So your company has decided to hop on the newsletter bandwagon. You’ve determined it’s important to get regular communications out to your interested audiences. You want to do it in an efficient, economical way. You’re excited, you’re scared, and maybe a little overwhelmed. Roll up your sleeves, and climb aboard.
I write this piece from two perspectives. The first is as a marketing professional with 15+ years in corporate, non-profit, and small business communications. The second perspective is far more important: a critical reader, a busy working mother with lots of companies and causes vying for my time, attention, and wallet. Here are my top tips on starting and maintaining an electronic newsletter effort:
Select an email marketing service that you like—there are dozens out there, and most offer free trial periods. Personally, I’m a big fan of Constant Contact, but I know many that favor MailChimp. Make sure it’s easy to use, offers a lot of flexibility, and honors your recipients’ wishes to the letter. Which brings me to my next tip…
Determine who your audiences are, define and segment them well, and be ready to respond to their communication desires—or lack thereof. For example, you’d like to communicate regularly with your current customers and let them know what’s going on with your business and how you might serve them in other ways. But if a current customer would rather not hear from you that way and asks to be unsubscribed, a good email service will honor that. And so will you. End of story.
Develop a content calendar with regular communication plans that are of interest to your audiences, not in your best interests. Determine frequently what your readers want to know more about and keep your information focused on their desired subjects.
Keep your newsletters very brief with some interesting visuals. It’s better to communicate just a bit each time but at higher frequencies. Stay top of mind, but don’t bog your readers down with lengthy articles.
Keep your communications light. Employ that sense of humor! Dry, impersonal newsletters will not get opened a second time.
Don’t wait until your newsletters are perfect to start sending them. Make sure you can easily analyze each issue and tweak the content and format from what you learn.
Have fun with your communications, and your audiences will respond.
I’d love to hear from you on any tips you’ve found effective with launching e-newsletters. What’s worked, what’s bombed, and what’s been most surprising?
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