The newsletter format is a real stumper, unless you’re used to writing these sorts of things for your small business. Newsletters that are sent by email are far different than the old fashioned kind you used to take to the post office to mail. In some ways, today’s emailed newsletters are a lot easier. Keep these best practices in mind for a successful newsletter that will bring you a lot of return.
The newsletter format needs to be pretty, easy on the eye and contain information your potential customers, (and current customers), want to read. How to go about organizing all of that is easy, you just follow the newsletter template from your emailing service.
Emailing Service Instead of Self Emailing
It doesn’t matter that your customer signed up for your mailing list. A good percentage of them will report you as a spammer to their email service. This is especially true of email services like Hotmail and AOL. They make their report spam button look easier to use than the delete email button, so all those legitimate, hardworking companies like yours get reported as spammers.
Then your company has your domain name classified as a spammer, and it is banned on the Internet. Once that happens, most people will not receive your emails, because their email service trashes those emails. Your customers never get to see your email and they will not find it in their spam folder. This will affect every email you send, not just newsletters. You have become the scourge of the Internet and you did nothing wrong. So, use a mailing service and let them deal with all of that, leaving you protected from that problem and left totally out of it.
The most popular emailing service is called MailChimp. There are lots of reasons this service is so popular. First of all, it is free. They will let you send emails to up to 2,000 people absolutely free.
The other reasons are many, but just a few are:
- They keep you out of trouble with double opt in practices and making sure your newsletter format includes everything that is required by law – such as an easy unsubscribe and your contact information.
- They maintain your mailing list in an easy to use format.
- MailChimp has numerous newsletter templates that you can use, and even modify to meet your needs.
There is a lot there to love over there at MailChimp. I recommend them to all of my clients, especially those who are just starting out in business.
Content for your Newsletter
You’ll need some content for the newsletter format you’ll be using. The template you choose will be your helpful reminder on what you’ll need to put into your newsletter each month.
Photos are a must. You want to include your company logo first, and then add additional clear, large, beautiful photos. Everyone is drawn in by pretty pictures! These additional photos can be professional stock photos, like what is found at BigStockPhoto.com, or photos of the products that you sell. (That BigStockPhoto link will get you up to 70 free professional images on a free 14-day trial. You’re welcome. Full disclosure: I do get a small commission if you do the free trial, however, I’m recommending them because they are the best image service I have ever used.)
You should have teasers from your website like excerpts of your recent blog posts, any new articles that you’ve added and new website pages that your customers will want to see. This is what is going to be your content. These two sentence teasers with a photo and a link to “read more” are what replaces the old fashioned articles that used to appear in a company newsletter.
A very effective item to add to your newsletter format is a coupon of the month, or several of them. You will find that people will always open up your newsletter to see what money savings deals they can receive this month.
Social Media Icons
After that, you’ll need to be sure to include your social media accounts. Make them easy to just click to follow you. If appropriate, have them click to share your newsletter.
Required by Law
Of course, you will need to include your company name, physical address, telephone number and website address. This information is required by law, even if you’re a home business. An easy unsubscribe link that will remove them from the mailing list immediately is also required by law.
See Part Two
Part Two of Newsletter Format – Best Practices for Email Newsletters will come out next week on the WebContentDesign blog. Next week will go into other format areas like what the email subject line should be and shouldn’t be, the best days and time of day to email it and how to get a newsletter done on top of everything else you have to do in a day. Plus, I’ll let you know how to get BLOOM, the popular and beautiful Newsletter Opt-In Pop Up Plugin for free! See you next week.