Put Some Thought into Your e-Newsletter
Putting some thought into an e-newsletter is important. Having a plan of action will insure that your existing clients and potential clients will actually read your e-newsletter rather than send it to the junk mail basket.
You need to make several decisions:
- How often will you send out your e-newsletter?
- Frequency, what makes sense for you
- Be consistent—do what you can achieve but make sure you follow through
- Daily emails: Message of the day or tips
- What type of content will it have?
- What email client will you use?
- What type of budget, if any do you have for this e-newsletter?
- Who will write the content?
Make it Meaningful—Think about Content
Some people feel that each newsletter should have a theme and that each story or article should focus on that theme while others feel that a smattering of stories or articles is fine. It’s really your choice. If you decide on a theme newsletter, make sure that you stick with the theme and resist the urge to include a smattering of unrelated stories. Either type of e-newsletter is fine, just be consistent. People like consistency and will begin to expect it. You might even consider having regular “sections” just like a real newspaper—people will then begin to rely on reading their “favorite” section.
Call to Action
Make sure to include a “call to action”. Something that motivates readers to do take action. Examples include:
- Spend a coupon
- Forward the e-newsletter to a friend
- Contact you for an appointment
- Visit your office/store or website for something
- Visit your office/store or website to do something perhaps take a survey or read about new products or services.
- Answer a question—respond to a question in the e-newsletter or visit your website to comment on something.
Think about What They’ll See
A newsletter that is hard to read or y is a guaranteed way to lose your readers attention. Make sure your clients can easily scan your e-newsletter headings and the introductions to each article. The first few seconds are the most important – make them count. Use big bold headings and make the lead article something they’ll want to hear about. Make sure your “brand” or company name is at the top and easy to see so the recipient knows who you are.
Everyone’s email client will be set up differently, some users preview pane will display to the right of the screen, some at the top some at the bottom, either way the chances are that your email won’t be displayed full screen like a website would. Remember to keep your margins reasonable and don’t be afraid of white space.
There are two methods to putting content into a newsletter – you can include the whole story or you can include a link to the full article on your website. I think long e-newsletters are difficult to read and prevent the readers from actually reading multiple articles that are of interest to them. I’m more likely to read 2 articles if I find them of interest based on the introductory paragraphs, rather than one long one, that would prevent me from ever getting to the next article.
Don’t Spill the Beans!
Remember a good e-newsletter should entice your clients to read more. Give them a teaser and a few sentences that will grab their attention and makes them want to know more. This drives them to your website, where they can read more and find out more about what you’re offering.
Shorter paragraphs will leave your e-newsletter less cluttered and easier to read. White space is a good thing!
Make it Viral-Let is Spread
Make it easy for your e-newsletter to go viral, or be spread around. Encourage your readers to forward the e-newsletter to their friends. It’s a great way to increase your client base, and get new clients.
Rather than simply requiring your users to forward the email directly from their email client (some email systems like Outlook can get hung up when forwarding newsletters with images) add functionality that allows your reader to enter the address of another recipient and send it directly from your newsletter client. This ensures that all images are included, links are maintained and the newsletter looks good. You can add a nice customer message from the person forwarding it. Your email client (icontact, constant contact) should be able to allow this functionality.
Every e-newsletter should contain the following things:
- A link to view the email online.
- Eye catching graphics and/or photos
- Clear type face, with bold headlines.
- A way to opt out of the email.
- Your company’s name and a way to contact you.