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Technology / Email newsletters

Six steps to creating a successful email newsletter

Good newsletters (or ezines) build reputations, plus they inform and attract customers. Best of all, they cost next to nothing. Read on for six steps to creating a successful email newsletter.

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An email newsletter is a piece of correspondence containing (hopefully) interesting insights into your business, which is distributed to your contacts via email on a regular basis. It is a simple and effective way of establishing yourself as an expert and building your list of contacts.

To start, all you need is a working email, a bit of brain power and a handful of interested parties to send it to.

Follow these six steps to help you get you make the most of this powerful marketing tool:

1. Make the commitment

Good email newsletters require time and energy to put together, so ensure you have the necessary resources to get yours going. Nothing says ‘flake’ like an irregular newsletter or one that runs out of puff after a couple of issues.

2. Keep your email newsletter short and sweet

Few people want to spend longer than 5 minutes reading email newsletters, so keep it brief and to the point. Focus on one topic per edition and limit the word count to a maximum of 1,000 per issue. Keep to a set structure each time, e.g. overview (100 words), article (600), bullet points of article’s key points (150), sign off, including a summary of your business and contact information (150).

"Few people want to spend longer than 5 minutes reading email newsletters, so keep it brief and to the point."

Want more articles like this? Check out the email newsletters section.

3. Use ‘you’ not ‘we’ language

Compare:

“Before we ran our management training course for Widgetmasters, they were really struggling with staff retention”

With:

“If staff retention is an issue for you, as it is for many medium-sized businesses, the answer could be in better trained management.”

The first reads like an overblown advert while the second reads like the start of an informative article. So use case studies (i.e. your experience) in an illustrative, rather than literal way, as this is far more reader-friendly.

4. Share your insights

Those cautious about giving away too much information will end up with a far less readable newsletter than those who freely share their knowledge. Yes, you may teach your competitors a trick or two, but it’s preferable to being an unknown expert with valuable information laying dormant.

5. Encourage new subscribers

For your email newsletter to boost your credibility, you need to build subscriber numbers. Good articles are at the heart of any successful newsletter, but there are also practical steps you can take to increase your readership, like asking your existing readers to forward the newsletter to their network. Ensure there’s plenty of upfront information to enlighten those receiving it for the first time. For example, running a slogan at the start helps clarify who you are and what the newsletter’s about.

6. Respect your readers’ privacy

This can easily be covered off via a one-sentence statement expressing that details will not be shared with any third parties. Obviously spamming a loyal readership is a no go – you may get away with the odd survey, but bombard their inbox and you’ll lose readers faster than you can say ‘unsubscribe’.

 

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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