Newsletter, e-bulletins or mailings, whatever you call them they’re becoming a key part of any good PR and marketing campaign. They’re a chance for businesses to go direct to their customers and share their news, latest products and special offers without using a media outlet. So today we’re sharing our Top 10 Tips to make a great newsletter:
Splurge on a fancy designer or DIY using a service like Mail Chimp. Your newsletter should be in keeping with the rest of your promotional material and website. Pick colours which mimic your branding, reuse logos and images to give it a familiar feel. You’ll want to make it mobile friendly since consumers are increasingly reading their email on tablets and phones. Simple things like making sure that links can be clicked with a finger as well as a mouse and that text is readable without much zooming is essential.
If your clients have previously given you permission to add them to you email database then you’ve got a great starting point. You can link to a sign up form on your website and promote newsletter subscriptions on social media. Manage your customers’ expectations by telling them generally what the newsletter will contain and how often they can expect to hear to from you when they sign up – if they know what they’re agreeing to they’re less likely to unsubscribe later!
3. Keep it short
This is a bulletin, not an essay and one of the key benefits of newsletters is to drive traffic back to your website to encourage new or repeat custom. This means that you shouldn’t be posting long articles but a brief summary and lots of ‘Read More’ links back to your website.
As a general rule, newsletter shouldn’t be more than three or four scrolls, much longer and people start to get bored. If you’re really struggling to condense all of your information, consider using a table of contents and hyperlinking it to the corresponding story below so that readers can skip ahead.
4. Watch your Text : Image ratio
Eye catching images are great to peak your reader’s interest but they shouldn’t dominate the newsletter – not least because a picture heavy newsletter can be a red flag to spam filters. Try a 70:30 text to image split and make sure that all of your images are properly labelled with alt-tags.
5. Subject boxes
An often overlooked aspect of creating newsletters is thinking of a good subject line even though it determines whether your customers will click to open or send straight to trash. Try to keep it short and snappy – no more than 50 characters – and if appropriate to your business and audience consider incorporating emoji’s. Pick the key story from your newsletter and base it around that, keeping it clear rather than creative.
6. Social media
Newsletters are another great platform from which to promote your company’s social media profiles with easy click-through links. You can also let readers share your newsletter stories with their friends and followers on their personal accounts, increasing your reach and finding potential new customers.
7. Have a call-to-action
Prioritise one call-to-action in each newsletter that you really want your customers to follow through, whether that’s making a charitable donation, buying tickets to an event, entering a competition or liking your Facebook page. Everything should be considered an ‘if-you-have-time’ option.
8. Test, test, test!
Once your newsletter is complete send it to yourself and your colleagues to see how the design and layout renders in different email clients. You’ll also want to double check that hyperlinks and any personalisation works correctly.
9. Check your lists
There’s nothing more annoying than designing and sending out a great email campaign and then realising that you’ve forgotten to update your database and need to reissue it. Not only does this take more time, but sending out multiple versions of the same campaign skew your stats. Give everyone involved plenty of time to supply their databases and sign off the final version before you click send!
It’s really important to keep track of how your email campaigns are being received by your customers. Not just in terms of open and click-through rates, but to give you an idea of what stories were the most popular so that you can plan future content and replicate engaging layouts.