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Campaign Monitor 101

How to Create an Email Newsletter


This video contains a brief overview of how to create and send an email, including:

  • Creating a campaign
  • Designing an email using the drag-and-drop email builder
  • Testing and sending
  • Reports and Insights
  • Creating email templates for future sends

For a live tutorial and Q&A, please join our Deep Dive Webinar: How to Send an Email Newsletter.

Today we’re going to create an email newsletter for a local fashion retailer, taking you step by step through the email builder.

We’ll cover some best practices as we go along, so you feel confident in using the email builder to create your own beautiful emails.

In our account, we’ll select Create a new campaign.

At the top of the screen, you’ll see you can choose a Regular or an A/B test campaign. Today we’re going to create a regular campaign, but we’ll cover A/B testing a little later.

We’ll name our campaign and enter a subject line. It’s worth mentioning here that your subject line is super important as it serves as a first, and sometimes last, impression. After all, the greatest email in the world is worthless if it never gets opened, right? So take the time to create the subject line that’s perfect for your email.

Once you’re happy with your subject line, we’ll enter the preheader text.

Preheader text is a brief description of what’s in your email, shown as a preview in most inboxes next to the subject line.

Enter the from details and hit Next. Ensure you update the sender details with a name and email address that is recognizable to your subscribers, as it’s an important factor in whether your email is going to be opened or not.

Now’s the fun part—time to choose your desired template.

You can choose from My templates, recent templates that you’ve used previously, or from any of the template types. All of our templates can be fully customized with your brand colors, styles, and content.

Let’s choose a new template from the newsletter-themed templates. Once clicked, it opens up in the email builder.

From here we’ll add our logo by simply dragging it in from the desktop. If you don’t have a logo or don’t wish to use one, simply delete it.

From the settings on the left hand side we can update our logos size, alignment, link, and alt text. Further down you’ll see you can update your fonts, colors, sizing for your whole email.

The smart color picker will remember colors you’ve added or changed so you can easily find your colours as you’re creating or editing other sections of your email.

When you’ve updated all the settings, simply click Done editing and it will return you to the email.

Now let’s look at the different sections or blocks. You can remove parts or whole sections simply by clicking on that section and clicking delete. You can also add sections by scrolling to the bottom and clicking on Add section and choosing the kind of section you want.

Move this new section anywhere in your newsletter by clicking on the section and moving it.

You can drag different elements into sections and, if you change your mind, simply click on the new block or the entire section and click Delete.

Once you’re finished updating any of the blocks, just click on Done editing to return to the email builder, or simply click inside another section.

To update an existing image simply click on the image, click Replace, and select the preferred image from your computer.

You can crop the image or enter the size you would like. You can link to a web page, email address, telephone number, or SMS text message.

To link to a video from your email simply drag the video element into your email and paste the Vimeo or YouTube link. Currently, email clients like Gmail, Outlook, and others cannot play video directly inside an email.

When you drag text blocks into your section, you’ll see the menu bar where you can change the font, size, and color, add links, and more.

As we mentioned earlier, each article in your newsletter needs to have a clear call to action so you can drive traffic to your website, blog or where your content lives.

As you might expect, one of the most common calls to action in newsletters is “Read more,” which directs the subscriber to the full-page article on your site.

Once you drag the button into position, you can use the settings on the left to choose the color, font, size, and position of the button, and where you will link it to.

You can also link to email address, telephone numbers, and to SMS.

If you are on our Unlimited Plan or above, you can create urgency by adding a countdown timer to your email. Common uses are to count down to a sale or event. In this case, we’ll add a countdown timer to create excitement around a product launch.

Simply drag the Countdown tile into your email and set the end time and date.

Finally lets update the footer. Your email footer is valuable real estate which can be used to provide specific information about your brand and vital resources for your subscriber.

Simply update your company details and social media URLs and remove any sections you don’t wish to include. If you want to customize your footer, you can always create a new, adjacent section in order to do this.

One section in the footer you cannot remove is the Unsubscribe link. Allowing recipients to unsubscribe from your list with a single click is not only best practice, it’s a requirement of using Campaign Monitor.

