The four primary skill sets involved in creating a good e-mail campaign are:
Before writing a single thing, you need a plan. What is the goal of your communications? Who is the target audience and what message are they most receptive to? What is the call to action? A good plan should answer these questions and outline the entire campaign (or in the case of a newsletter, a particular time period) including the contents of each individual communication. Additionally, who will receive the communications? How big is your list? What other online marketing strategies will you use to build your list and increase the reach of your campaign?
Creating written content is a critical skill in building a successful communications campaign. The articles and introductions should convey your personal voice while providing value to your readers. How are your writing skills? What is your editing process? Writing in a vacuum is never recommended. Do you have a group of people or professional service to bounce ideas off of, proof your work, and offer editorial help?
An e-mail that is poorly designed will turn the reader off before they read a single word you have written! Good design can help communicate your message. Use of images, colors, and branding give the recipient another level at which to understand your message. It can trigger emotions and help build a relationship. However, poor design that looks unprofessional or is visually unappealing can be very detrimental. How are your design skills? Are you a visual person?
The final, but equally important, skill set is the ability to use technology. Some sort of e-mail marketing software is required in order to manage your list and send group e-mails. There are hundreds of options out there that provide different capabilities and require varying degrees of training and technological expertise. It is always helpful to have some basic programming knowledge. Besides the communications themselves, you will need to be able to add things to your website, such as opt-in areas, or create separate landing pages. You'll also want to track the effectiveness of your campaigns, which is logged in the statistical area of the software. Do you love learning new software platforms? Are you comfortable working with your website? Or do you need a little help in this area?
Don't feel overwhelmed by the skills that go into making an e-mail campaign. As I said, it is very unlikely that you will have all of these skill sets yourself. Focus on your strengths. Which of these areas are your strong suits? Which areas are weaker and may require a little outside help? Identifying the areas you see yourself in can guide your own communications plan.
I hope that knowing this will help you improve the quality of your e-mail marketing!