One way to communicate with your customer base is to develop a newsletter that provides relevant and useful information that the audience will want to read and share. Below are 10 tips for writing an effective newsletter:
1. Utilize a newsletter template: Using an online newsletter template service will make it easy to have a layout that is consistent, provides reader analytics, looks professional and meets spam laws.
There are many available on the Web, such as Constant Contact and MailChimp.com. Review several to see what will work best for you.
2. Understand your target audience: You need to think about what would be relevant content. If your business is a women’s clothing boutique, perhaps your content provides information such as style advice or new trends.
3. Format: Newsletters need a common format from issue to issue so your readers will know what to expect and where to find certain information. For example, on the left could be upcoming events.
The main body of information should be relevant to the audience so they will read it (fashion trends, expert styling tips, a customer makeover before and after). The bottom could be a little “something” extra, like a beauty tip or a humorous item.
4. Publication date: Pick an issue deadline and keep to it. For example, if the newsletter will be going out quarterly, then every newsletter needs to go out the first week of the first month of each quarter. This will let your readers know when to expect it and to look for the newsletter.
5. Content amount: Frequency of the newsletter will dictate the amount of information provided. Monthly newsletters should be restricted to one or two content items. Quarterly can be a little longer.
Also, keep your ratio of photos to content about 50 percent image to text. Too many photos and the newsletter may be hard to open on a mobile device.
6. Use a tag line: If you are using the name of your business for the newsletter, add a tagline that explains what your newsletter is about. The tag line should be displayed prominently in each of your newsletters, be concise and describe your drive, values, etc.
7. Subject line: The subject line should contain information that will make the reader want to open the newsletter.
A subject line such as “Bertha Boutique News Alert” doesn’t tell the audience anything about what the newsletter contains. Perhaps a better subject line would be “Bertha’s Boutique Preview of Fashion for the Fall Season”.
8. Multiple topics: Too much content and the reader may not read everything. It is best to keep your newsletter short and concise. If you do have more than one main topic, add a table of contents with clickable links that will take a reader to items of interest.
9. Share, follow, subscribe and unsubscribe: Include links to make it easier for your readers to follow you, share content, subscribe and unsubscribe from your newsletter.
Share allows your audience to share the newsletter through their personal email and social media sites. These buttons should be placed along the top of your newsletter, easy to find and use.
The follow buttons allow a reader to follow you on your businesses social media sites and should be placed at the bottom of the newsletter, above subscribe/unsubscribe links. The links for subscribe and unsubscribe should be placed at the very bottom of the newsletter.
10. Analytics: Keep an eye on the newsletter analytics that can be accessed from your newsletter template provider. How many opens, forwards and unsubscribes are you getting each edition? How about deletes without opening?
This useful information lets you know if the content you are providing is relevant to your reader. Statistically, an open and click rate above 20 percent is good. Unsubscribe rates above 3 percent are bad.
If you would like more information on how to develop a newsletter or other marketing techniques, go to www.georgiasbdc.org to find your nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and contact them for assistance.
Laura Katz, MBA, is a consultant at the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center who specializes in marketing and business development. She may be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.