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Here’s How to Start A Newsletter According to 7 B2B Experts

In the competitive world of B2B marketing, newsletters have become an indispensable tool for engaging with your audience and driving growth, with 77% of B2B marketers using email newsletters as a key channel to distribute content. 

This marketing channel is a foolproof method to foster relationships, establish thought leadership, and nurture leads throughout the sales funnel. Plus, according to the Data & Marketing Association, email newsletters have an average open rate of 15.1% and a click-through rate of 3.2%, making them among the most impactful tools to engage your audience and drive traffic to your website. 

To help you maximize the usage of newsletters in a B2B context, we contacted 7 B2B marketing experts who shared everything from their thoughts on designing email newsletters to testing effectively. 

Let’s dive in!

Your step-by-step guide on how to start a newsletter

Starting a newsletter can be tricky. You need to gather email addresses, choose the right platforms to promote your newsletter and choose the theme and design that would work best for your audience.

Here’s your ultimate guide to getting started.

Phase 1

Understand your audience

Put simply, the first step in crafting a B2B newsletter idea is understanding your audience. By comprehending their preferences, pain points, and interests, you can tailor content that informs and adds value to their lives. This deeper connection helps to foster loyalty and trust, thus creating a long-lasting relationship with your subscribers.

Audience understanding involves knowing their basic demographics, motivations, challenges, and aspirations. This is important for the B2B segment, where new advancements, innovations, and trends can significantly impact companies. 

Through this, you can design content that effectively solves their problems, addresses their concerns, and aligns with their goals, making your newsletter a valuable resource they look forward to receiving and reading.

Segmenting your audience based on interests, job titles, and demographics allows you to cater to each subscriber group’s unique needs and preferences. It enables you to stand out from the generic newsletters, leading to higher conversion rates.

Here are several tips and tricks you can use to help to understand your target audience better:

  1. Leverage syndicated research sources

Syndicated research sources such as GlobalWebIndex (GWI) and Euromonitor are powerful tools that provide industry-specific insights and broader market trends, giving insights into your audience’s preferences and pain points. 

For example, We Are Social publishes an annual review of consumer digital behaviors covering nearly every country. These in-depth reports, freely available, are a goldmine for digital marketers, agencies, and SaaS businesses to utilize for effective and impactful B2B communications. 

Image of We Are Social's Digital 2023 reports
  1. Utilize A/B testing for optimal copy

A/B testing is one of the primary methods for optimizing newsletter content. By testing different subject lines, headlines, images, and copy variations, you can determine what works best for your audience. Daniel Chabert, CEO and founder of Purple Fire says he uses this method to “optimize email campaigns for maximum impact.”

  1. Use analytics tools to track engagement

By using analytics tools to track engagement and identify trends in your audience’s behavior, you can unravel the topics and formats that resonate most with your audience and help fine-tune your content strategy to better align with your audience’s interests.

With content intelligence, you can also go beyond the basics and find out how different types of CTAs, colors, and tone affect results.

  1. Monitor social media channels and online forums

Keep an eye on social media channels and online forums for discussions related to your industry and target audience, as they can provide valuable insights into what drives your audience. 

Establish a clear value proposition

The next step is to establish a clear value proposition. At Testlify, Abhishek Shah, Founder, says that “Our goal is to establish ourselves as thought leaders in our industry, and we believe that this is achieved through engaging and informative content.” 

Since B2B writing is significantly different from B2C, the content of your newsletter should be to provide value to your subscribers by addressing specific needs or challenges your audience faces and offering relevant, actionable solutions. This will enhance your newsletter ideas by guiding your content strategy and ensuring you deliver the right mix of value to your subscribers.

The newsletter’s header is the key as it sets the stage for your content, making it easy for subscribers to understand what they can expect from your newsletter. A compelling value proposition can help to attract and retain subscribers who are genuinely interested in the information and resources you provide.

