Designs on Marketing: Build a Monthly Digital Publication

TechnologyApr 07, 2020

Designs on Marketing: Build a Monthly Digital Publication

Jacqueline Stone gives some tips for keeping content fresh, fun and thoughtful in a time when communication is taking place largely online.

In her latest “Designs on Marketing” column, Jacqueline Stone discusses the best way to create an engaging monthly newsletter. An example from one of her clients, Nomad Bead Merchants, is seen here.
The year 2020 is off to a wild start. 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate almost everything: work, travel, home, goals and relationships. 

It’s a swift transition, and most of our familiar practices shifted overnight. 

As we all do our part in adjusting to the new normal, it gives us a lot of time to practice gratitude and to find new ways to communicate authentically. Social distancing is not natural for humankind; we thrive on connection, which is why online socializing is needed now more than ever.

Many of my clients have told me they aren’t fans of email marketing. However, their tune changes once they recognize it’s a powerful way to grab their audiences’ attention.

I hate email spam just as much as the next guy. But what if I told you there was a different way?

Welcome to your monthly digital newsletter.

This publication is so beautiful and captivating that people actually look forward to seeing it in their inbox. By putting the time and effort into this once-a-month blast, clients have exceed a 35 percent open rate with an audience list in the thousands.

Below I’m giving you the tricks and tips you need to build something you are proud of and that authentically represents you and your brand.

As we all move online right now, let’s make sure we keep our content fresh, fun and thoughtful.

The monthly newsletter from Tulku Jewels
The monthly newsletter from Tulku Jewels

1. Determine Your Interests
This might seem counterintuitive, but people want to know more about the person behind the brand.

What are your hobbies? What do you like to learn about in your free time? Believe it or not, it often doesn’t have to be about your industry at all.

For example, I love tarot cards. What does that have to do with digital marketing? At first glance, absolutely nothing. But when I’m taking the messages of hope, wisdom and guidance from the cards and applying them to everyday marketing problems, suddenly it becomes interesting for us both.

They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. The same rings true for marketing.

The more fun you are having, the more authentically your message lands and the more engaged your audience.

The monthly newsletter of Houston independent Dubin’s Fine Jewelry
The monthly newsletter of Houston independent Dubin’s Fine Jewelry

2.  Create Content Categories
I always recommend my clients put the following in their monthly digital magazines:
-- A heartfelt letter from the CEO or lead designer;
-- Blurbs and links to your blogs;
-- Short recaps and links to articles that interest you and are industry-relevant (this showcases you’re an expert in your field); 
-- Behind-the-scenes looks at design or product development;
-- Gorgeous images (stock images often fall flat; either take your own or hire a photographer);
-- Quotes, cartoons or visuals that are easy to digest; and 
-- Consistent branding (logo, colors, fonts, etc.) throughout. 

You can use these ideas and so many more! You don’t have to include all these topics in each month’s newsletter, as you can mix and match.

The consistency comes from the way you present the information.

The monthly newsletter from Nomad Bead Merchants
The monthly newsletter from Nomad Bead Merchants

3. Develop Catchy Headlines
Now that you know what you’d like to include each month with regularity, it’s time to come up with witty headlines. Here’s some ideas I’ve borrowed from a few of my clients’ monthly publications.

Design and Development = Behind the Scenes
Blogs = From the Back Desk
Quotes = Sound Bites
Tips and Tricks = CRO Growth Hacks
Jewelry Throughout Antiquity = Modern Monarchy

You get the idea. Your customers might not know what each headline is about in the very beginning, but that’s the idea. You want to create catchy ways to spark interest and encourage your readers to learn more, also known as discovery marketing.

Farm & Oven’s monthly newsletter
Farm & Oven’s monthly newsletter

4. Deliver Deeper Discounts
Your monthly newsletter should go out to everyone on your email list. Not all your email campaigns or flows will be appropriate for your entire audience—except for this publication.

It should be the one-stop shop where your customer base can get a monthly download on the happenings with your brand. It seems to work out great for my clients, especially those who will use this as their one and only correspondence each month.

For those of you who use email more frequently, I suggest utilizing your newsletter as the place to put your biggest promotion each month.

Perhaps you’re offering 10 percent off via social media or your website banner. Give your monthly newsletter readers a better offer, like 20 percent off.

Maybe you don’t like discounts. (I appreciate they’re not widely used in the world of fine jewelry.)

Perhaps, then, it’s about free shipping, free consultations, free jewelry cleanings or a special gift you’re sending out to customers who complete an action for you (reviews, surveys, etc.).

Make sure that large monthly incentive is captured in your newsletter and include a stunning visual to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

The newsletter sign-up page for the columnist’s own company, Bubblegum & Duct Tape
The newsletter sign-up page for the columnist’s own company, Bubblegum & Duct Tape

5. Make Sign-Up a Breeze
I’ve brought this up before, but it’s worth mentioning again.

With the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) laws, it feels harder to expand your list than ever before. However, are you making it extremely easy for your clients to sign up to talk to you?

Most CRM (customer relationship management) services have a way to create a pop-up or URL that makes newsletter sign-up a breeze. There are so many out there, but I know for a fact that Mailchimp, Constant Contact, MailerLite and Klayvio make it extremely easy to build these mini-URLs.

It allows those interested to do the work for you (enter their email, name, etc.) without you having to constantly download and upload a CSV file.

Better yet, you can embed this new sign-up URL into your Instagram profile using either or Milkshake.

You can include the link with a button in your website footer, and you can occasionally post the link on your Facebook page or even your personal page.

Often, it helps if you share the link to your current newsletter as well. Once people see your monthly digital magazine and realize its value, they’ll be clamoring to sign up.

Building a monthly publication with this level of love and detail does take time, but I promise you it’s worth it.

When my clients give their monthly newsletter the attention and care it deserves, it rewards them greatly with renewed interest in the brand and starts converting leads into sales.

Give it a try and see if it works for you! Remember, it’s a constantly evolving art piece and will never be perfect the first time around. I find that is often what leaves people stuck.

In the meantime, be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter where I deliver tons of great tips like these and much more. (See what I did there?)

Also, I’m starting to offer free online marketing workshops. Our first one is today (Tuesday, April 7) at 11am MDT and the focus is on, you guessed it, email marketing. 

When you start creating and implementing content that has value to your audience, you’ll start to see your tribe develop brand loyalty and naturally grow. 

And right now, online community is our lifeline. 
Jacqueline Stoneis a recovering jewelry designer who now works in marketing and runs her own e-commerce site,

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