Follow these and you won't go far wrong with your newsletter. Some are old, some are new, some are borrowed...you get the picture.
- Remember who you are writing for. Your newsletter must be about your intended audience, not about yourself. Every client is tuned to WIIFM - What's In It For Me.
- Make it useful. People don't have time to waste on something that's not going to help them.
- Add personality. This is your chance to connect with your clients - even if you can't see them face-to-face.
- Make an offer. Give them a reason to come back - make a product or service offer they can't refuse.
- Don't forget the contact information. You need them to find you again, right? Include your contact info at least twice.
- Concentrate on the headlines. Without a good headline, your article won't get read. Period.
- Take care with images. Use high-quality images if you are printing. Otherwise you'll look cheap.
- Keep to a schedule. Don't start a newsletter program and then give up. A regular drip, drip is what builds a relationship.
- Match your brand. Make sure your newsletter reflects who you are. If you are upscale, make your newsletter upscale. If you want to project a personal, friendly image, reflect that in the design.
- Use the local copy shop. Don't try to print thousands of newsletters on your own printer. Take them to a photocopy shop. It will be cheaper and easier in the long run.
- Do it often. Send a newsletter at least once a month so they don't forget you. And, if you can, contact your clients using other methods in the weeks between newsletters.
- Reuse your content. Don't waste articles - paste them on your blog or your website. Or send them to local publications.
- Do an advertising swap. Partner with a non-competing business and offer to swap advertisements so you can leverage each other's client list.
- Spell-check it. One or two errors is cute. More and you'll damage your brand.
- Distribute wisely. Don't scatter your newsletters everywhere. Instead, choose locations that are frequented by your prospects.
- Always be signing up. Whenever you are in touch with a prospect or client, encourage them to sign up for your newsletter. Promise they won't be spammed or junk mailed.
- Don't use long words when short ones will do. There's no need to impress in your newsletter. Instead, just try to communicate. Write like you talk - this isn't an English literature assignment.
- Carry some copies with you. You never know when you're going to meet someone. A newsletter makes a great business card.
- Include your picture. Faces attract, and you'll help your relationship with your client.
- Add quizzes and puzzles. People love crosswords and sudokus - they'll keep the newsletter around the house longer so they get the puzzle done.
- Let your clients speak. Include testimonials and reader success stories. Not only will you be adding an extra voice to your newsletter, but you'll be proving the success of your product or service.
- Have a sign-up box on your website. Give visitors a chance to sign up, and offer a free special report or a discount as a "bribe" for doing so.
Thanks to Brian Clark at Copyblogger for getting me going on this. Also see my post on headlines for more uses of Cosmopolitan!
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