How To Write A Newsletter For Ecommerce Businesses

Are you running an ecommerce store and want to learn how to write a newsletter that sells?

It’s possibly one of the more important things you can do since email marketing should make up at least 30% of your store’s revenue, even if you’re just running a small dropshipping store on the side. Luckily, I’ve been doing email marketing for the past 10 years, including writing newsletters for 7-8 figure brands like Kettle & Fire and Drink02. 

This means you’re going to learn how to do it the right way the first time.

So we’re going to go through it all. From how to write email subject lines that get opened to how to get people to click through and actually buy stuff. Basically, everything you need to write emails for your entire ecommerce email marketing funnel.

Let’s talk about it.

What Is An Ecommerce Newsletter?

Back in the day, a newsletter was essentially a mini-version of a newspaper. It was just another medium to get news and information about certain topics. Typically, niched topics.

Today, the word newsletter is a pretty broad word that can mean almost anything email related. Sometimes, people say a newsletter is primarily for content. Such as an article on how to tie your shoes. Others say a newsletter is a synonym for marketing emails. Such as a promotional email that contains a 20% off coupon if you buy today.

For our purposes, we’re going to focus on ecommerce newsletters.

Ecommerce newsletters focus on content that promotes the brand and products, but will always have a call to action to buy. Sometimes this is a discount. Sometimes it’s just the story of how the company was founded. In all cases though, the goal is to sell.

So never sleep on them.

In fact, ecommerce newsletters are your most powerful marketing channel.

People who are on your list are there because they said they wanted to hear more about your brand. You don’t have to pay to reach them besides your monthly Klaviyo fee or if you decide to go with a Shopify app like Privy, then your app fee. No algorithms are involved. They work for any business from print on demand and high ticket dropshipping to a private label brand or even a luxury brand. You are the sole owner of your email list. And they can drive 30%-40% of your total revenue when fully optimized.

So it’s in your best interest to learn how to write a newsletter that sells.

How To Come Up With Ecommerce Newsletter Ideas

On average, I recommend ecommerce stores to send 2-4 emails per week.

Unless, of course, your store is brand new. In which case, I would suggest 1 email per week since you probably don’t have many SKUs to promote anyway.

In either case though, this is typically a shocking fact to most store owners. Particularly because most will only send an email one per month. Which, if that’s you right now, it means you’re leaving a ton of money on the table.

Which then begs the question, how do you come up with 2-4 email ideas every single week?

Luckily, this is the easiest and most fun part about how to write a newsletter for ecommerce. There are essentially 5 options.

Unaware

These are the newsletters designed to educate people who don’t even know they have the problems your product solves. It also doubles as a way to “reactivate” people who have forgotten or ignored their problem, so reminding them about it gets them back into the customer journey.

Let’s say you’re selling cologne.

You can write an entire story about a man who got a promotion and the reason why he got it was because of his steel-eyed confidence and power moves. How did he get so confident? He wore a cologne that demanded power, positioned him as an authority, and made him feel great.

Problem Aware

These are the newsletters designed to educate people about their problems. These types of newsletters can either be partially or completely focused on a customer’s problems.

Let’s say you sell iPhone covers.

You can write an entire email about the average life of an iphone and how they’re losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in replacement fees because they keep breaking theirs. The solution? By your $50 iPhone cover and look good doing so.

Solution Aware

These newsletters are for customers who know they have a problem, but are still looking for a solution to their problem.

Let’s say you’re selling minimalist shoes.

Your customer already knows that they need to focus more on minimalist running, but don’t know how they can do it without running barefoot. Well, you can write an entire email on why minimalist shoes are better than other types of shoes. 

Product Aware

These newsletters are for customers who already know they have a problem and their is a solution, but don’t understand why they should buy YOUR product over competitors.

Let’s say you’re selling soap.

You can write an entire email about how your soaps are all focused on a specific type of scent. For example, if most soap brands smell like deodorant, but your soap brand is focused on outdoor scents, then you would focus on that.

Very Aware

The newsletters are for customers who have all the information they need. They just need to know the actual offer so they can actually buy whatever it is you’re selling. 

