Tips for Creating Effective e-Newsletters

The current holiday season encouraged many small businesses to test out email marketing in 2008. It’s simple, affordable and trackable after all. Maybe you started out with a “thank you for your business” message or you enticed customers with offers for repeat business and referrals. But the idea of creating a consistent e-newsletter to issue on a monthly basis seems daunting.
Well fear not, you can put a surprisingly compelling newsletter together with a small amount of information. In a recent Extreme Email Makeover session that VerticalResponse hosted, we found that many customers are putting too many offers together in a single email and calling them newsletters. The result, nothing stands out, it isn’t clear to the customer what action they should take, and over time recipients stop opening the emails. A great e-newsletter can be created with very basic information that is readily available. The key is a balance of information and offers (remember the “what’s in it for me” factor). Start by testing a newsletter format with 3 content sections and then increase to 5 over a series of a few months. Let your audience decide the right about of content with open and click through rates.

Easy E-newsletter Content Topics:
1) A Message from the Expert- A short paragraph from you to your audience or an introduction that drives recipients to your blog for a feature length article. Consider offering 5 Ways to Improve X in 2009. Include the first 2 lines of copy in your newsletter as a teaser and link to the full story on your blog for the full list

2) Customer Testimonial- A simple quote from a happy customer about how your product or service helped them or fixed a problem, a measurable result achieved, or link to a video testimonial that you host on YouTube.

3) An Offer- Do you have a white paper, discount, or promotion currently running to announce?

4) Event Schedule- Link to the event page on your website or directly to an industry event you plan to attend.

5) Quick Fact- What’s the post popular selling product last month? What do your customers view as the greatest challenge for them next year? Gather important insights and facts with a simple online survey tool and share results in each issue.

The final challenge is committing to frequency so that your audience will come to expect your newsletters. Write your first 3 issues at the same time. Line up 3 customer quotes, 3 notable events worth covering, and 3 facts to share from a single survey. Remember, this month’s event can become next month’s main article. That’s a formula for successful newsletters in 2009.

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