I sign up for a lot of digital newsletters. Mostly because I anticipate one of these three benefits from being on that person or company’s list:
1. Receive details on sales and discounts
2. Be entertained or inspired
3. Learn something of value
Most people are like me and will gladly provide their name and email address for at least one of the above benefits.
I’ve written a lot about the reasons WHY an entrepreneur or business should be sending out regular newsletters and today’s article focuses on the 3rd reason provided above – creating information-based newsletters that your subscribers will love.
What To Keep In Mind for Your Newsletter
First, here’s a few tips on what you want to be thinking about as you compose your next email send out. You’ll want to:
– Offer something of value; be informative.
– Lose the sales-pitch, aim to educate instead. Aim for 90% educational content and 10% promotional. (The exception to this rule is if you are a B2C company that sells products where people are signing up to receive special discounts to subscribers.)
– Be personable; let people get to know, like and trust you.
– Be concise.
– Be consistent.
– Use a compelling subject and opening line.
– Adhere to Anti-Spam and CASL laws – ensure it’s easy for people to unsubscribe while using a trusted newsletter service provider.
– Use graphics, headings and white space to make the newsletter visually appealing and easy to read.
So before you dive into writing, it’s important to plan your newsletter to get optimal results.
Here is a summary of the components that should make up your value-driven newsletter:
7 Important Format Components to Include In Your Information-Based Newsletter
1. Begin With a Personal Note
In order to build a “know like and trust” factor with your readers, you want to give them some insight to who you are personally. I’m not saying you have to share what you ate for breakfast that morning (unless nutrition is your business!) but do share something casual or interesting that your readers would love to know more about.
If you feel uncomfortable with sharing personal information, then share what seminars you’ve taken, what books you’ve read, what hobby you’re into – anything so people make a connection that you are a human being just like them!
Include a photo pertaining to what you’re talking about if you can as this enhances the relationship building you want to achieve.
2. Have a Client Showcase/Raving Fans Section
This can be in the form of showcasing new clients or a way to post client testimonials who are your raving fans.
Make this section more than just a couple of sentences – you want this to be more a short case study that details the benefits of what you did for a client and why they are so happy with your product/service.
Have a photo of the client and link to their website so it becomes a win-win scenario and they get good exposure for writing you such a rave review.
3. Include a Feature Article
When it comes to providing something of value to your readers, this should the main feature of your newsletter.
There are a couple of ways to do this and I suggest you give them both a try and monitor your results:
1. Place the full article in the body of the newsletter OR
2. Have just the first couple of paragraphs of the article in the newsletter and then link to the full article that is also posted in your blog. This serves a couple of purposes:
1. Sends people back to your website and
2. The article posted in the blog is great for search engines and can also be posted to your social media sites at the same time.
Be sure to add a note at the bottom of your article inviting readers to repurpose it in their own newsletters or website and/or share it to their social media followers.
Give them a short paragraph that must accompany the repurposed article that provides a call to action for the reader to go to your site and get your free giveaway or sign up for your newsletter.
4. Add a Schedule of Where You Will Be
If you do presentations, talks, webinars, podcasts, demonstrations or anything where the public could come and see or hear you, add this section that details the dates of these events and what you’ll be doing.
If you are wanting to showcase yourself as an expert in your industry, include other events such as attending seminars, high-end coaching sessions or travel destinations.
5. Have a Promotional Section
Just because we don’t want the newsletter to be salesy doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let our subscribers know what we have to offer.
In fact, I highly recommend adding such a section to your newsletter so you don’t become known as someone who ONLY provides valuable content and then when you DO want to promote something, they will leave in disgust! (Yes, I’ve learned this lesson myself.)
So create a section that is either image based or text and image that provides enough information to compel people to click and read more about your offer.
6. Provide Recommendations
This section can be used for you to recommend something you would find of value to your readers. This can be a book, a recipe, a service or product… whatever you wish!
If possible, you can use this opportunity to become an affiliate of the item you are promoting and gain commissions on any sales that might come of it.
7. End With Your Bio/Profile
Conclude your newsletter with a section at the bottom reminding your readers of who you are. Craft a concise “20 second elevator pitch” that speaks to the problems people have that you can solve for them.
Finish with a call to action by contacting you for a free ‘get acquainted’ session or whatever your free offer is.
Many clients shy away from writing a newsletter because they don’t know what to write about. Here’s a suggestion: think about a question a client asked you this week or think about an interesting idea you came across you want to share with your readers.
Start writing down what you want to say – don’t worry about the grammar, just get your thoughts onto paper. Once that hard part is done, then flush out the rest of your newsletter by following the formula above.
Writing a consistent newsletter does take commitment and I know it took me a few years before I got serious with my commitment of delivering valuable content to my readers every Tuesday.
Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.
Visit http://www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE “Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website’s Profitability – 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results”.