Let’s say you’re selling dog food.

Here is where you send your typical promotional email telling people they can buy your dog food at 15% off for the next 24 hours.

The Best Type Of Email Subject Lines For Ecommerce

The first step in learning how to write a newsletter is to figure out how to get it opened. Now, there are a ton of ways to write email subject lines, but most don’t apply to ecommerce.

But before we talk about the subject lines, let’s talk about intent.

In ecommerce, the goal of every email newsletter is to make money. Nothing matters unless you’re bringing in sales. This includes open rates and clickthrough rates. That’s because open rates and click through rates don’t pay the bills! They only matter as a diagnostic tool to help you figure out why a newsletter isn’t bringing in any sales.

So if open rates and click through rates are secondary data points, what should you focus on?

Intent.

It does you no good to get an email opened if the person who opened the email doesn’t actually care about what’s inside. You want to make sure that people know what they’re getting into just from the subject line.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be creative.

You still want to be entertaining and exciting. You also still want to improve metrics like open rates. But it all has to be within the context of the high intent newsletter read.

This is why I suggest you use promotional subject lines.

These are the super straight forward email subject lines. If you’re having a 15% off sale, then just say you have a 15% off sale. If you’re doing a blog post roundup, just write the 3 biggest topics in the subject line. If you’re writing an email comparing your product versus competitors, you can write variations of why your product is better than competitors.

This is great news because it doesn’t take any real skill to do this.

But if you can write subject lines that tell people what they’re getting into in a funny, warm, or overall just entertaining and curiosity-based way, then you’re golden.

How To Write A Newsletter For Ecommerce

As mentioned before, ecommerce newsletters typically work best when straightforward.

However, this doesn’t mean “straight to the point” at all. In fact, the best way to write a newsletter for ecommerce is to tell people the point, but in an entertaining way.

So how do you be entertaining? It comes down to 3 elements.

Focus on your prospects journey

At the end of the day, people only care about themselves. The same goes for your customers. This means they don’t want to read random things. Neither do they want to read news. None of that has anything to do with them.

What they really want to read is about their problems. They want to read how the path to transformation looks like. They want to read about what roadblocks to avoid and what shortcuts to take. In other words, be the Gandalf to your Frodo.

Exaggerate your communication

Imagine hearing someone say they have an overwhelmingly exciting personality while in a completely monotone voice. There’s a mass disconnect there. Unfortunately, that’s how most ecommerce emails sound like. Yawn!

Whatever you say, say it with pizazz. 

So if you’re giving a 15% off discount, don’t just say there’s a discount. Tell your customers that things are going hectic at HQ ever since you announced the sale. In fact, products are flying off the shelves so fast, you probably should have capped the discount at 10% off if you knew it was going to be this crazy. But it’s all good!

How To Outsource Your Newsletter Production

If you’re an ecommerce store owner, eventually you’ll need to outsource your newsletters. Whether that’s because you have more important things to do or you just don’t want to learn how to write a newsletter in the first place.

So first, you have to know what you’re hiring for.

You’re not hiring for designs, even though you want good designs. You’re also not necessarily hiring for copywriting, even though you want good copywriting. Heck, you’re not even hiring for emails, even though the whole point is to send more emails.

What you want is a profitable email marketing operation.

This means a system to get results that includes analysis, strategy, email calendars, campaigns, flows, design, copywriting, and more. It’s not any individual thing. It’s the whole thing and how it is directly related to repeatable and reliable growth.

So what does all of this mean in practical terms?

You want to outsource your email marketing to an agency or consultant that has a specific process to get results. You also want to outsource to an agency that handles the entire operation, rather than a few parts of the process.

For example, I’ve done email marketing consulting for 7-8 figure brands like Kettle & Fire.

When I do email marketing, the only thing I care about is getting client’s email from revenue to become 30% of their total sales. The only way this can happen though is if I take over a client’s entire email operation. Otherwise, I’ll be handcuffed and can’t do what’s necessary.

So when you’re outsourcing your newsletters, think about this.

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