How to Create a Newsletter Strategy

In our last post, we discussed our opinions on why newsletters are low hanging marketing fruit, but how do you utilize this platform as part of a successful strategy? There are many benefits to sending newsletters including strengthening your customer relationships, creating brand loyalty, and boosting sales, but how to you create a newsletter that someone will want to open? 

Identify your Goals

The first and most important part of your newsletter strategy will be to identify your purpose and goals. 

To establish the purpose of your newsletter strategy, you may want to consider what you are hoping to gain from this form of communication with your audience. Are you hoping to build a community around your brand, or drive traffic to your website? Your purpose should provide a framework and filter for every newsletter campaign you create. 

You may have several different campaigns you want to run, and each one may have a different goal or objective. Each goal should lean into your purpose, and always indirectly aim to boost sales. But to build long term loyalty and revenue, not every newsletter should have the goal of a direct sale.

Make it Visually Appealing and Consistent 

We may be biased, but design, layout, typography, and your artwork are all important whether you realize it or not. We make quick decisions based on how something makes us feel and that is largely determined by how it looks.

Find a newsletter template (or better yet, create one) that has opportunity for imagery, a clear format for content, and has a professional look and feel. Your newsletter should be an extension of your brand so keeping the design consistent with your website and marketing assets is critical. 

Create a Hook

A subject line can make a big difference if your user decides to open your newsletter or not. Keeping the goal of your newsletter in mind, create a subject line that encourages and teases your reader to want to know more.

Your subject line should be short, and catchy, and most importantly be in your brand voice

And if you’re stuck, try A/B testing to see which subject lines get the highest responses.

Provide your Readers Value
Once you have identified your newsletter’s goal, created a visually appealing template, and written a catchy subject line, the meat of your content must be created with thoughtfulness and intention.

The content going out to your readers must be useful and relevant to your audience, and MUST provide value. Your user’s inboxes are flooded with all kinds of emails and it is up to you to create content that is compelling enough for them to open and read.

Knowing your audience and what their needs and interests are beyond just of your product and service will help to build community and loyalty around your brand. 

Keep them Coming

Regular communication with  your audience whether it be weekly, monthly, or quarterly is important to keep you top of mind when the need arises.

Your product may have long gaps in between customer purchases, or you may provide a service that may only arise for someone under unique circumstances, but with frequent reminders of the value  you offer, you may have the opportunity to build a long and trusted relationship.  

By creating a newsletter strategy and fulfilling on it regularly, you will have the opportunity to communicate directly to your audience with content that is useful, compelling, and memorable, and provide you a ROI.

Newsletter topics: Company news & updates, thought leadership, upcoming product or service teases, team spotlights, industry updates, customer success stories

Why A Newsletter Strategy is Important

From prospecting to purchase, modern technology has provided us so many opportunities to access and connect with our customers throughout the sales funnel process. Marketing, is an essential piece of the process, but often, those endeavors can be costly, with ROI’s that are not always easily measurable.

Newsletters are a simple and cost effective solution to raise interest in your brand and deliver timely marketing messages to your audience. Dollar for dollar, few marketing tactics deliver more value than newsletters. While they shouldn’t be the only piece to the strategy, they are a low hanging fruit of the mix.

So what are the advantages of newsletters beyond being cost effective?

Strengthening the Connection
Your subscribers have already shown interest in your product or service at least once, so staying in touch with them by delivering regular and useful content to their inbox will continually keep you at the top of their minds when the need (or want) arises. 

Providing Value
Most potential customers don’t want a hard sell. Hard sales are focused on the product or service, and not the customer. There will be times when this tactic is appropriate—more on that later, but this approach does not provide the opportunity for a relationship to be built on trust. Providing engaging and valuable content is the best way to connect on what the customer is actually looking. It will also keep the competition at bay, because you understand them on a deeper level. You know what your customer’s preferences and interests are, so you can address these topics without overtly asking for a sale or contribution. Again, building on that trust.

Customer Insights
Many newsletter platforms also provide an eyeful of useful information to any newsletter sender. By regularly monitoring campaign clicks, and conversion, you will gain insight on your customers’ preferences and motivations, and have the information for future marketing and business strategies.

Removing Pain Points

Relate to and take the pain away by speaking to legitimate industry pain points. Come from a place of empathy and understanding, and don’t be afraid to take a stance. Your audience wants to align with your brand because you see the world in a similar way, so talk about issues that they are facing. And to make it come full circle, you should be sure to mention and connect how your product or service’s capabilities help resolve said issues.

Upcoming Events

And lastly, to occasionally tease your customers about an upcoming release or sale will result in an immediate sale if you have done a sufficient job at consistently resonating and connecting with your audience. After all, you are a business and selling matters. But remember if you have promotions and sales regularly, your audience may never purchase at full price, and your brand may never gain long term value.

Now might be a good time to look at your current marketing strategy and determine if a newsletter tactic might be the low hanging fruit you should act on. 

It’s a Site for Sore Eyes

A face for the future

We’ve revamped our website and clarified things. Just as we believe it is important for our clients to renew their website and reevaluate who they are, we believe it for ourselves. We wanted to rebuild and re-examine how we are communicating and representing ourselves visually to the world.