After all this editing, it’s good to know that you can undo or redo any action In the email builder. Changes you make auto-save, so you can Return or Preview, then resume where you left off at any time.

Before we prepare to schedule or send our email, it is best practice to take another look at our email in the email builder to give it a final look over and test all links.

An easy way to do this is to click on Preview on the top right. As you scroll through the email, simply click on your CTA buttons, text, and images to ensure all links are working.

You’ll notice in the preview screen you can preview your email as if reading on both desktop and mobile device. We know that 50% or more of people are opening emails on a mobile device, so it’s just as important to ensure your email looks fabulous on mobile devices as it does on a desktop.

While your email may look perfect on the preview screen, due to the different capabilities of email software and web browsers, it’s possible things could look different for your recipients. As a result, we have a Design and Spam Test tool, so you can preview how your email looks in Gmail, Outlook and other email platforms.

When testing your emails, the design and spam test results don’t need to be identical across all email clients, but they should be viewer-friendly. There are a few ways you can test your emails.

Quick test: If you don’t want to run a Design and Spam test, you can run a quick test to up to five email addresses, for free. From the preview screen, simply click on Send a test email and enter the email addresses.

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a great way to test which is the better campaign for receiving the best opens and clicks. Using A/B testing for your newsletter (or in your email campaigns) can mean the difference between high reader engagement or your readers scrolling right past your email.

You can do an A/B test on the subject line, from name, or email content.

To use split testing, simply select A/B test instead of a regular campaign, define what you wish to do the A/B test on, fill in the details, and complete the campaign as normal.

Once you’ve created your campaign, select the size of the test group, how the winner will be selected, and how long you’ll run the test. Then you can start the test immediately or schedule it for a future date or /time.

Now we’re ready to send our newsletter. Simply click Define recipients, choose your list, and click on Send now or schedule it for later.

If sending now, simply confirm the from email address and click Send campaign now.

To schedule your campaign for later, click on Schedule for a specified time, choose the date and time, check and confirm the from email address, and click Schedule this campaign.

Customers on the Unlimited and Premier plans will see another option to Send in the recipient’s local time zone. If you choose to send in the recipient’s time zone, simply select the day and time using the drop downs. For example, if you set the time to 9 a.m., a recipient in Sydney will be sent the campaign at 9 a.m. in Sydney, while a recipient in San Francisco will be sent the campaign at 9 a.m. in San Francisco. Note that sending to the recipient’s time zone is only accurate if the recipient has previously engaged with one of your emails—that is to say, as you send more, this feature becomes more accurate.

Once you have sent your campaign, no doubt you’ll be very keen to see its performance.

You can click on any sent campaign to take a closer look at its performance.
In your report snapshot you’ll see email opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, and more.

Let’s take a look around. If we click on Opens, it will take us through to the recipient activity report where we can see the detail of opens and clicks. You’ll also see the different report types on the right hand side.

The Link Activity and Overlay Report will show us which links were clicked and the number of times. If we click on Email overlay at the top, we can scroll down the actual email and see where people clicked within the email.

Once you’ve been sending for a little while, Insights will share with you your metrics over time. Simply click on Insights on the top menu bar. From here you can view your campaign metrics over time. Let’s take a look at our email performance for the last month. Simply enter the start and end date, and you’ll see the number of campaigns sent, and the open and click-through rate overall. And just scroll down to see the results for each individual campaign in that time frame.

You can even check out your most engaged CTAs. Simply click on Content (on the left hand side) and you’ll see your most engaged links.

Finally let’s look at how you can create reusable templates. Having your own templates can be handy for making sure email designs follow brand guidelines, especially if you’re creating a regular newsletter.

Rather than create a new email design each time, you can use a template as a base. To create a template, simply click on your account admin name on the top right and click My templates.

Select Create a new template, and choose whether you want to start from scratch, a recent email, or one of our pre-designed templates. You can then take that template, make changes, preview it, and have it on hand as a starting point for future email campaigns.

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