Developing a newsletter, is a valuable way to generate site referrals and deepen customer relationships. Before launching your newsletter, we’ve developed a list of questions to help you begin thinking about how you will create your newsletter:
1. Why are you developing a newsletter? Is it to generate referrals or deepen relationships with current customers and monetize them? It could be a combination.
2. Who is your audience? Use classic segmentation techniques and audience analysis to determine what motivates them. There are free online tools, such as Quantcast, that can help you learn more about your audience.
3. How will your subscriber benefit? Before users subscribe to a newsletter, they need to know what they stand to gain. Are you going to include coupons, tips, informative videos? You need to incentivize your audience before they turn over their e-mail address.
4. How are you going to deliver on your benefits? If your subscribers are digitally savvy shoppers, consider a blend of buying tips and maybe coupons. Or, if you’re a marketing blog, consider summarizing your favorite posts and adding some additional commentary unique to the newsletter.
5. Are there other newsletters you can learn from? Go to your competitor’s websites and see if they publish a newsletter. Before you get too far developing your newsletter, it’s helpful to see what similar companies are doing. While you want to be unique, figure out what is your competition doing right and determine how can you build off of it.
6. How are you going to make it visually interesting? Bogging down your newsletters with large images is not the answer. Create a balance between text and images (typically no more than 400 words per newsletter with 4-5 medium-sized images).
7. What is your newsletter content? Pull from a variety of sources to develop your content. Review all of the recent news and other information from the past several weeks to begin thinking about what you might want to include in your newsletter. Likely, you’re already developing content targeted towards your audience. A newsletter is a great way to tie everything together. Consider showcasing members of your community, such as customers or team members, in your newsletter to add a human touch.
8. How are you going to create your newsletter? There are many newsletter services, such as Constant Contact, that offer templates to build from. While you can outsource a designer to develop a customized template, it will be less expensive to make minor adjustments to existing templates on newsletter service sites. Once you’ve built your newsletter, you can upload your contacts, create your content and start e-mailing away.
9. When are you going to send out your newsletter? Developing a schedule is important to stay on track and be consistent. Typically, newsletters are either bi-weekly or monthly. About.com recommends if your newsletter is focused on a profession (therefore read at work), send it on a Wednesday or Thursday. Or, if your newsletter is typically read at home, send it on a Sunday.
10. How are you going to improve? Are you measuring up to the goals you set in the beginning? If your goal was to drive traffic to your website, go into Google Analytics and look at your traffic sources. If you publish your newsletter through a service (e.g. Constant Contact), they often have analytics tools for you to see how many people downloaded your coupon, or watched your video. Key metrics are bounce (ie your e-mail could not be delivered), spam and open rates. These can be helpful metrics to determine where you can focus your efforts in the future.
Image by Stephanie Hofschlaeger from Stock.Xchng