Loud and clear

Hear—well, read—all about us. We’ve crystallized our point of view, our why, our everything clearly. We want you to know we’re forward thinking, and we want you to discover our process, our goals for you and our work, and more. We’re comfortable with you knowing all about who we are without even meeting us—although, we’d very much like to.

Run, don't walk

See the website for yourself and discover what could be. We’ve been here for over 20 years, so we know a little something about thriving and designing for the future.


By Subject

We’ve often been asked, does Utah have great marketers, or just great sales people? Well, the short answer is yes. Duh. A good product, or service is as only as successful as it’s ability to be marketed and sold, so naturally those two things go hand in hand, and Utah’s silicon slopes booming tech industry is proof of that.

Often, the marketing geniuses and brand designers behind the successful companies don’t get the recognition they deserve—they most often stay out of the spotlight, BUT we wanted to create an opportunity to highlight them, recognize them, and celebrate the strategies and initiatives they create and implement to build their brands and drive revenue.

And so, about a year ago, we teamed up with Silicon Sllopes to create, build, and launch the podcast By Subject, to talk about marketing and the marketers in Utah. We cover everything including: 

  • What was your first job in marketing?
  • What are some early wins in your marketing position?
  • Did you have a mentor? What did you learn from them?
  • What do you love about marketing?
  • What do you wish would change about marketing?
  • What does your current roll look like on a week by week basis?
  • What do you see as the benefits of being a marketer here in Silicon Slopes?
  • What are some challenges of being a marketer here in Silicon Slopes?
  • What is one piece of advice you would give to a marketer growing in their role?
  • What should marketers expect to see in the next 5-10 years?
  • And last but not least, what is a restaurant/bar/coffee shop that you would recommend here in Silicon Slopes?

In our first episode, we talked with Beau Oyler from Enlisted Design. We chatted about all brand things related to our hearts—what makes a craveable brand, how brand relates to industrial design, and why Chunga’s is the best taco spot in Salt Lake.

So, plug in, subscribe, and listen to By Subject on your favorite listening app. We’ve got lots of episodes with some brilliant marketers coming your way. You’ll also find links to listen or watch the podcast directly from our website

Happy Listening!

CRO and Messaging: Science Meets Art

In recent years the topic of CRO, or conversion rate optimization, has grown in popularity and become a pillar for many businesses serious about their online marketing effectiveness and strategy. While the importance of composing proper website messaging with an authentic brand voice has been embraced since the beginning of the digital age, focus on optimizing a website through CRO is a newer addition to the mix. 


Both CRO and messaging have their own unique value on a website. In this case, both elements complement each other, while proving a long accepted dynamic within successful marketing – that being the delicate symbiotic balance between the art and the science.


Think of messaging, or the copy on your website as the art. The words utilized must flow and have a creative spark to them that compliments any imagery displayed, while also telling a compelling story that should always be clear and concise. If crafted properly, the message should resonate with website visitors and prepare them for the next steps of the customer journey. 


It’s been said that website messaging should educate customers or clients of two imperative ‘why’s’. The first being “why you”, meaning why should they choose your product or service over that of the competitions. The second why, “why now” should persuasively outline why taking action immediately would be to their favor. 


By taking a careful, artistic approach to your website’s messaging, the end result can be a masterpiece in its own right. 


Shifting focus back to CRO, or the yin to the yang of messaging, we shall give the spotlight to the science in this equation. Conversion rate optimization, if established and maintained correctly, will use well crafted messaging as a springboard for increasing desired actions on the website. It will enable visitors to morph into interested followers, purchasers, and repeat buyers. 


By maximizing conversions while minimizing potential drop-off points along the customer journey, CRO can essentially transform the digital assets we call websites into powerful tools that create demand and can generate consistent revenue. 


Depending on what you read, the average conversion rate on a website is anywhere between 1% and 4% – which leaves plenty of room for improvement. But to capture any meaningful progress, there must be a clear understanding of how visitors interact with the website they visit. By providing visitors with more features that they enjoy utilizing, and offering the types of content that best capture their attention, a better experience can be shaped, and greater brand trust and loyalty can follow. 


By regularly reviewing data points like bounce rates, exit pages, cost per conversion, and other key metrics, CRO effectiveness can also be increased. Additionally, researching the competition may provide insights as to how other brands are capturing the interests, engagement, and purchases of potential customers and clients. 


Regardless of the balance between the art of messaging on your website and the science of proper CRO, one notion should always be embraced: a website should constantly be evolving. 

It’s likely time to inspect your website with a fresh set of eyes. Dream big, but focus on fundamentals, and always, always, keep updating for increased effectiveness with right brained artistry balanced with left brained computation.

The 4 Pillars of a Successful Website

Regardless of a business’s industry, online presence has a massive impact on its success. At the forefront of that presence should be a website that is memorable, easy to navigate, and a place that can generate leads and revenue. In our present day, the world has become a smaller place. Information is easily available and at our fingertips, and it impacts the way we receive and share information and live a quality life. Still, some businesses still don’t fully understand the importance of having a website that is modern and effective. Afterall, many customers will visit a website, sometimes dozens of times, before making purchases. 


