In the whirlwind phenomenon known as Social Media, is it still relevant to have a business newsletter? We all know what a newsletter is – it’s that printed newspaper-looking thing that comes out regularly in a university or a company. Did we eagerly wait each time a big pile is plopped at the corner of the hall near the cafeteria? Yes, because we wanted to get the latest news about the homecoming parade or who the muses are in the intramurals. In other words, newsletters attract a certain breed of readers, like ants to sugar, especially if the content is really sweet. Same is the case for email newsletters. Or so we thought.
Let’s go back to the good old days before selfies and share buttons became popular.
It’s 2005 all over again. Newsletters proliferate in inboxes to innocent subscribers not knowing what just plopped in. The email is beautifully done and encourages the readers to share it with their friends. But are they clicking the forward button? Not a lot do. Well, if they can think of one person who could use a new lawnmower or an extra folding bed, why not. Greatly appreciated is that one share.
Why the lack of enthusiasm of sharing? You should train and even encourage your subscribers to respond to what you send out. Or else, you won’t hear from them again. It is probably not because of a lack of anything to say or a question to ask, but simply because they see it as a one-way street. Like talking to a wall – there is no conversation. They don’t say or ask anything. They don’t correct your grammatical errors and they don’t tell you their ideas. On your part, you think you’re doing something wrong. You think it isn’t engaging enough or that there are too few topics that jump off the screen for them to read.
Nowadays, with just one share in social media and mobile apps, you are giving that brand the chance to be seen by thousands of people you did not even know might need that power drill or free car wash for every full tank of gas. Big difference there. Way big!
It all boils down to how well you craft a newsletter – one that will not only entice the reader to go on reading, but will have the eagerness to share what he’s just read.
Email newsletters are still relevant because if you check any of your social media accounts, you will see a plethora of information with a collage of pictures and videos. Yes the material you can read may be worth clicking but in a way, it’s a little bit chaotic. Newsletters give subscribers a sense of order in seeing something they recognize as a need or interest in their inbox. Hey, they signed up for your salad of the week, didn’t they?
So after you get tired of endlessly scrolling down your Facebook feed, you look in your email newsletters and see something that’s worth giving your full attention.
Creatin little masterpieces
So the next question is: How can we create response-inducing emails? Here are a few tips on how to write great newsletters which you can take note.
- Harness the art of headline making
Ah, so many emails, so little time. You have to let them open your newsletter since the title is catchy. So avoid the doomed “Our November Newsletter.” Maybe adding a “Please Share” in your subject could make them click open. It is an order but at the same time a request. In our fast-paced world of email reading, people are looking for a reason to delete your email, so don’t give them one.
- Emails are more hi-tech
Plain text-only newsletters are archaic. So you can make a beautifully designed newsletter in HTML as long as it is easy on the reader’s eyes. He’s dealt with images that are visually straining, so one more of that and your email may not be very attractive. Imagine how they may read your content. And it is a good idea to always put a table of contents on top with hyperlinks. Most readers stop at the first screen. You want them to keep scrolling down.
- The more frequent, the lesser the length
If you send out a weekly newsletter, it should be shorter than a bi-monthly one. If sent on a daily basis, it should be short like maybe a one-line pun. (You get the idea.) Even though you want to keep your subscribers updated with your company, a newsletter that’s too frequent and too lengthy will be too much. It’s like having a sweetheart – we want to be intimate but not too clingy.
- Be personal and casual
No matter what the industry, it’s best to make it personal. Your reader will see a certain human touch to your tone and will make them feel at ease through time. Casual tones can be tricky especially for official announcements or memos. But it’s still more appealing than corporate correspondence talk.
“Even though you want to keep your subscribers updated with your company, a newsletter that’s too frequent and too lengthy will be too much. It’s like having a sweetheart – we want to be intimate but not too clingy.”
Try it out yourself
They say experience is the best teacher so why not try these tips on how to make great newsletters. Sign up for your competitor’s newsletters or your hobbies and favorite clothing store. Try reading their subject lines. Critique their design and take note of their tone. An effective business newsletter is not easy but it creates a bond with your subscribers that even the best strategies in marketing can’t. Now’s your best chance.
Content Happiness Advisor
Annie has 18 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.
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