How do I Start a Newsletter by Ramit Sethi

How to start a Newsletter (+ tips from a NYT bestselling author)

Every business owner can benefit from having an email newsletter. Over the past decade, I’ve grown my email subscriber count to more than 850,000 readers. In this post, I’ll break down the things you need to consider before starting one, and a hassle-free guide to launch your own newsletter today!

How do I Start a Newsletter by Ramit Sethi
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Table of Contents

What to Have in Mind When Starting a Newsletter

Your newsletter is your direct line to your audience, whether announcing a new product, highlighting an existing service, or underscoring a little-known benefit. Before you dive into creating your newsletter, it’s essential to understand the prerequisites that make your communication not just heard, but impactful. 

Let’s break down what you need to consider to lay a solid foundation for your newsletter.


Connection with the Audience

Effective newsletters are excellent for connecting directly with your audience, but to truly resonate, you must first understand their interests. Engage with your subscribers through surveys, polls, or social media to understand their preferences and desired email frequency. This feedback is crucial for refining your content strategy to ensure it aligns with what your audience genuinely values, enabling a more meaningful and impactful connection.


Content depth

Always strive for depth and quality. You can do this by aiming to enrich your subscribers’ lives with unique perspectives, thorough analysis, and exclusive insights. Balance your content to appeal both to broad audiences and to those with specific interests within your circle. By consistently delivering content that adds real value, you’ll keep your subscribers engaged and looking forward to each email.

Monetization and Value Exchange

Your newsletter isn’t just about connecting with your audience; it’s also a platform for value exchange. Consider introducing premium content, partnerships, affiliate links, or direct product and service offerings tailored to your readers’ interests. However, it’s crucial to balance monetization efforts with genuine value to maintain trust and interest. Overemphasizing monetization risks alienating your subscribers, so be careful. Prioritize their needs and interests, and monetization will naturally follow without compromising trust.

Independence of the Chosen Platform

Selecting the right newsletter platform is crucial for maintaining control over your content and subscriber list. While services like Mailchimp and Substack provide user-friendly interfaces, it’s important to ensure that you retain ownership of your content and subscribers. This autonomy shields your newsletter from potential platform changes or outages, securing its longevity and reach. Prioritize platforms that empower you with independence, ensuring your newsletter’s future is always in your hands.


How to Engage After Sending the Newsletter

Encourage a feedback loop by actively engaging with your readers post-newsletter. Invite them to express and share their thoughts or questions, enhancing connection. Utilize analytics to monitor open rates, click-throughs, and subscriber growth, using these insights to refine your content strategy. This approach ensures your newsletter remains dynamic and responsive to audience preferences, solidifying its value and relevance over time.


How to Start a Newsletter

Moving on, let’s focus on actionable steps to get your newsletter off the ground.

1. Define the Goals of the Newsletter

Identify your target audience and their preferences to define your newsletter’s objectives. Common goals include driving website traffic, enhancing social media presence, promoting products or services, boosting brand awareness, or establishing thought leadership. Clearly defining these goals is crucial as it influences the newsletter’s content and strategic direction, ensuring that your efforts are aligned with your audience’s interests and your business objectives.

2. Choose your Niche and Topic

Just like running a blog website, you need to settle on a niche and specialize for you to establish dominance. Specializing allows you to establish dominance and set clear expectations, giving your readers something to look forward to in each edition. This focus not only enhances your newsletter’s appeal but also strengthens your authority within your chosen niche.

3. Choose a Newsletter Software

Selecting the right newsletter software is critical. Consider scalability, cost as your subscriber base grows, ease of migration, and how well it manages spam filters. Opt for a platform that ensures autonomy over your subscriber list, enabling you to maintain direct and meaningful engagement with your audience without platform constraints. 

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4. Choose a Template

The template is as good as the content itself. Good email copy served with a poor template won’t get you solid results. After selecting your newsletter software, choose a template that is both visually appealing and user-friendly. Customize it to mirror your brand’s identity, incorporating your logo, brand colors, and appropriate graphics. This approach ensures your newsletter not only carries valuable content but also presents it in a way that reinforces your brand and engages your readers.

5. Define the Content

Craft your newsletter content with intention, focusing on articles, updates, tips, or promotions that add real value for your subscribers. Personalize your communications by using names and segmenting your audience for more targeted content delivery. This strategic approach to content will not only engage your readers but will also build trust by respecting their personal preferences.

6. Preview and Test

Before hitting send, test your newsletter across different devices and email clients to ensure all elements display correctly. This step is key to guarantee a seamless reading experience, checking formatting, graphics, and links for any issues. Perfecting these details ensures your newsletter makes the right impression every time.

7. Create an Email Subscription Form for Your Website

To expand your subscriber base, integrate a visually striking email subscription form on your website. This form should not only capture attention but also communicate the benefits of subscribing, leveraging strategic placement and incentives to encourage sign-ups. Clear messaging about what subscribers gain is essential to converting website visitors into newsletter readers.

8. Attract Subscribers

Boost your newsletter’s subscriber count by leveraging multiple platforms for promotion, including social media and your own website. Consider collaborations with influencers and celebrities to broaden your reach. Getting help can sometimes demand incentivization to the avenues used to accomplish that. Think of it as an investment, and be bold to spend money on some of these promotional methods. 

9. Deliver your First Newsletter

Your first newsletter is your grand entry; thus should make a statement. And because readers like to know who is behind what they read, introduce yourself and let them know the voice in charge. Give them a sneak peek of what is to be expected in the coming newsletters by ensuring the first is exemplary.

10. Assess Performance and Adjust Your Strategy

Success in newsletter marketing is measured by analyzing performance metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and subscriber growth. Monitoring these indicators allows you to refine your email marketing strategies, enhance content quality, and ultimately increase the value you provide to your subscribers. Continuously adjust your approach based on this data to keep improving your newsletter’s effectiveness.

Explore Ways to Monetize Your Newsletter

Newsletters are a great way to connect at a personal level with your audience while making money at the same time. By consistently delivering content that resonates, you not only foster trust but also set the stage for successful monetization through affiliate marketing, exclusive offerings, or driving traffic to your sales channels. The key lies in balancing valuable content with strategic monetization efforts, ensuring your subscribers receive immense value, thereby making the monetization process seamless and effective.

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