Find a way to build your email list 

Building your email list can make or break your newsletter. There are numerous channels and methods you can utilize to promote your newsletter and grow your subscriber base.

Leveraging social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn can be useful for growing your newsletter. Sharing valuable tips, ideas, and templates that resonate with your target audience can draw their attention and attract potential subscribers. By consistently offering high-quality content, you demonstrate your expertise and increase the likelihood that users will want to sign up for more information.

For example, Arriana Huffington, CEO and thought leader, shares a teaser of her newsletter content on LinkedIn, ending with a CTA to subscribe to her newsletter. 

Arianna Huffington’s post on LinkedIn driving readers to her newsletter

Additionally, you should promote your newsletter through guest blog posts, podcasts, or webinars. By collaborating with industry influencers or partnering with other businesses in your niche, you can tap into new audiences and drive sign-ups and, more importantly, establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche.

Providing immediate and tangible rewards for subscribing, such as exclusive content or deals, will increase the chances that visitors will opt-in to receive your newsletter. This might include access to premium resources, discounts on products or services, or entry into a giveaway. 

Ryan Mckenzie, co-founder and CMO of Tru Earth, stated that “providing incentives for customers who signed up for the newsletter was successful in increasing sign-ups and customer engagement overall, but we found that the loyalty generated from providing a “Green Newsletter” had a bigger impact on our sales.”

Need help distributing your content the right way? Check out out guide here.

Phase 2

Create a stellar design for your newsletter

A powerful design can significantly impact the success of your newsletter by helping it stand out in a crowded inbox and engaging your subscribers. Carefully considering various design elements and ensuring that they work cohesively to support your content and brand identity will help enhance your B2B newsletter idea.

The usage of visually appealing images, graphics, or illustrations can help break up large blocks of text, making your newsletter more enjoyable to read and easier to digest. Visuals can also help to reinforce your message and create a memorable experience for your subscribers.

Maintaining a consistent color scheme and font style that aligns with your brand is also crucial. It helps to create a cohesive and professional look, making your newsletter instantly recognizable and strengthening your brand image.

As 85% of users use smartphones to access emails, it is imperative to make the newsletter mobile-friendly. The design should prioritize readability and user experience, ensuring that your content looks great and functions seamlessly across various devices and screen sizes.

However, it’s important to note that an alternate viewpoint suggests that plain HTML newsletters are equally effective as they prioritize readability and load quickly, making them an attractive option for subscribers who prefer a straightforward, content-focused approach. This approach may work better for audiences that are more information orientated.

Anders Bryde Thornild, the Head of Marketing at CyberPilot, strongly recommends testing out the plain text approach (showcased below), “As a B2B SaaS, it works best with plain text, which is just a few bullets and then a CTA. It sounds controversial, but our results are the same every time we test it. So, if you haven’t tried it, give it a go.” 

Image of CyberPilot's simple and clean HTML design

To create a stellar design for your newsletter, follow this simple process:

  1. Define your brand’s visual identity (colors, fonts, and style).
  2. Choose a responsive and mobile-friendly template.
  3. Curate high-quality visuals (images, graphics, or illustrations) that support your content.
  4. Arrange your content and visuals in a visually appealing and easy-to-read layout.
  5. Test your design across different devices and email clients to ensure optimal user experience.

Craft attention-grabbing subject lines

Subject lines play a critical role in open rates, with 47% of recipients deciding whether to open an email based on the subject line alone. 

Advice from Rebecca Hey, Founder of Strategically, is to “hint at one or several of the newsletter’s topics of discussion in the email subject line.”

Keep these tips in mind when crafting attention-grabbing subject lines:

  1. Keep subject lines short, between 1-3 words 
  2. Treat subject lines as a teaser to email content
  3. Avoid framing subject lines as questions
  4. Avoid using {first_name}, numbers and punctuation 
  5. Test different subject lines with audiences
  6. Iterate, iterate and iterate some more
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Strike a balance between informational and promotional content

A successful newsletter should strike a balance between informational and promotional content. Focus on providing value by incorporating a mix of content that appeals to your audience and showcases your expertise.

