Some days, it seems like social media has taken over the world and become the one and only way to reach your customers. I totally disagree. Newsletters are still relevant and effective for three reasons:
- Newsletters arrive in your customers’ email inboxes, where they at least have to look at the sender and subject line before reading the email or hitting delete.
- If you include graphics and short headlines, newsletters are easy to skim quickly.
- As long as you send them regularly, newsletters will keep your business at the top of your customers’ minds. When the time comes for them to make a purchase, they’ll think of you first.
To tap into the power of this time-tested marketing method, follow these best practices to create a newsletter that your audience will find valuable:
Keep It Short
Three short, useful articles are more than enough. And I do mean short—one paragraph is plenty. If you have more to say, turn the content into a blog post and include a link to it in your newsletter.
Skip the Intro
An intro is essentially just a bite-size preview of the newsletter, but you don’t need to tell readers what to expect if your newsletter is already short and easily digestible.
Focus on Headlines
Spend time writing headlines that will grab readers’ attention. You could label sections as “Quick Tips,” “Must-Have” or “Can’t Miss” lists, or—if it fits your brand—something irreverent or clever.
Keep the Best Info Up Top
Whether it’s a promotion for a special event, new product announcement, or limited-time offer, put your most interesting or useful article at the top of the newsletter to make sure it gets read.
Make Newsletter Subscribers Feel Like VIPs
Share information in your newsletter that’s not available anywhere else, such as early access to new products and services or special newsletter-only discounts.
Images—especially pictures of people—draw readers in, so be sure to include some high-quality images that are related to what you’re writing about. It’s even better if you can use your own images rather than relying on stock imagery.
When you’re ready to step up your newsletter marketing, you’ll want to consider using an email-marketing program to coordinate your distribution. I’ve used a variety of programs over the years, and my top three favorites—in no particular order—are Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Vertical Response. How about you? What email marketing programs or content strategies do you use?
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Monika Jansen is a copywriter and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, website content, and other marketing materials for her clients, who tend to be startups and professional service providers. She is a blogger for GrowSmartBiz and the managing editor of UberStories. You can follow her on Twitter (@monikacjansen) or find her on LinkedIn.