As a regular newsletter writer I love the word to ‘schmooze’. Not only does it roll off the tongue nicely, but I like its connotations – 'to network or to have a close conversation'. And that’s exactly what newsletters are all about. They give you a chance to let your customers and prospects (or even your employees) know that you are thinking about them and to fill them in on what is important to them.
And that’s the key. Too many company newsletters focus on what is happening within the business, and not what is important to their audience. By all means tell them you’ve won an industry prize or got a new website, but balance it out with information that will be useful or interesting to them. If your newsletter just feels like a trumpet blowing exercise then your audience is less likely to open the next one.
How to schmooze your news…my top five tips for a successful newsletter
1. E-newsletter or hardcopy?
These days most junk mail comes straight into our inboxes rather than our letterboxes. That’s why we’re seeing an increasing return to printed newsletters. Of course, they are a lot more expensive to produce and post, but if you have the budget and the addresses in your database, then I’d highly recommend a hard copy format. If done correctly it will really make your audience sit up and take notice.
2. Don’t spam
Tempting as it is to buy a database, borrow someone else’s or add random email addresses to your subscription list – DON’T. You’ll do your reputation more harm than good by emailing people who don’t know you and don’t want to hear from you.
3. Use your newsletter to drive people to your website
Add links wherever you can from your newsletter to your website. Hopefully your readers will click a link and then take the opportunity to have a nose around your site. A newsletter without links is a massive missed opportunity.
4. Make it look professional
Professional newsletter systems like Mail Chimp and Dotmailer are fantastic, but they can still look quite amateur if they're not designed properly. Your newsletter might be the only contact a prospect has with your business, so you want it to impress. If design is not your forté and you’re struggling to make the templates provided look good, then ask a design agency to help you. It’s a one off piece of work and doesn’t cost the earth. Sozo did mine for me!
5. Measure your success
If you’re using a professional mail system, then make the most of the report information provided. Keep a note of which articles people found most interesting, what days of the week got the best open rates and which subject lines were the most successful. That way you can test and adapt your newsletter accordingly.
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