February 19, 2013
There’s no doubt that an e-newsletter can be a fantastic business tool, if done well. The problem is that far too many company newsletters don’t do anything for the business concerned, because no-one reads them.
Here are some simple DOs and DON’Ts to help you create the perfect newsletter - one that actively promotes your business and doesn’t become just one more piece of inbox clutter.
Don’t: Plan the content by asking ‘What’s happening around here?’ There’s no surer way to lead people to the unsubscribe button than to proudly announce a rebrand or office makeover.
Do: Ask ‘What will readers be interested in, and how can I help them?’
Don’t: Treat the newsletter as a sales tool. If people sign up to a newsletter, they don’t expect constant sales messages.
Do: Give people reasons to buy from you. Demonstrate your expertise, be helpful, show you would be good to work with. If you want to include special offers, write an article that leads naturally into the offer.
Don’t: Worry about giving away free expertise.
Do: Give helpful hints and tips. ‘How to’ articles are always popular, and are a great way to show you know what you’re talking about and so give people confidence in your business.
Don’t: Include long and detailed articles. People won’t read them, no matter how good the information.
Do: Keep content concise, and make it easy for people scanning the screen to find what’s of interest. Break text up into short paragraphs, with sub-headings and bullet points. Link short newsletter pieces through to more detailed content on your website for those who want more information.
Don’t: Describe your products and services.
Do: Include industry trends and statistics. Subscribers value insider information. And give an opinion – informed comments will earn you credibility.
Don’t: Talk about irrelevant staff activities. The MD’s Macchu Picchu trek might have been a life-changing experience, but your subscribers aren’t going to read about it when they have fires to fight and deadlines to meet.
Do: Explain your work with customers. Give case studies that show how you helped people solve problems; describe creative ways customers are using your product to make business improvements.
Stop thinking of your newsletter as a ‘company newsletter’. If you see it instead as a ‘customer newsletter’, where could that take you?
Posted by Jenni Malley
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