Publishing a newsletter is not usually a fast or simple task. If you are going to put out a strong newsletter to improve your brand awareness, increase traffic and boost sales, then you need a message that really sinks in.
In order to create a strong newsletter, you need to know who you are looking to appeal to. Talk to your sales team to learn about who your top customers are and what kinds of content, information and questions they have on a regular basis. Look for ways to engage your audience by appealing to the things they care about within your newsletters.
It is important to ask yourself if you even need a newsletter in the first place. There is nothing worse than getting a self-promoting email that clogs up your inbox on a regular basis just because a brand feels the need to write a newsletter. Don’t hurt your brand image with valueless content or obnoxious spamming. Only write a newsletter if you know who you are talking to and what you want to achieve.
Know Your Goals
A sure-fire way to fail is by setting up a vague project that has no real measure of success. Make sure you know what your emails are meant to accomplish, set up deadlines and measure your outcomes. Set up S.M.A.R.T. goals:
- Specific – Avoid generalized terms or vague goals by using specific numbers, defined terms and clear expectations. Rather than making a goal like “increase traffic” or “boost brand awareness,” create specific guidelines that are more like “increase traffic with X% more unique visitors and aim for a bounce rate under Y%.”
- Measurable – By creating a specific goal with a numerical expectation, you will want to make your goal easily measured. Your measurement will help determine if your newsletter has successfully accomplished your goals.
- Attainable – Make sure your goals are something that you can attain as a business. Don’t choose goals that are not within your control.
- Reasonable – Make sure you are choosing goals that are within a reasonable scope for the proposed timeline in order to ensure potential success. Don’t overshoot your potential with wildly optimistic ideas of what you might be able to achieve.
- Timely – Establish clear start and finish dates for a given goal. For bigger goals, set up checkpoints to ensure you stay on track. If your goals are open-ended, you won’t get a good chance to evaluate and adjust your strategies.
A good message is going to stay on target to accomplish your goals. Establishing S.M.A.R.T. goals will help you really nail down what you want to say and help you identify how you can get that message through to your target audience.
Prioritize Your Information
Back as early as 1999, Nielsen put out an article that talked about the importance of prioritizing content so that the most promising choices are the most prevalent. The insightful article points out:
On today’s Web, the most common mistake is to make everything too prominent: over-use of colors, animation, blinking, and graphics. Every element of the page screams “look at me” (while all the other design elements scream “no, look at me “). When everything is emphasized, nothing is emphasized.
But it’s just as bad to make everything equally bland. Or to alphabetize items instead of sorting by importance.
You want to artfully direct your users to the CTAs, links and points that are valuable to them. This concept of prioritizing content is going to work hand-in-hand with segmenting your list, ensuring that specific consumers are getting certain content from your brand. You want to take advantage of where your customers are at in the sales funnel, what they are interested in and where they are located in order to get relevant content into their hands.
Limit Your Newsletter Scope
You need to choose a very specific topic for you
r email that provides a clear direction and is held together with a common thread. Don’t try to cover every aspect of your company within a given email – this will only end in a cluttered and unfocused mess your audience is forced to wade through.
If you are successfully segmenting your contacts, then you are going to find these niche emails much easier to create based on the specific audience you are addressing.
Finally, don’t forget that the fastest and most effective way to get your point across is going to be through visual aids. The brain processes images thousands of times faster than text and most of your audience is going to be comprised of visual learners that will respond better to good graphics. Spend time and money to create graphics, photos and illustrations that are consistent with your branding and add interest to your content. Adding images will increase the likelihood of engagement, while decreasing the speed of bounce rates.
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