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. 

Redesigning a Website

We often get asked, “how often should I redesign my website?”, and we always respond with, “as often as you can”. We are realists, and we know how hard it is do do your own work. Sometimes we have gone 3-5 years in between sites, and others only 1-2 years. Our new website fell into the latter—with a new world post pandemic, we felt like it was the right time to renew and re-evaluate to face for the future. 

We approached our own re-design just as we would a new or even existing client beginning with research and discovery. Our first step was conducting a website evaluation on our existing site—a deep dive into our content, our code and analytics to see what’s working and what needs improvement. Next, we spent time understanding who we are—where we have been over the last twenty years, and who we want to be for the future. We brainstormed, took ourselves through our own personality and positioning workshop, and WROTE, and WROTE, and WROTE. These exercises all helped us solidify our point of view, our why, and our everything clearly and with focus.

We then identified our target audience and spent quite a bit of time researching their pain points and motivations for hiring a creative agency. We also took a good look at our competitors to ensure the way we were positioning and talking about ourselves was differentiated and unique. We did ALL of this before we started the design. Because the strategy is what does informs everything—visuals, user experience, typography, colors, messaging, writing, and even the work we showcase in our portfolio.

While there will always be new website trends to keep up with, the biggest benefits to a revamp are the opportunities to get crystal clear on future goals, and align them with how you want to communicate and visually represent yourself the world and your target audience. Our modern8 goals are to let you know that we are forward thinking and that we have a process we’ve been using for over twenty years to grow brands.

We’ve got a lot of strategic and beautiful work to show for it, and because we know who we are, we are comfortable and confident we can help you too.  

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.


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.


Why Do You Need A Competitive Advantage?

In today’s competitive market, having a unique selling point or competitive advantage is crucial for the success of any business. It is the reason why customers choose one product or service over another. As a business owner or marketer, you need to communicate your competitive advantage to your target audience clearly. In this post, we will discuss why having a competitive advantage is essential and how to use it to attract customers.

The first reason why you need a competitive advantage is that it helps you stand out in a crowded market. With so many businesses offering similar products or services, customers can easily get overwhelmed and confused. By having a unique selling proposition, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and capture the attention of potential customers. This can lead to increased sales, customer loyalty, and brand recognition.

One way to develop your competitive advantage is to identify a connective ground that signals to your audience why your product or service is better than your competitors’. This can stem from pricing, convenience, quality, style, or any other factor that sets you apart from your competitors. For example, if you offer lower prices than your competitors, you can use this as your competitive advantage and communicate it clearly to your target audience.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that your competitive advantage may differ from buyer to buyer. Some customers may value convenience more than price, while others may prioritize quality over style. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand your target audience’s needs and preferences and tailor your competitive advantage accordingly.

Another reason why having a competitive advantage is essential is that it helps build trust and credibility with your customers. When customers perceive your product or service as better than your competitors’, they are more likely to trust your brand and become loyal customers. This can lead to positive word-of-mouth advertising and repeat business.

To effectively communicate your competitive advantage to your target audience, you need to incorporate it into your marketing strategy. Your marketing messages should clearly articulate what sets you apart from your competitors and why your target audience should choose your product or service. You can use various marketing channels, such as social media, email marketing, and advertising, to convey your competitive advantage to your potential and current customers.

It’s also essential to ensure that your competitive advantage aligns with the needs and preferences of your different buyer personas. For example, if you have two buyer personas who value different things, such as price and quality, you need to tailor your messaging accordingly. Your marketing messages should reflect the unique benefits of your product or service that resonate with each persona.

In conclusion, having a competitive advantage is crucial for the success of any business. It helps you stand out in a crowded market, build trust and credibility with your customers, and increase sales and customer loyalty. To develop your competitive advantage, you need to identify a connective ground that signals to your audience why your product or service is better than your competitors. You also need to tailor your messaging to align with the needs and preferences of your different buyer personas. By effectively communicating your competitive advantage to your target audience, you can differentiate your brand, increase customer loyalty, and drive business growth.


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