How do I start an email newsletter? – 1

Q: We’d like to send out an email newsletter to all our contacts to alert them events in the company and seasonal promotions. We’ve been thinking about this for some time. What would you recommend?

Director
Financial Services Company
South West

A: An email newsletter (or enewsletter) is an excellent way to generate thousands of customer touch points for a relatively low cost. Immediately an enewsletter will bring imminent buyers to the surface, while in the longer term it will give your Champions in potential client companies the support they need to keep championing your services to other colleagues in their company.

In addition, an enewsletter will remind your existing customers what an exciting growing and developing company you are!

The most difficult part of an enewsletter isn’t the technical aspects, which we’ll come to next issue. It’s finding regular news and stories that will interest your readers, so they don’t click the unsubscribe button, or relegate you to the spam folder.

Whether you send your enewsletter weekly, monthly or quarterly there needs to be a balance of stories with appeal to the different sectors of your marketplace. You will also need to avoid proclaiming how good you (companies tend to do this) as readers will quickly tire of this.

All sales meetings are potential stories, as each presents a solution to an interesting and relevant problem. New products are also obviously news. So is a brief how-to for a less understood area of the service you provide.

If you think you’ve got the source material to make an absorbing enewsletter, you need to organise a person to write everything up. They’ll diligently ring everyone to get your stories. They’ll obviously need a time resource to do this, maybe 1 day per issue.

By contrast most company enewsletters fail because there is insufficient management focus on sustaining the journalistic side of production. A sign of this when, say, a weekly enewsletter slips to being a monthly enewsletter, or a monthly publication slips to becoming a quarterly.

Typically an enewsletter will have three stories per issue. If it’s a monthly, you can plan your stories to so that over a quarter, 3 issues, you get 12 articles that cover the full spectrum of your marketplace, so that no customer segment is neglected over the quarter.

You will also need realising around 350-500m words for each story if you’re planning to post it on your website (recommended), as it takes a decent sized substantial article for the search engines to take notice, and give you a better ranking in, say, Google.

Google rewards outstanding content with greater recognition. And 350-500 words plus is what they look for.

Next: How to solve the technical side of starting an enewsletter
© Studio Rossiter 2006

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