August 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
E-newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with your clients and potential clients. They can build relationships with an audience who’s already shown interest in your company or field. They’re also economical and easy on the environment.
The key: Make your e-newsletter relevant and reader-friendly.
Format and content are equal partners here. How you present the information has as much effect on engaging the reader as the information itself.
• Attention spans are shrinking, so use brief, clear headlines and short articles.
• Photos, graphics and color add visual interest and can create a particular vibe or feel.
• Use a clean layout and a good balance of short chunks of text with visual elements. Allow space between groupings to avoid a crowded appearance.
• Near the top, it’s important to have two items: social media buttons so readers can share your info with a single click; and a hyperlinked list of contents so they can easily navigate to topics of interest.
• Overall, length should be inversely proportional to frequency. For a weekly newsletter, 2-3 articles is enough. A semiannual or quarterly communication, like the Mississippi Airports Association Flyer, can cover more ground.
• If offering multiple articles, consider making your email simply a preview of the content that links to the full newsletter on your website, as we do for Mississippi State University’s Adkerson School of Accountancy.
• Consider how what you have to offer meets your audience’s interests or needs. Good topics are tips & advice, industry news and coming events. A Mississippi State accounting alumnus, for instance, might see opportunity in the Adkerson School of Accountancy’s report on graduate recruiting events. You can also have regular sections like a product feature.
• Use a casual tone. Even if your corporate image is buttoned-down and formal, this is the place to show readers an approachable, human side. You don’t have to create a false folksiness – just be real.
• Keep it informational, not promotional. It’s fine to mention a product or service that relates to the material, but this isn’t the format for a hard sell.
• The subject line is vital. Readers decide at a glance what they can delete from their crammed inboxes without reading. A topic like “5 Money Skills Your Kids Can Learn” might be an attention grabber for many bank customers. For members of an organization, the group name itself can be a hook. Keep it brief so no words are cut off in the inbox screen.
• Engage readers with a call to action – tell them how to learn more, or submit their own contributions. You can include a special offer exclusive to newsletter readers.
Have you received an effective e-newsletter? Tell us about it!