How (Not) To Make A Horrible Newsletter

Death to Newsletters

Whether you’re a small business, large company, sole proprietor or other business owner chances are you’re familiar with the world of email newsletters or at least receive some in your own inbox.  Many business leaders have mixed feelings about email newsletters and often struggle to cobble up content let alone feel confident that their efforts are really worth it.  Whether your company has been utilizing email newsletters since the dawn of time or is just getting started make sure you are taking advantage of this powerful medium and making every newsletter count.  Below is a list of some secrets, tips and tricks to maximize the impact of your organization’s email newsletter service.

  • Start with a real-life story or engaging piece of content that will captivate your reader’s attention immediately.  You have less than fifteen seconds to capture your reader’s eye and what’s in the viewable top third of your newsletter is of prime value.
  • Include several images of faces and close-up images of people’s eyes.  Readers engage with content more often when there is a human component and establish a deeper emotional connection through eye contact.
  • Make it personal! Share stories, testimonials, examples and real content from your actual clients, employees and friends.
  • Insert links and things to click everywhere. Remember, every click is trackable so you can see what your readers are really interested in.  You might be surprised to learn what parts of your newsletter people actually care about.
  • Communicate a deliberate and clear next step for the reader.  What do you want them to do after reading?  What’s the action item required from them?  Know what you want your audience to do before you ever start assembling your newsletter.
  • Make sure your contact information is easy to find within the newsletter; phone, email, mailing address and social media links.
  • Make sure you have branded your newsletter with a good design keeping it fresh, uncluttered and with just the right amount of images.  Also be sure to use the logo, colors and design cues of your business.
  • Insert links to your social networking sites and use the logos and icons of Facebook, Twitter, etc…
  • Find the sweet spot of quantity.  Make sure you don’t have too much or too little content.  Imagine yourself in the shoes of your average reader.  Where are they?  What time of day is it?   What kind of mood are they in?  Write for your readers as if you are one of them.
  • Create clear and rewarding incentives for your readers to forward your newsletter on to friends.  Get your readers in the habit of forwarding your newsletter to others.
  • Make every reader feel like they are part of an elite inner circle.  Each reader should feel special, unique and exclusive.  Create a “VIP” culture within your newsletter.
  • Invent deals and incentives that expire.  Create a positive sense of pressure to motivate your readers to action.  Have an amazing deal but only for the first ten people.  Have a great discount but only for three weeks.  Get creative!
  • Write immediately useful content. Provide information that a reader can apply right away; not necessarily related to your business but just helpful information that’s fun and easy to understand.
  • Create a positive sense of stress; the type of exciting pressure you feel when there is an amazing sale at your favorite department store but only for one day or “while supplies last.”
  • Use simple and catchy headlines like:

“The Biggest Secret of…”

“The Top Five Reasons You Should…”

“Three Things You Can Do Right Now to…”

  • Get in the habit of creating limited incentive deals like:

Free X for the first 50 people

Buy two X’s and get Y for free

Bring 3 friends and you’ll get X for half off

Refer a friend and you both get X

Get X for 50% off for 24 hours only

Get X for 50% this Saturday only 9am – 9pm

  • Send your newsletter out on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning.  Statistics show that this is the best time of the week to send your newsletter.

Remember that most email newsletter services allow you to track metrics after you send your newsletters so that you can quickly see what your subscribers are reading, clicking or ignoring.  Take advantage of this feature and over time you’ll know what kind of content to create for your audience to connect, engage and motivate your readers to action.

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