E-newsletters improve communication channels with clients, deliver good news stories, share expertise through tips and help build a database of potential clients.
It can be a powerful marketing tool, providing useful information to the reader while indirectly promoting your services.
Make it consistent.
Are you committed to sending it out regularly? There is no point in sending out an e-newsletter just whenever you get around to it. It has to go out at least once a month, but preferably once a fortnight. We send out our newsletter at 8.30 a.m. every second Tuesday.
I am also a member of the Women’s Network Australia, which sends out its newsletter every Monday evening. I look forward to reading it each week at that time.
Make it relevant.
The content should appeal to your readers. Think about what type of information they would find interesting.
Under no circumstances should you use the opportunity to sell to your readers. The newsletter should create a sense of community and share expertise with them.
Limit your articles to 200 words, and keep sentences and paragraphs short. If the article is longer, post it on your website or blog and hyperlink to it from the newsletter. This is a great way to get your readers to see other material you have written.
Use plain language, and always check for spelling and typos before distribution.
Make it easy to read.
The layout must be easy to navigate. Many people scan e-newsletters to find stories that interest them. Statistics show we usually spend 51 seconds scanning an e-newsletter and that most people won’t read past the first three items on your list.
Limit your colors, and watch for bad contrast. Simple is often best, with one banner heading. Avoid flashy, distracting graphics, and use relevant, low-resolution images. Employ lots of white space to draw the eye to the text.
Include a table of contents at the top of the e-newsletter so readers can decide what to read. Create hyperlinks on the TOC entries to the articles for quick navigation, but don’t let this take away from your main items.
Always ask people to opt in to receive the newsletter; make it easy to subscribe and unsubscribe. Frustrated subscribers are not likely to return. There must be a clear Unsubscribe link. The email must clearly identify the sending organization and why it was sent.
Add contact details.
You want readers to contact you. Add all your contact details, including blogs and social media channels. Remember to hyperlink them to make it even easier to contact you.
Catriona Pollard is the author of “From Unknown To Expert” and the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with social media strategies that engage consumers as well as businesspeople.