One of the biggest problems with newsletters is that they don’t have any appeal to their readers! Who cares if the CEO is shown on the front cover with his suit buttons straining over his more-than-ample paunch? Or a photo of a boring meeting is regurgitated?
In most cases, newsletters are written by people who draw the ‘short straw’ and who don’t understand how to write ‘reader-based’ newsletters – they simply write from a bunch of notes without giving a hoot about their target audience.
What a waste!
Client newsletters build customer loyalty, while corporate newsletters are a brilliant tool for building staff morale and keeping staff informed about the latest developments within the organisation. Here are some tips to get your newsletter on the ‘best-seller’ list:
Before you start, consider the following:
- Who is my target audience? What do I know about them? (Who will be reading the newsletter?)
- What do I want to achieve from this newsletter? (e.g. to build customer loyalty; to enhance team morale; to inform staff of new developments in the company.)
- What subjects will be of interest to my readers? (Office News; Customer Tips; New Products; Employee Achievements.)
- How can I get my readers to supply information for the newsletter? (Reader involvement builds reader interest).
- What language is appropriate? (A newsletter for a Squash Club would use more casual language than one for financial planning clients).
- What layout is appropriate? (Choose a layout that is compatible with your software and develop a template, so that future newsletters will have the same “look”.)
Providing an email newsletter for clients or staff is both cost and time effective. It also shows that you’re a leading edge organisation.
Here are a few tips to make an impact:
- Develop templates in both HTML and text formats so that your readers can choose a format to meet their needs. Some may choose speed of download (text) while others prefer visual elements such as graphics, colour and variety of fonts (HTML).
- The template should include design elements, title, section headings and any other static information such as subscribe, unsubscribe and contact information. This allows you to simply paste in content into the template.
- Use a fixed width font such as Courier New to ensure your newsletter looks the same to your readers as it does to you. Variable width fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial can provide nasty surprises in the formatting.
- Separate newsletter sections with white space or design elements such as boxes or colours.
Tips for a brilliant newsletter:
- Use headlines and sub-heads to direct the reader
- Add a separate box on the front which shows the contents
- Use colour to create immediate impact
- Use photos to make the articles more personal
- Put a caption under each photo
- Use simple, everyday language suited to the audience
- Use a simple two or three column layout to increase readership
- Use the present tense and second person “you” in the copy
- Involve the readers by asking them to contribute stories/articles
- Write more than you need and then Edit! Edit! Test! Test!
Okay, so you’ve written an amazing newsletter. Now, what do you do?
Design a simple survey to send to readers to ask for their feedback (both positive and negative), as well as suggestions for content and material for articles, interesting photos (conferences, training sessions, etc.), brain teasers and other information.
Measure your responses, so that you’ll know what your target audience want to read in the next newsletter. Keep in touch with your clients to build your relationship with them…and to build your business.
Are you all fired up to start your own newsletter now? Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of tips? We’d love to hear from you.