A well-rounded newsletter should include a variety of content, such as:

  • Industry trends and news from reputable sources – Keeping your audience informed about the latest developments in their sector demonstrates that you’re staying up-to-date and helps position your brand as a trusted source of information.
  • Thought leadership articles from experts outside your organization – Sharing insights from industry leaders can provide fresh perspectives and inspire new ideas. This can also foster a sense of community and encourage your audience to engage with your brand.
  • Reports, collaborations, or case studies that showcase real-world examples – Sharing practical examples of how your products or services have been implemented can illustrate their effectiveness and provide inspiration for your audience. Collaborations with other companies can also highlight your brand’s commitment to innovation and networking. For example, Shivasankari Bhuvaneswaran, content manager for Zuper said “We share local or industry news and our take on it or a short thought leadership piece from one of our ELT team members” in their newsletters.

By maintaining a healthy balance between informational and promotional content, you’ll create a newsletter that keeps your subscribers engaged, informed, and eager to share your content with others.

Phase 3

Know what metrics to track 

Measuring the success of your newsletter requires a keen understanding of the key metrics that directly impact your campaign.

 “By keeping a close eye on key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, I’ve been able to fine-tune my newsletters and make data-driven decisions that have resulted in stellar outcomes,” said Mohit Maheshwari, co-founder and director of NMG Technologies

Main key metrics to monitor:

  1. Click-through rates – Provide valuable insights into which links and content resonate most with your audience. 
  2. Scroll depth – Measure how far down subscribers scroll and indicate the level of engagement with content. 
  3. Unsubscribe rates – identify potential issues with content and frequency. A high unsubscribe rate typically means the content is irrelevant, not engaging enough, or not valuable to subscribers. 

By tracking these critical metrics, you can continuously refine your newsletter strategy to optimize performance, keep your subscribers engaged, and ultimately drive better results for your B2B content marketing efforts. 

How to start a newsletter: Process diagram

Alt text: Process diagram showcasing the steps to optimize newsletter performance

Key takeaways 

Newsletters are vital in B2B marketing, and creating a successful one involves several key steps and a mix of content types:

  1. Understand Your Audience: Tailor content according to your audience’s preferences, pain points, and interests. Segment your audience for personalized content and use various methods to build understanding, such as syndicated research, A/B testing, analytics tools, and social media monitoring.
  2. Establish a Clear Value Proposition: Define your newsletter’s purpose to guide your content strategy and deliver value to subscribers. Communicate your value proposition clearly in the header or introduction.
  3. Build Your Email List: Grow your subscriber base using social media, guest blog posts, podcasts, webinars, and exclusive offers to incentivize sign-ups.

Key elements to consider when creating your newsletter:

  • Design: Create an appealing, mobile-optimized design with high-quality visuals, consistent color schemes, and font styles.
  • Subject Lines: Craft attention-grabbing subject lines that are short, act as teasers, and avoid questions or excessive personalization.
  • Content Balance: Strike a balance between informational and promotional content by including industry trends, thought leadership articles, and real-world examples.

Lastly, track key metrics such as click-through rates, scroll depth, and unsubscribe rates to refine your strategy, optimize performance, and drive better results in your B2B marketing efforts.

By following these expert-backed tips and strategies, you will be well on your way to creating a captivating and successful B2B newsletter. Get in touch with us and level up your newsletter today! 

Can you start a newsletter for free?

Yes, many email marketing platforms offer free plans with limited features, making it possible to start a newsletter without investing upfront.

What are the five elements of an effective newsletter?

1. A clear value proposition
2. Engaging and relevant content
3. An eye-catching design
4. Attention-grabbing subject lines
5. Consistent delivery and frequency

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