When creating a website there are numerous key factors that will contribute to how it is perceived. At each step of the way, an effective website must capture the trust of the potential customer. The website must pass the eyeball test at each level to unlock the desired results that prove its effectiveness.


The fact is, effective websites don’t just happen. To attract and retain traffic, a website’s content, design and experience must all consistently, and simultaneously, be on point. 


Sadly, we’ve all experienced websites that leave much to be desired. 


Websites that don’t communicate a clear purpose, leaving visitors confused.


Websites that don’t have a simple, sequential user experience, but lackluster interfaces which lead to more confusion and skyrocketing bounce rates.


Or, perhaps the worst of the bunch, outdated websites that feel like they were designed and launched in preparation for Y2K.


At a8ency, we believe effective websites share 4 critical criteria: 


  1. Is it Clean? Is your website’s design aesthetically pleasing and inviting, or is lack of organization on parade? If you aren’t using contemporary designs and layouts, people may think you’re behind the times—and not worth their time or money. If it doesn’t look the part, it simply won’t perform the part.
  2. Is it Simple? Aim for less fluff and more simplicity. Whether we realize it or not, as humans we all crave a simple experience. It’s not just about the words you use. It’s not just the images. It’s how they are presented, and often how easy it is for people to find them. If your website experience wouldn’t be described as simple, it’s time to revisit the experience. 
  3. Is it Educational? Does your website communicate who you are, what you do, and what the next logical step is? Everything published should be keyword rich, while being timely, accurate, and ordered in ways that align with customer needs. Does it also inform visitors of your products or services with elevator pitch brevity?
  4. Is it Compelling? Does the site invite engagement and conversions for the business? Does it generate leads for the business? If your business needs sales to thrive as most do, your website must be compelling and be ready to capture transactions.

Branding Marketing


We define branding as a strategic and emotional foundation that builds customer loyalty over time.


Marketing is typically defined as the action of promoting and selling goods and services.


We’ve often been asked if we also offer marketing, and, up until now, we’ve politely declined by stating that we are primarily specialized in brand design, then referring our clients to a marketing agency.


However, we’ve noticed a gap between marketing and branding—they don’t always work synergistically together, and our clients are missing the opportunity to build brand customer loyalty in the short term and over time.


So what did we do? We launched a brand-based, full-service marketing, sister organization to modern8—a8ency.


a8ency is about creating compelling and innovative campaigns that bridge the gap between marketing and design, in order to reach your target audience.


We are also excited to introduce our modern8 audience to a8ency’s Managing Director, Eric Dahl, who comes with years of marketing experience and will be leading the a8 charge. Eric will share his brand marketing perspectives and experiences, which will provide you with insights on bolstering the value of your brand.


Your Brand Om


As consumers, we’re pretty familiar with taglines and the general purpose that they serve.


Some brand taglines have become so successful that they are well-integrated into our language and pop culture as normal euphemisms, such as “maybe it’s Maybelline or maybe it’s…”.


But what goes into this deceptively simple element of your brand?


Taglines are the memorable, compelling, and concise way to tell what your brand stands for and promises.


They can adapt and transcend as time moves on, while carrying your brand’s essence, personality, and more.


Taglines are built from a thorough understanding of your brand, and, once you develop a tagline, they should be used frequently and consistently to build cachet.


“Brand mantras are poetry. And they are powerful tools, not just for building brands, but for building organizations.” – Chris Grams


(The remedy for your dynamite brand)

Short and Sweet


Headlines are a succinct way of creating brand-based communications that are insightful to your brand’s priorities, personality, values, and more.


As a strategy-first agency, we believe in referencing the strategic columns of your brand in order to build any form of messaging.


Because headlines are meant to be efficient and effective forms of communication, it’s better to build them strategically and relevantly for wherever and whomever they are placed.


As prominent copywriter Eugene Schwartz put it, “There is your audience. There is the language. There are the words that they use.”


Writing intentional headlines with focus also prevents them from feeling generic or, on the opposite side, from being so encumbered that you lose all understanding and meaning.


A well thought out headline builds additional layers of visible character for your brand. Therefore, develop headlines that deepen your brand perception over ones that only exist to acknowledge and compete with the competition.


“Good advertising is written from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone.” – Fairfax M. Cone


(You’re only as solid as what you build on.)

But is it Worth It


Headlines began with an attention-seeking purpose to beat out and stifle competition amongst newspapers.


Though headlines are still used for that purpose, they can do so much more.


We may think of headlines as a common occurrence and a second nature element of our daily world, however, we should think about them with more intention.


Headlines don’t only grab focus, they can function as a quick guide and summary into the information you carry, for instance on your website, especially for your target audience.


Well-written headlines are also useful for your brand campaigns, marketing collateral, blogs, and more, as a glimpse of your brand tone and perspective on the world.


Remember that most of us skim what we read these days to quickly assess for value, so the brevity of headlines will always be a necessary and key tool for any brand.


“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” – David Ogilvy


(When you take a trip to Imagination Station…)