Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Newsletter Basics: How to Create an Effective Newsletter

So you've finally decided to give email marketing a try, and you've chosen a service like Constant Contact or Your Mailing List Provider to send out mo nthly newsletters. Where will you begin? What will you write about? What elements should an effective newsletter have? Here are some ways to create an effective newsletter.

1. First, decide if you want to send one topic or more each month. It depends on your audience and how much time you want to devote to your newsletter each month. For a one-topic newsletter, I recommend talking about a particular product or service that you'd like to highlight. For example, you could announce a new product line that you are carrying, a new service that you're offering or an upcoming event you are participating in.

For multiple topics, I have an ideas folder that I tuck notes into as they come to me. Maybe I've run across a great new website that I like or I have a snippet of info. or a cool quote I want to share. It goes into the folder which I review for ideas when I'm developing my next newsletter.

2. The goal of each newsletter should be to increase your customers' awareness of your business. Each time they hear or see your name, the more likely they are to remember your business the next time they need what you offer. To keep your name "top of mind," make sure you: a) Include your business name in the From: portion of the email; b) use a compelling headline to draw readers in (July 2009 Specials: 20% off any spa service this month only); and c) offer them something (a discount, a coupon, free information) so they agree it is worth their time to read each newsletter.

3. Write the newsletter in a conversational tone so that it flows smoothly and it is easy to read. I like to open mine with a brief paragraph about something topical whether it is a note about the weather, the economy, or a news item that has affected us all. This helps my readers relate to me.

4. Include topics of interest to your readers. The newsletter is for them, so include topics they care about. For example, if you own an accessories shop, you could include an item about how to choose the right purse for a casual outfit or 10 ways to tie a scarf. If you are financial planner, you might include a list of useful websites where they can track their investments or monitor retirement savings.

5. Make it as interactive as possible. Engage your readers by asking them to submit topic ideas, Q&A items, a list of their favorite products and services, or testimonials. This lets your readers know what others are thinking and it helps to involve them in the process. The newsletter is not about you as much as it is about them, so create a forum for them to provide feedback.

With these tips in mind, you can create an email newsletter that readers will look forward to seeing in their inbox each month. Give it a try - I think you'll pleased with the results!

Virtually Yourz,
Dana Neuts

Follow me on Twitter: VirtuallyYourz
Find me on Facebook, Biznik and LinkedIn

No comments: