The Five Basics of Effective Newsletters

[Newsletters are a proven marketing tool. Done properly, they can be a very powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. Unfortunately, most newsletter efforts fall short and typically end up in their reader’s circular file. Why? Because they don’t follow the basics of effective newsletters.
We have developed some basic rules when we create newsletters for our clients. The following are what we believe to be the five most important rules of effective newsletter marketing:
1. Have a Plan and a Vision
Your newsletter needs to have a plan and a vision. Without either, it is destined to become a hodge-podge of articles that have no continuity or purpose. Make sure you identify your newsletter’s key audiences and what you want them to do or know. It’s very difficult to build reader loyalty without an understanding of what your readers want.
2. Go Light on the Ego
Your newsletter is a sales tool. But be careful that you don’t toot your horn to the point of arrogance. It’s good to celebrate your product’s/service’s excellence, but try doing it with case studies or client testimonials rather than in the first person. It’s simply more credible this way.
3. Provide Value to Your Reader
Your reader only cares about one thing: “what’s in it for me?” Your newsletter is fighting for your audience’s most precious asset””their time. So, be sure you make it worth their time to read. Give them new information or valuable insights so they will look forward to receiving your next issue.
4. Be Consistent
Hitting deadlines is difficult, but be sure you always meet those deadlines. If you promise a monthly or quarterly newsletter, then be sure that you deliver a monthly or quarterly newsletter on time, every time. What do you think it says about your company if you can’t keep your promise to deliver your newsletter on time?
5. Make It Interactive
Encourage your readers to talk back or ask questions. If you send an electronic newsletter, provide them an easy link to ask questions or provide feedback. If you opt for a traditional printed newsletter, provide an email address, a bounce-back card or a special URL that solicits feedback. And always try to make it a conversation rather than a monologue.
Newsletters are a lot of work. But all this work can translate into powerful brand building results and sales results. Make sure that you incorporate these five basic rules into your newsletter and you’ll have loyal readers for a long time to come.
Until next month…

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