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Do’s and Don’ts of Electronic (Email) Newsletters

Benefits Of Electronic Newsletters

  • Provides an opportunity to regularly make contact with clients/prospective clients
  • Keeps your name out there
  • Builds awareness/name recognition
  • Builds trust with your readers
  • Reminds people you are still in business
  • Possibly attract some clients
  • No printing or mailing costs
  • Give something for free (your expertise) to readers (which everyone likes!)

Determine Your Level Of Commitment

Writing newsletters involves a lot of commitment. It takes time to do the research for articles and tips that I include in my newsletter. Decide whether you can afford the time to do a newsletter quarterly, monthly or weekly.

Collect Email Addresses

Probably one of the easiest is your current database of email addresses. You probably already have current and prospective clients' email addresses. You could send out an introductory email letter about your newsletter to your list to see if anyone would like to subscribe.

Format

You need to determine in what format you will send your newsletter. There are several options available:

  • Type your newsletter (or copy and paste) directly into the body of the email – this will limit you on the amount of formatting available
  • Create pdf or word attachment documents. Pdf’s will allow more formatting. For those that would like to do this, see April 2004 newsletter’s tip for creating pdf’s. Pdf’s and word documents can be quite large when sending through as an email attachment. There is also more chances that readers will skip opening it up and reading the content.
  • Create your newsletter in html and then send the newsletter through your browser. (Contact Sue Studios for help setting this up).
  • Purchase newsletter creation software.

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Content

Emails tend to be more informal than in printed newsletters. So if you want to write it as if you were talking to the reader that would be acceptable.


Tips on collecting content for newsletters

  • As far as content, it depends on what you do. Think about what it is your readers would like to read.
  • Ask your readers what they would like to see.
  • Use questions from present clients as a basis for articles.
  • Include articles from colleagues, employees, or others (with permission).
  • Keep an ideas list of potential articles. When the time comes to write your newsletter you will at least have a starting point.
  • Read other email newsletters, especially in your particular field. It might help to generate some potential articles of your own.
  • If you feel like it is a strain or you are too busy with other work, skip writing for 1 issue. Your readers will come to expect hearing from you regularly, so let them know in advance if you plan on skipping an issue.
  • Write your newsletter in stages. Write some of it each week. Get a rough draft done and the final polish can be done a day or two before you send it out.
  • Plan your content in advance (at least 3 months) - it will save you time when it comes to writing it.

Tips for content format and design

  • Be consistent in formatting your newsletter. Don't do a 3 page PDF file one month and an 8 paragraph text email the next. Work out what you want your newsletter to achieve and write with that in mind. For example Sue Studios has the following format:
    • News on The Universal Healing Network
    • Featured Article
    • Tip of the Month
    • New Websites
    • Success Stories / Testimonials
    • Referral Program
    • Events
    • Suggestions

  • Design Scannable Newsletters. As with website content, write your newsletters so that they are scannable. We all receive lots of emails and readers are very discerning about what they will spend time to read. Make the text easy to scan by:
    • Including a table of contents at the top of the newsletter. Readers will be able to scan the topics to see if anything in the newsletter catches their interest.
    • Using short paragraphs.
    • Using bullet points.
    • Including plenty of white spacing between topics.
    • Highlighting topics with uppercase or bold text in HTML newsletters.
    • Inserting line breaks.
    • Content width - Line length of 60/65/70 characters or in html newsletters a width of 500-600 pixels for your content. (If you need help with this, please contact Sue Studios.)
    • Fix Long Links - Long hyperlinks may be broken when you format emails using hard line breaks at 60/65/70 characters per line. To fix this problem, deselect word wrap after you have inserted the carriage returns. Then manually edit the links to ensure they are on one line. When the email is sent, a link may still wrap onto two lines. But now it will be clickable.
  • Include ONE “Remove From List” Link. Include a removal notice at the very bottom of the email. Avoid using the word "unsubscribe" in your removal notice. Some spam filters flag emails containing that particular word as possible spam. The reason is many spammers now offer "unsubscribe" functions that don't actually do anything.
  • Avoid Spam Filters That Flag Chain Letters. Some spam filters are flagging emails that asks readers to forward the newsletter on as chain letters. Avoid using the word "forward" and any of the following words in the same sentence, "all, anyone, every, friends, many, others, people." Instead of "forward," try using "pass," "share," or "send."
  • The Subject Field. Include your newsletter title at the beginning of the subject field, followed by the most enticing story of that issue. This will help the reader differentiate your newsletter from junk emails. It is also an opportunity to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Spell Check Your Writing. Always spell check your newsletter.

Post Newsletters To Your Website

Post your newsletter on your website - another opportunity to attract traffic. You can also promote your newsletter on several sites that list other free newsletters.

Don’t Give Or Sell Your List To Anyone

If you want to keep your subscribers' trust, don't give or sell your list to anyone unless all your subscribers have agreed. And remember when sending that newsletter to BCC everyone so that others in your list can not obtain those addresses.

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