If you’re on one or more online mailing lists, you probably receive periodic e-mail newsletters. Youmay also find some of them more inviting than others—because the good ones feature engaging content, are relevant to your life, offer useful advice and information, or a combination of the foregoing. The others likely make their way posthaste to your deleted box.
Read on for practical advice on getting the most out of newsletters, and avoiding the epidemics of non-reading and auto-deletion.
Stay in touch with people on your mailing list. What do current and potential customers want to read about?
If you know any of your customers or clients personally, raise the subject of your business’s newsletter and solicit their opinion. Chances are that if one of more newsletter recipients is keen to hear more about a particular subject, product, or aspect of your business, other people on the mailing list will be interested in the same thing.
Once in a while, it may also be a good idea to include a brief survey in the newsletter, seeking feedback on particular items and articles. The results won’t necessarily illustrate what all of your readers are looking for (since those readers inclined to fill out surveys aren’t necessarily representative of your entire readership), but they should give you a good idea of what’s working and what isn’t.
Punchy subject line and title lines.
Seek out the most compelling piece of information from the newsletter to form your e-mail’s subject line. The titles that link to articles in the newsletter also need to be eye-catching in order to entice would-be readers to click on them. Aim for brevity and impact.
Quality content from elsewhere.
No one has a monopoly on good ideas, and in the blogosphere, there is no such thing as a monopoly on quality content. Keep an eye on blogs and news related to your industry, and share posts and information you feel will resonate with your readership and enhance your business’s reputation. If your company enjoys positive press coverage, link to that too. (However, keep descriptions short and avoid penning wordy, self-congratulatory articles. Most people won’t read past the first couple of sentences.)
The internet is evolving rapidly from a stationary medium to a roving one, and your newsletter must be versatile enough to accommodate the shift. Concentrate on economizing words, and developing content that delivers the core message without undue delay. Break lengthy paragraphs down into brief, digestible segments. Use a large font for titles and sub-headings, and aim to make each less than ten words long, if possible.
Finally, preview your newsletter on a computer and on a mobile device before you disseminate it. Make sure it reads well, and that there is no need to scroll horizontally in order to read all or most of the content in each article. The internet is full of well designed websites and online publications, and horizontal scrolling irritates some people enough that they may be tempted to move on after just a few seconds.
Choose a time of the month, week, or every two weeks to distribute the newsletter, and stick to it. If the content you offer is worth reading, then the people on the mailing list will look forward to the next issue, and some may even set aside a few minutes to peruse it when it comes out. You can show respect for their time by releasing new editions right on schedule.