collect people’s email address (SumoMe) and you have created a free account at an autoresponder that will enable you to send newsletters to your collected emails (Mailchimp)… well done! =)
Now you are going to want to pick a type of opt-in form and set it up so it matches your website colors, vibes and goals.
SumoMe offers you 4 options and it is entirely up to you what you want your website to display for your audience. I have personally built a smart bar to invite people to join my newsletter and a welcome mat to offer them free marketing training. Here are the four options available to you :
- list builder
- scroll box
- smart bar
- welcome mat
To create an opt-in form click on “Sumo Store” (green button)
And then in the “Email” section at the top, pick an option : list builder, scroll box, smart bar, welcome mat… Install the one of your choice, open it and follow the instructions. You can change the font and colors and other settings so take your time and run some tests until you are satisfied with the look of your opt-in form.
Let’s say you want to add a “welcome mat” to your website. When people visit your website they will see (image below) this appear and they will either enter their email or not.
Each new email address will by saved by SumoMe and it’ll look like this
4) Design Your Template on MailChimp
Now sign in to your Mailchimp account and click on “template” at the top.
Then click on “create template” (right corner). You will be offered various templates to choose from… and it’ll be entirely up to you which one you like best! =).
There are three tabs : basics, theme and code your own (you have to know html or to import an HTML file)
5) Add Content
Creating a newsletter works exactly the same way as creating a post or a page on a website. It needs a title, headlines, paragraphs, images, links… etc etc.
You can change the content of the template as well as the design.
- content : you can write text, boxed text… insert a divider, an image, an image group, an image card, an image + caption… you can add social share, social follow… create a button, add a footer, insert code and videos…. just like any text editor.
- layout : this includes page, preheader, header, sidebar, body, footer, mobile styles, monkeyrewards… This means you can change border style, fonts, colors, background…
6) The Final Product
This is what a newsletter looks like.
I inserted my Website’s name and tag line in the header. I used a right sidebar that displays social buttons, 2 promotional posts and a link to a youtube video. I put educational content in the body area with an image and a button to click. I added a footer with share buttons and unsubscribe options (this is very easy to do, Mailchimp has them all set up for you).
7) Test First on Different Browsers and Emails
Before you send your first newsletter to your subscribers you want to make sure it looks perfect. So I suggest you use the “preview and test” option (click the top right button once you have finished your template).
This will allow you to see your newsletter the way your subscribers will see it and if needed to make additional changes.
Note that depending on what browser and email your subscribers are using, your newsletter may differ slightly from your saved version. Also using adblock may prevent social buttons to show up.
Once you are satisfied with the layout, click the “save and exit” button.
Go back to “templates” and select “create campaign”. Follow the instructions and click the “send to entire list” button. The rest is very easy, all you have to do is click and follow Mailchimp’s advice =)
Your newsletter will be sent in a matter of seconds and you will be able to track its opens, clicks and other activities.
- Figure out your newsletter’s goal :
Do you want to sell something? Do you want to gain social shares? Do you want to build a relationship with your audience? Do you want feedback from them?
- Design a template and save a copy so you don’t have to do it all
over again every time lol
- Tell a story, tell people about you or about other people that you know
- Choose your subject line and sender name. Get creative and make them catchy!
- Adblock may prevent some content to appear on your newsletters
- Balance your newsletter content to be 90% educational and 10% promotional.
- Add social links
- Stay regular
- Track your records :
You want to know what’s working and what’s not, who’s reading and who’s not
- Keep your newsletter focused
- Give it some personality
- Encourage feedback
Newsletters are meant to keep your audience up to date with the latest developments in your business, on your blog/website.
They can be sent on a predictable schedule to inform readers of sales, promotions, new features, contests, and recommendations.
Email newsletters can vary in layout and size, but should be viewable from both the email message and in a browser. They should also contain links to relevant content, and should be formatted consistently.
- I suggest adding the SumoMe free plugin to add an opt-in form to your website
- And I recommend using Mailchimp for the autoresponder
With these two free easy-to-use tools you are off to go to a great start !
For more info on newsletter & autoresponders you can check out the following two posts by fellow marketers :
Why Email Marketing works – by PjGermain
Promote with a Newsletter – by Robert-A
Good luck, have fun! =)