Creating a newsletter, either for distribution via email or on paper, is one of the easiest, and most low-cost ways to reach your customers. But they have to be produced correctly to be effective.
Tips for Creating Effective Newsletters and E-newsletters
Here's a simple, step-by-step guide for beginners. While you don't have to take every single piece on the list verbatim, make a note of the big ideas. Keep it conversational, avoid tech jargon, and don't oversell.
Avoid "A Message from..." Statements at the Front
Whether it's from the president, the CEO, the head of marketing, or anyone else, leave it alone. It may be tempting, but you should still stick with your most informative article(s) on the front page. You don't see "Letters to the Editor" on the front page of your newspaper or the covers of magazines. There's a good reason. And the same holds true for newsletters. It's tacky.
The Introduction Should Pack a Punch
You wouldn't buy a newspaper if it were just a bunch of plain words, no pictures, and no headlines. Don't save the best for last by burying your best article in the back end of your newsletter. Put it right on the front page. If you draw readers in, they're more likely to flip through the entire issue.
Stay Away From the Sales Hype
Your newsletter is supposed to be informative, not a booklet full of advertisements and exclamation points. If the stories in your newsletter are well-written, there will not be a need to tell consumers your products and services are better. They'll see it for themselves. Is it engaging? Is it informative, or shareable via social media? If done correctly, your newsletter can actually become a great marketing tool that can spread via your subscriber list to many other people.
Write in Third Person When Possible
All stories should be written as a third party observer. Take a look at newspaper and magazine articles for prime examples. However, there may be times when this is not appropriate. For instance, if you are someone who is a motivational speaker, or have personal success stories to share, it would seem odd to speak about yourself in the third person. You need to evaluate this based on your current business model.
Write in a Conversational Tone
Talk to your customer, not at them. Don't use big words when smaller ones will do. It is an informal way of communicating, and you are more likely to get a response if you treat it in this way. It is not the time for the hard sell.
Don't assume your customers know what your complex abbreviations stand for. Don't get into big, confusing industry terms, even if it's to someone in the same industry. Keep your stories on an even keel, easily understood by your audience.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Your newsletter is a reflection of your company including its quality, service, and people. Have several people proofread each story if you can, so you can have several perspectives. Spell checking is not good enough. Yes, it can spot glaring errors, but if you meant to use "where" instead of "were" it probably won't catch it.
Choose Your Newsletter's Name
Finally, your newsletter needs a name (otherwise, it's a headless wonder). Be creative when choosing a name for your newsletter. Most companies stick with the same name as their company, but there are ways to improve its marketability. Example: Your company's name is Joe's Tree Nursery. "The Treehouse" has potential and makes your newsletter sound fun to read. If you sell products for dogs, call it "The Kennel" or "The Pound." Be inventive.
- If you're printing your newsletter, it doesn't have to be in color. While most people prefer reading a full-color newsletter, they will still read one in black and white. It is an issue in a digital newsletter - always go with color.
- Allow various employees to participate by letting them write articles in their area of expertise. It gives your newsletter a bigger feel so that your consumers don't see articles written by the same people every month.
- Assemble a team of employees to oversee the newsletter creation process. Make sure each employee on this team proofs each article so you can have several pairs of eyes looking for mistakes, typos and improving the overall article in general.
- If you or your employees are unable to write the content of your newsletter, seek the help of a freelance copywriter. Freelancers can write your entire newsletter based on the information you provide them, and you don't have to keep them on retainer either.
- Study newsletters from other companies to get ideas on what type of newsletter you'd like to create for your own business.
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