Don’t Blow It by Forgetting These Eight 'Must Haves' in Your E-Newsletter
I love good e-newsletters from printers and others in this industry—emphasis on “good.” They can be an effective part of your suite of customer communication tools. They can’t stand alone (no one channel can), but if done well, they can help your reputation and grow your audience.
Sadly, I see more junky e-mail newsletters from printers than good ones. These tend to look like ads: all promotion and zero information. Generally, they’re poorly designed. Big, honking graphics with no content. Overuse of the exclamation point. And loads of sales-y come-ons crammed into a small space, like two dozen clowns inside a VW Beetle. Not a pretty sight.
For the sake of your audience, please note the following eight “must haves” when you create your company e-newsletter:
- It must have a template. Readers expect to see article content, your logo and contact information, and other standing elements of your regular newsletter in the same location in each issue. Work with a designer to achieve this.
- It must have relevant and helpful content (i.e., value!) We’ll read what’s relevant or even potentially relevant, but if your main article (post, piece, whatever you call it) has nothing to do with our business, we won’t read it. It cannot just be a promotional e-mail for you. It’s gotta have value or don’t bother.
- It must have your brand identity and contact info. Your logo and tagline (if you have one), location, phone number/s, URL and e-mail. There should NEVER be any doubt who sent this e-mail and who you are.
- It must have an opt-out button. Nothing infuriates me like the inability to unsubscribe from a regular e-newsletter.
- It must have an attractive, professional design. You know how much competition you have, right? Hundreds of e-mails flowing into customers’ inboxes daily. People are time-poor. Keep your e-newsletter short, and for the love of all things graphic, make it attractive.
- It must have visual content. People are influenced by visuals in every marketing message in every channel. Nobody writes about this better than HubSpot. Here’s one of my favorite posts about this.
- It must have personality. This e-newsletter is your chance to stand apart and get noticed. It needs to reflect you and your company. There are so many ways to make it interesting—maybe with videos or podcasts. Use humor if you can pull it off. Showcase team members. Provide seasonal tips if relevant. Have fun with it.
- It must have a permanent home on your site. Thank God for WordPress. It makes updating and editing your site a breeze. Post your e-newsletter to your site, where it lives. Then you send it in an e-mail to your list—I prefer sending a short intro to each post in my weekly e-newsletter—and ask readers to click to read it in full on my site. Then they can comment. Their comments become part of the post. And my issues get archived. Plus, social media shares are fully integrated on the site. Besides, why do all that work—writing and publishing a weekly e-newsletter—if it disappears once you hit “send?”
As an e-newsletter marketer, I still find incredible value in sending weekly posts. Printers can benefit from e-newsletters as well. Remember, they don’t thrive on their own. Integrate them with other tools in your communications kit.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com