Email newsletters are a great place to begin when you are developing a new email program. Sending your customers and leads a regularly occurring newsletter is a great way to drive engagement with your brand and an opportunity to consistently communicate with individuals who are interested in your product or service.

Here are five tips to consider when starting a newsletter program:

1. Determine your cadence…and stick to it!

Are you going to send a monthly newsletter? Quarterly? When your subscribers opt-in to receive your email, you should always set clear expectations about how often they can expect to hear from you. Receiving unexpected mail is the number one cause of spam complaints.

If you tell your subscribers that they will receive a monthly newsletter, but proceed to send on a weekly schedule instead, you are setting yourself up for trouble. Respect the expectations that you set with your recipient list to keep them happy and engaged.

2. Don’t get bogged down with email design

If designing your email templates is a daunting task for you, don’t spend a lot of time creating a new and complicated template for every iteration of your newsletter. Create one (or use one of ours) that can be reused for all of your newsletters and save a master copy. Not only will reusing one simple email template save you time, but it will also help you to give your readers a consistent brand experience.

Pro tip: While it might be tempting to stuff your newsletter chock full of beautiful images, ISPs (Google mail, Yahoo mail, etc.) are more likely to mark your email as spam when you include more photographs than text. To be safe, always try to stick to a 70:30 text:image ratio in your emails.

3. Pick content that you know

Writing can be intimidating for any founder who is wearing the marketing hat in addition to other responsibilities. Keep in mind that your subscribers want to receive your newsletter because they believe that YOU are the subject matter expert. Send emails full of content that reflect your brand and expertise.

Resist the temptation to push your product. Instead, focus on the pain points that your soon-to-be customers have and how your content can help them.

4. Remember to use a call-to-action

The CTA asks your recipient to perform some sort of action. This may include purchasing a new service or product, reading a blog post in full, or just a request to share your content through social channels.

Click rates are a key determining factor to effective CTAs. After you send out each email, make sure you review the click rates to determine what types of CTAs perform better for your business needs.

To take a deeper dive into CTA best practices like placement, content, and design, check out our Build a Strong Email Call to Action Guide.

5. Honor unsubscribes immediately

Once you have established your newsletter program, another consideration you can take with your subscriber list is to review engagement. If a subscriber doesn’t open any email from you for six months, they are as good as unsubscribed. They are more likely to mark your email as spam if you continue sending to them. Take a proactive approach to your deliverability by scrubbing unengaged subscribers from your list.

List churn is a fact of life in the email world. Some turnover is to be expected, and when a recipient unsubscribes from your newsletter, your only wise choice is to say “goodbye.” Don’t let unsubscribes linger on your list. When a subscriber communicates that they no longer wish to receive your email, the best thing you can do is immediately remove their address.

For more information about email open rates across different industries and demographics, download SendGrid’s Global Email Benchmark Report.

Ellie is SendGrid's Marketing Operations Associate. She works closely with customers to make sure that they're getting the most out of their SendGrid experience. As an email veteran, Ellie enjoys testing strategies in SendGrid's own email program, so she can bring the latest best practices to our customers. A Colorado native, you can find Ellie exploring the mountains year-round or enjoying live shows across Denver and Boulder.