Make no mistake deciding to send out a business newsletter and getting everything set-up is initially time-consuming but once everything is in place you will find them invaluable. Newsletters are a fast, flexible and cost-effective way to communicate.
They remind customers/clients about the company. When people need your product or service, they’re likely to call one they hear from regularly. Newsletters can inform and educate readers about your field as well as serve to promote new products, highlight employees, share successes and announce upcoming events or promotions.
Here is an overview of things to consider before hitting ‘send’ for that first newsletter:
Don’t send out cold emails. I encourage you to Google the anti-spam laws for your country. In Canada type ‘Canada’s anti-spam laws’ or visit MailChimp.com – their About Canada’s anti-spam law is well written in everyday terms and easy to implement.
If you haven’t started to already you need to build a subscriber base by acquiring the email addresses (with their consent) from both existing and potential customers. Networking events, trade shows, and workshops are one avenue also ……….
- If you’re e-commerce, add an “opt-in for our newsletter” checkbox on your checkout page.
- Have a pop-up window when people visit your homepage
- Place a sign-up box on a strategic area of your site
- Add sign-up options to your social media accounts.
Next what service are you going to use to set-up and send out this newsletter?
People instantly think Constant Contact and while they do offer a lot including good support they charge. Some newbies also find them overwhelming so there is a learning curve to become familiar with their many features.
I recommend starting with a free service, this will provide you with an opportunity to get used to everything and experiment a bit. I often use Mail Chimp for my clients. It is free up to 2,000 contacts and gives me everything I need to send out a professional-looking newsletter. You can also monitor results as in unsubscribes, bounces, open and click rates. Once the template is set-up with logos, branding colors, and a content friendly design all you need to do it is pop in fresh copy and visuals for each newsletter campaign.
AWeber has been gaining a following. It has a large selection of templates and customers often find it easier than MailChimp. It offers a 30-day free trial and then $19/month for up to 500 subscribers.
Next, decide how often you want to send out an email. Weekly is a bit time prohibitive unless you have a staff member who really does it well. Monthly or even seasonal is often enough. If you choose seasonal even if say winter isn’t your busy time send one out anyway. Provide relevant and helpful information to your subscribers and touch on what you will offer in the months to come.
When it comes to what goes into your newsletter –
- Balance your content to be 90% educational and 10% promotional.
- Get creative with email subject lines
- End with one clear CTA (call to action)
- Keep design and copy minimal.
- Make it easy for people to unsubscribe
- Encourage people to forward your newsletter
- Make sure it is formatted for both desktop and mobile screens
- Include the recipient’s name ‘Hi ……….’
Before you hit ‘send to my list’ test it, test it, test it – make sure the copy has no errors, links work and it looks visually appealing but not crowded. Most importantly be certain you haven’t wasted the reader’s time as this is a sure way to have them unsubscribe.
Jill Crossland is a business and marketing consultant who can take your business and social media to the next level.