Launching a newsletter to reach a specific audience should not be a random undertaking. Plan for its success by taking the time, money and energy to generate a newsletter that people would look forward to reading and sharing with their friends or colleagues.
A newsletter may be used for promotional, informational or relationship-building purpose. Regardless of how you intend to use it, you should clearly communicate the orientation of the publication to the reader and stick to that plan. So if you promise news and information don’t bombard the receiver with promotional stuff. The key is to respect the reader by not wasting their time or attention and providing them with relevant content.
Here is some of the best advice on how to develop an engaging, eye-catching and thematically relevant newsletter that serves the reader and your interests as well…
#1 Research Your Readership
First of all, before starting out preparing the content of the newsletter, it is paramount that you know your reader base – what do they want to learn or know about. Explore their psychometric and other demographical details, to find out more about what their online behaviour is, where do they dedicate much of their leisure time in, what their educational level is, etc. When you have a clear picture of what your readers like consuming, go on to produce relevant content that matches their needs and expectations.
#2 Respect Your Readers’ Time
Don’t take for granted that your readers have the luxury of taking their time to read the entire newsletter. If the newsletter is not concise enough to be read within minutes then consider it ending up in the trash folder. Busy people allocate a certain – and usually limited-amount of time to perform certain tasks. A winning newsletter is the one that communicates its content to the reader in 3-5 minutes.
#3 Deliver Relevant and Timely Content
Readers seek practical, useful, relevant and fresh information. Therefore, provide them with newsworthy material and will spark their interests and curiosity. If you are launching a new product or service that would positively transform their lives, then let them know about it in a timely fashion in the newsletter.
Your newsletter can be informative. Show practically how for example technology can help your audience deliver better results and produce more income.
In addition, you can use the newsletter as a means to build relationships with customers. For example, if there are any issues with a specific service or product, then discuss the problem and solution in the upcoming newsletter. This will make clients feel thankful that someone cares about their interests.
#4 Decide how Often to Publish
At this stage, you have time to determine the frequency of publication. Newsletters need to be sent on a regular basis so that people know when to expect them. If your newsletter comes out too often, the reader’s interest will diminish or they will start considering it as spam, even if they willingly signed up for the newsletter.
Don’t rush to publish your newsletter immediately and frequently. Start out slowly, ensuring there is enough time allocated to make it well-read and engaging. A good approach is to start out quarterly and then move to bimonthly. People rarely complain about receiving useful news too often.
#5 Take Advantage of Metrics
One of the best advantages email newsletters have over their printed counterparts is metrics. With email newsletters you can have measurable figures on whether the newsletter went straight to the recycle bin or if the recipient liked its content so much that he shared it to friends. Use metrics and analytics to identify key trends about how many people received the email, how many "bounced" because of a bad email address, how many people opened the newsletter, how many forwarded it to friends, and more. Of course, there is no point relying on analytics to identify potential problems without taking the right measures to correct them.
#6 Make Unsubscribing Easy
Provide receivers a ‘way out’ in case they don’t want to receive the newsletter for whatever reason anymore. There’s no point in emailing people who are not interested in your content any more. If your content is no longer relevant to them, let them unsubscribe easily. Making it hard will likely only lead to complaints of spam and leave people with a bad impression of your company.
#7 Don’t Assume that Images Will be Viewable
Usually emails in Outlook or Gmail do not display images by default. To view the images, receivers have to click a link or button to download. Many people might not realise they can choose to show images, and some just won’t bother. So you can’t assume that people will actually see your images at all. In order to deal with this issue try getting recipients to add you to their address book or whitelist. You can also specify height and width for images to ensure that the blank placeholders don’t throw your design off.
All in all, email newsletters are a key part of a marketing strategy and it is growing into a powerful business model. Delivering to-the-point and engaging content, in a timely and consistent fashion as well as delivering an excellent user experience are the best principles that will likely guarantee the effectiveness of your email newsletter.