Newsletter Best Practices

Sending informative email newsletters is a great way to let loyal customers know about your new products and current deals, while keeping the name of your store fresh in their minds. Before you start a newsletter campaign, it's helpful to have an idea of the content and the recipients you want to include, as well as the frequency with which you plan to send newsletters.

Newsletter Content

The content of your newsletter is entirely up to you, since you know your customer base better than anyone. As a general rule, most customers expect newsletters to include new product announcements and upcoming discounts or promotions you’re offering on your site. Many stores use newsletters to send exclusive coupon codes to a specific customer base.

In addition to providing the most up-to-date information about your store, newsletters are the perfect avenue for sharing social media links, how-to videos and tutorials related to your products, and industry news, if applicable. Some newsletters even include a testimonials section, so that subscribers can see the great things other customers are saying.

Finally, make sure your newsletter's email subject line is attention-grabbing and relevant. For tips, check out our blog post on How to Write Effective Email Subject Lines.

Creating a Newsletter

  1. Go to Marketing > Newsletters in your Admin Area.
  2. Click Add near the top of the page.
  3. Enter a Newsletter Name that will help you distinguish this newsletter from others in the Admin Area.
  4. From the Email Template drop-down, select Newsletter.asp.
  5. From the Send To drop-down, choose which customers will receive your newsletter. In most cases, you'll want to send your newsletter to All Email Subscribers.
  6. Enter the Email Subject as you want it to appear to your customers.
  7. In the Send Test Email To field, enter the email address where you'd like to receive a test version of the newsletter before sending to all recipients (usually your email address or that of another administrator).
  8. In the Email Body (HTML Version) field, add your newsletter content by using the built-in Easy Editor toolbar to style text, add links, and upload images.
  9. Be sure to enter a text-based version of your newsletter content in the Email Body (Text Only Version) field. This ensures that all subscribers will be able to view the newsletter's content, regardless of their email client's limitations.
  10. Click Save at the bottom of the page.

Before sending the newsletter to your subscribers, you'll want to send a test version to make sure everything displays correctly:

  1. Click the Preview and Send button at the top of the page.
  2. On the next page, click Send Test Email.

Check the inbox that's associated with the email address in the Send Test Email To field. Once you review your newsletter and make any necessary changes, you’re ready to send it out to your subscribed customers!

Newsletter Recipients

While you may want to send multiple newsletters to all subscribers each month, it's important to be aware of your monthly hosting plan's newsletter email limit. The limit resets on the first day of each calendar month, regardless of your billing cycle dates. For more information, see Newsletter Limits.

Subscribers with Special Interests

One way to make the most of your hosting plan's newsletter limit is by creating special interest groups within your subscriber list, then sending specifically targeted newsletters to just those groups. Special interest groups can be related to a shopper's age, gender, buying preferences, hobbies, or anything else you can think of. Your Volusion store has 20 reserved special interest groups that you can rename and assign customers to. For more information, see Subscribers with Specific Interests.

If you want your subscribers to be able to choose their own special interest groups, you can even create optional Custom Fields at checkout that let them select their preferred interest(s).

Customers Who Have Unsubscribed

When creating a newsletter, you'll see a check box option to Include people who un-subscribed. When you select this check box, the newsletter sends to all of your customers, including those who aren't subscribed to your mailing list.

We strongly recommend against using this option, as sending messages to unsubscribed users in many cases constitutes a violation of our Terms of Service and the CAN-SPAM Act. It should only be used for urgent announcements that you know non-subscribed customers would want to receive, such as product safety or recall notices.

Newsletter Frequency

The frequency with which you send newsletters to your subscribers (or specific groups of subscribers) will partially depend on your hosting plan's newsletter limit. However, you should also gauge the importance of your newsletter content when sending. While many stores aim to send a newsletter each month, you may not have enough content to warrant sending newsletters this frequently. For many stores, it is more effective to send a newsletter quarterly, or only when new offerings or deals are available.

As a rule of thumb, consider how often you personally like to receive newsletters from stores you visit, and keep in mind that the ultimate goal of a newsletter is to be opened and read. If you're sending newsletters to customers on a weekly basis without much new content, you'll run a greater risk of prompting users to unsubscribe, feeling that their inbox has been flooded with "junk."

For more information on what constitutes spam and how to tell if customers have unsubscribed after receiving a specific newsletter, see our main Newsletters article.

After Sending a Newsletter

In order to ensure that your email campaigns are as successful as possible, it's often helpful to analyze the statistics related to a particular newsletter.

Each newsletter you create is automatically assigned a tracking URL that you can manually insert into the body of your newsletter. The feature tracks the number of visits, clicks, and total orders and purchase amounts generated by all recipients who visited your store using the URL in the newsletter. See Tracking Newsletter ROI for more information.

Learn More

To learn more about newsletter schedules and common practices, check out our blog post on The Recipe for a Great Email Newsletter.

For a more detailed look at all the newsletter features and tools available, see our complete guide to Newsletters.