Do’s and Don’ts of Electronic (Email) Newsletters
Benefits Of Electronic Newsletters
- Provides an opportunity to regularly make contact with clients/prospective
- 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
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
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.