Done well, newsletters can do wonders for your business. In terms of the bottom line, they can attract new business and encourage existing clients to make repeat spends. But outside of that, newsletters are a great way to connect, reconnect, share your news, remind them about you and your services, all the while creating a rapport with your target audience and telling them a little bit more about the story of your company with each new edition.
And that’s the crucial bit – the story, because that’s the currency of building relationships.
But what exactly does ‘done well’ mean?
Read on for our checklist for creating a must-read newsletter.
1.A ‘got to open’ subject line
Inboxes are busy places. If your subject line doesn’t create intrigue, then the delete button will be pressed very quickly. It can be funny, odd, a little confusing, even, but a subject line needs to entice the recipient to read more or your few hundred words of copy won’t see the light of day. So, if you’ve traditionally used titles such as ‘Summer newsletter’, we would suggest using something else, that gives away a little of what they are about to read and will want to read.
2.Looks are (almost) everything
Sorry to say it, but newsletter readers are shallow creatures and will definitely judge a newsletter like a book, by its cover.
Plain blocks of text are not pretty or that easy to read, so make sure your email doesn’t look like a dissertation. Visuals, colours, and an eye-catching font all make for a more inviting read. Don’t worry if you’re not a natural designer – try using a platform such as Mailchimp which offers easy to use design templates.
3.The ‘who cares’ test
Before you type a single word, ask yourself honestly – who cares?
Too often, newsletters are treated as a task to tick off the list rather than an opportunity to tell your audience about something useful and of value to them. If the main point of interest in your email is the lovely new branded cups for your staff kitchen then, I’m afraid, your newsletter has failed the test.
4.It’s a newsletter, not a diary
This is not the place for self-indulgence. Most of your audience is far too busy to spend ten minutes catching up on your innermost thoughts on life, love and the universe…unless of course it culminates in some amazing insights or advice that will benefit them.
Sharing your opinion is fine; journaling to the masses, not so much (I refer you back to point 3) – and we have seen a few of these clangers over the summer!
5.What’s in it for me?
This will be one of the main questions running through the reader’s mind.
Their time is precious so if your newsletter doesn’t offer a golden nugget of information, advice or a freebie/discount, they’re unlikely to open your next one.
Try to give them something they won’t find on your social media channels, so they feel they are getting value from subscribing.
6.Keep it light-hearted
Unless the subject matter or nature of your business makes it inappropriate to do so, try to inject some humour. A fun, entertaining newsletter is more likely to be read to the end.
And despite the advice in previous points, not every item needs to be a killer piece of news or an amazing offer for the reader. Including some ‘behind the scenes’ insights can help convey your business or brand’s personality, making it more personable. So, feel free to tell everyone about your lovely new branded cups – just don’t make it the highlight! You could even offer to give some away to generate some interest.
Reading a newsletter shouldn’t be a passive activity. Encourage your readers to continue the conversation and interact with your brand or business by including a call to action in your newsletter, preferably in the form of a link or a button.
It can be anything from ‘click here for 30% off’, ‘sign up for a free consultation’, ‘learn more’ or ‘follow us on Facebook’ as long as it encourages further engagement.
We love crafting newsletters for our clients and can take care of every element from the text to design, creating your database and send-out, so if it’s a job you’d like taken off your to-do list, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. It was a job Sarah, our founder, wanted off of her list a few years ago and so she started working with a PA to help send it out each month – Sarah wrote the text while the PA put it all into a Mailchimp template and looked after the mailing list. She’s still Sarah’s PA all these years later!