10 things to consider when starting an e-newsletter
Thinking about starting an e-newsletter? Who will you send it to, what will you put in it, who will write it and … err, why are you doing it?
E-newsletters are a great way to keep your customer base interested in what you do and to keep telling your brand story. However, they are time consuming to pull together so you need to make sure your strategy is based on clear thinking.
There are good reasons to send an e-newsletter – such as building brand awareness, developing a captured subscriber base and leading readers to your other content, such as website and blog posts. The ability to include a diversity and breadth of content is handy too.
But most of all, the targeted distribution to people that are already interested is very attractive; remember, they have actively chosen to receive your newsletter. They want to hear from you, so respect that and meet their expectations.
Here are some tips on what to think about when setting up an e-newsletter strategy.
10 things to consider when jumpstarting your e-newsletter series
- Research – look at other e-newsletters in your industry. Would you read them? Is this sort of communication right for your business goals? Is it the best use of your resources for what you want to achieve?
- Readers – Do you have a database of contacts to send to? If not, build that first. Send out an invitation to subscribe. Make sure your Subscribe button is obvious on your website and social media platforms. Set expectations for your readers when they sign up about what they will and will not receive from you.
- Resources – Be practical about how many you can send out each year – think about how much time it will take and who will do it. Quarterly is usually feasible for most small operations, when starting out.
- Content – what will you talk about? Who are your readers? What are they interested in? Choose a theme for your content that is inherent in your brand and which will interest your target readers. As always, by knowing your audience you will create more effective communications.
- Don’t sell, sell, sell – your readers will switch off and unsubscribe. The majority of your content will be relevant and timely information that is educational, useful, inspiring and/or entertaining. Keep self-promotion to a minimum, but by all means announce the new aspects of your organisation, your product or your service.
- Brainstorm – pool the ideas of your team to create enough content ideas, because you’ll need a pipeline to keep your newsletter populated over several send outs.
- Design – apply the K.I.S.S. method to design and content. Don’t clutter. Choose a template that is viewable on any device or have one designed for your unique brand. We recommend MailChimp as it’s easy to use and you can send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free.
- Copy – be concise. Use the e-newsletter as a ‘trailer’ to send your readers to view your content elsewhere.
- CTAs – include plenty links to read or find out more. Decide on which is the most important action that you want readers to take and prioritise it.
- Test, test, test – look at the success of each campaign and use this information to determine the content of the next. What information did your readers find interesting? Which subject lines see the highest open rate? How many subscribers forwarded your newsletter to friends and colleagues?
There are lots of e-marketing blogs out there. We’ve compiled these tips from our own experience as well as absorbing lots of industry best practice recommendations from curated blogs such as: www.socialmediaexaminer.com