Making It Know

How to Create a Newsletter for Your Blog or Business

There is no perfect time to start an email newsletter, but expanding your email marketing strategy can accelerate your brand’s growth. While sending your audience email marketing announcements about sales, new products, and blog posts is a great way to stay present in their inboxes, creating an email newsletter can foster brand loyalty, grow your email lists, and give you new insights into your customers.

Read on to decide whether a newsletter is the right move for your business, and learn how to use Email Campaigns to start a newsletter in six steps.

The advantages of an email newsletter

Build your audience. If you already have a blog, an email newsletter can help you grow your audience and increase website traffic. Send regular email newsletters that showcase recent articles, and link back to your website for readers to find the full piece.

Become a thought leader. If you don’t have a blog, don’t stress—it’s not a requirement in order to launch a newsletter. You might curate a roundup of interesting links you've found valuable, or compile a bulleted list of recent news items or accomplishments you wanted to share. Some business owners might even find it easier to send a quick personal note to their mailing list about what they're up to, rather than writing a formal blog, because it's less time-intensive. All of these communications add value to your marketing activities by positioning you as a thought leader.

Diversify your marketing. Many brands and businesses want to promote their products and new website additions, but don't want to come across as too sales-heavy. The format of an email newsletter lends itself to a softer promotional touch. For example, a business might send a monthly customer newsletter featuring a brief introductory message—around two or three paragraphs—and follow that up with a showcase of upcoming product launches, website articles, or discounts.

Is creating an email newsletter right for your business?

Start by asking yourself if you already have content you’d like to share with your audience. This can include original content from your website, blog, or social channels. This way, you’re connecting your audience with tailored content that interests them — and building your brand presence in the process.

If you don’t currently have shareable content, or your time is devoted to scaling other aspects of your business, it might make sense to focus your email marketing on individual updates, like announcing a new flavor available at your candy company, promoting a limited edition print of your artwork, or encouraging signups for a newly launched online workshop.

If you’ve decided to create your first newsletter, follow these six steps to complete your first send:

  1. Identify the goals of your newsletter

Is your primary goal to drive website engagement? Develop a readership for a new blog?

Your goals will inform everything from the content you include to the cadence of your sends. In the bigger picture, having multiple goals is a good thing — and might mean creating multiple targeted newsletters — but for your first send, try to focus on a single, measurable goal. This will help you tailor your efforts and make clear decisions as you build your first newsletter.

2. Build your mailing list 

The number of email addresses you should aim to capture for your mailing list will vary based on the size of your existing audience. No subscriber list size is too small to get started; if you’re building your list from scratch, set a goal to capture a specific number of subscriber emails for your first send. You can always adjust your goal as you start to capture emails and scale your brand.

A newsletter can also be a great tool to build your mailing list. On your first send, you can encourage readers to forward the newsletter and share with their network, and promote it on your own social media channels. If you have an engaged social media following, you might set a goal relative to your audience, like converting 5% of your social media followers into newsletter subscribers.

You can start collecting subscribers on Squarespace with a Newsletter Block, a promotional pop-up, or by adding a newsletter subscription option at checkout in your online store. When you connect  Email Campaigns as your storage option, subscribers collected on your website will be stored in your mailing list, making it easy to streamline your newsletter sends.

3. Develop a content strategy and cadence

With your goals and mailing lists scoped out, start selecting the content you’d like to include in your newsletter, and think about when it makes sense to send it. Will you be speaking primarily to freelancers? 9 to 5ers? Consider what you already know about your audience, and test your send dates and times based on that information. Biweekly, monthly, and even quarterly newsletters help build your relationship with your audience, so consider your own bandwidth when deciding the frequency of your sends.

Depending on your cadence, you can feature blog posts, photography, information about upcoming classes or events, or a behind-the-scenes look at your business. Settle on a few regular updates you’d like to include in every send — this way, you won’t be structuring every newsletter from scratch.

4. Customize your newsletter design

Your email newsletter is an extension of your brand — make sure you choose colors, fonts, and a layout that reflect your visual identity. A consistent aesthetic will help customers recognize your brand and save you time on setting up your newsletter with each send.

With Email Campaigns, you can customize a template and reuse the draft for every send. Choose an email template, add custom colors and fonts, adjust the format, and map out how you’d like text, images, and call to action (CTA) buttons to appear. Revisit the goals you outlined in Step 1 to ensure your design supports them. For example, if the main goal of your newsletter is to drive blog readerships, be sure to feature your most recent blog post and link to your blog in multiple places.

5. Create your content

Now that you’ve customized your newsletter template, you can start populating it with content. Reference best practices for your email campaign to enhance your newsletter performance, and follow these quick tips to make your first send a success:

  • Customize your sender name and address. With Email Campaigns, set up your Sender Details with a specific email address and Sender Name. Spam filters are less likely to reject emails sent from a custom email address, and a customized Sender Name will make it clear to recipients who the message is from.

  • Write an engaging subject line. Be direct and to the point — longer subject lines will be clipped by most email clients.

  • Add images to engage readers, and save each image with a clear, descriptive title. The title will become the alt text, which shows up if an image doesn’t load or is being parsed by a screen reader.

  • Use clear calls to action (CTAs), and ensure your call to action buttons have direct links. If you want readers to purchase a specific new product, your CTA button should link directly to the product page, rather than to your online store.

6. Hit send and measure your success

Track your newsletter’s performance with every send, and adjust your strategy based on past performance. If your open rate isn’t optimal, experiment with different subject lines until you reach your open rate goal. If your click rate is low, try different pieces of content, alternative call to action language, or a refreshed layout.

The Email Campaigns dashboard includes analytics for each campaign, where you can track opens, clicks, and other key metrics to evaluate your newsletter’s performance.

Ready to launch your newsletter? Get started with Email Campaigns.

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