You probably get numerous email and mailed newsletters come across your desk each month – how many do you read, really? There are probably some you scan for good info, others you just toss, then, of course, there are ones like mine (hee hee) that you read every last word.
What makes the ones you read interesting or valuable to you? What kind of information are they providing? Do catchy headings and photos attract your attention or not? Does fancy HTML attract your attention in emailed ones or is it frustrating due to your download time or does it clog up your email? Now how much of this is important to your target audience? Don’t base your decisions solely on what you like or do.
Before starting a newsletter for your business, determine who it will go to (current clients, past clients you want to stay in touch with, friends, associates, other contacts), what they would like to see (possibly by surveying them or at least knowing their hot buttons relating to your business), how many people you have on your list (the more the better for added exposure) – this may lead to the decision on email vs. mailed due to postage and printing costs. However, you want to send your newsletter in the format that is most likely read by your target audience; if they are homeowners or elderly then printed may be better, but if they are business people and professionals then email might be preferred??
I don’t normally recommend cold calling with your newsletter (buying email address lists) because I think for the most part (some industries are the exception) they should go to the people you already know and/or do business with as a reminder to continue to use your services or refer business to you.
The most important thing in your newsletter is the content – if you aren’t telling people something new and exciting, teaching them something they don’t know, educating them about something they would want to know about, or giving them free resources or solutions then they may just throw it away or delete it. Give them information in your newsletter, don’t worry about not getting paid for the info you’ve given, just know that it will come back to you.
Now for The 10 Things You’ll Want to Put in Your Email Newsletters:
1. An attention getting subject line to make your readers OPEN your email
2. Important info, article or tip (that your readers will want to know about)
3. Bullets or links rather than long paragraphs
4. Testimonials of happy clients
5. A clear call to action – make them do something!
6. Lots of photos, but sized proportionately to fit
7. Sign up for ezine box or link
8. An actual return address, email, contact name and phone number
9. An opt out message
10. A forward button or link so they can pass it on easily
There are a few websites you can go to that will allow you to create your own email newsletter, facilitate the sending, manage your list of recipients and track your bounce backs and follow through. Some are much more expensive than others and some are more user friendly than others, however most have a free trial which I recommend doing first.
Here is a very short list that I know of; I’m sure there are more and don’t forget to check with your favorite website designer too just in case they can do this for you. Most of these don’t require any programming knowledge, just common sense; however they could take some time in which case you can always contract out with K. Sawa Marketing to get your template set up at first or we can handle this each month for you.
1. Constant Contact – my favorite and the one I use!
Don’t forget to heed all the spam laws out there for your email newsletters. Visit Spam Laws for more info. Here are 5 pointers from Corey Rudl, president and founder of the Internet Marketing Center, for planning successful e-mail promotions that won’t get you accused of sending spam:
1. Send e-mail to people who have consented to receive it from you. For example, your customers and e-newsletter subscribers fit this description. The owners of e-mail addresses you’ve purchased on a CD for $40 do not.
2. If you must buy or rent lists, find out how the addresses were collected. If the people on the list haven’t agreed to receive e-mail promotions, you’re the one who could end up in hot water.
3. Use a subject line that accurately reflects the content of your e-mail.
4. Include a real return address and a working “unsubscribe” link in every mail you send. If you have a large list, you’ll need software or an ASP to manage opt-ins and “unsubscribe” requests.
5. If you’re sending commercial e-mail (such as promotions), include your company’s physical mailing address in the body of the e-mail. And yes, this requirement applies to newsletters as well, if their primary purpose is to advertise or promote a product or service.
Finally, when designing promotions, remember that people buy products and services from companies they trust. A single e-mail or mailed promotion just can’t establish that kind of relationship between you and your potential customers, but it can be a first step.
Think of your promotions as part of an ongoing dialog between you and your potential customers, and you’ll be on the right track. What kind of company would you be more likely to buy from: one chasing a fast buck, or one that takes the time to earn your trust before it tries to sell you something?
If you can stay informed and tread lightly, your newsletters should be recognized for what they are-responsible e-mail/mailed promotions.