How to start an e-mail newsletter – part 1

By | October 27, 2010

Written by Debbie McNeill

Edited by Glenda Trexler

Newsletters are an excellent communication tool for any business owner, but especially for a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator. They help communicate your image, connect with customers and prospects on a different level, provide value to readers, and communicate any promotions and product offerings – keeping customers up to date. My mentor, Ali Brown, once said

“It’s not your customers responsibility to keep up with your business”.

And that is so true.
Here’s how to create a newsletter to build your business:

Step 1. Decide frequency. How often do you want to publish your newsletter? Remember each issue involves a few hours of preparation including creating the content. Establish a schedule you know you can keep up with. It is always easier to add supplemental issues or increase the frequency however decreasing the frequency can give a poor impression. Monthly, quarterly, weekly are all options. I offer a weekly and monthly newsletter to my customers. The monthly newsletter is the DBWS newsletter, but most of my subscribers select the weekly newsletter as that one has more content. I found that my open and click-thru rates increased when I went to a consistent weekly schedule.

Step 2. Email/print? How are you going to distribute your newsletter? There are benefits to both. Email is very cost effective and instantaneous. Print is nice because it gives something tangible for customers to hold onto.

Step 3. Email Publishing Services. If you’re going to email your newsletter, consider paying for an email publishing service. There are many available online. They offer newsletter templates, enable you to design the newsletter yourself, and manage the list subscriptions, unsubscribes, track your opens and click-thrus and enable you to create many newsletters at once and schedule them in advance. The price for services vary however many base their prices on the number of subscribers.

Step 4. Sign-up Box. If offering an email newsletter, don’t forget to add a signup form on your website. This not only increases traffic and visitor value, it helps build a list of contacts and customers.

Step 5. Advertise. Let people know about your newsletter. Include a link to your subscription form in all email communications, signatures, and even consider adding it to your business card, brochure, and other marketing materials.

Step 6. What is it About? What is your newsletter going to be about? Now it’s time to get down to business. What are you going to include in your newsletter? Some newsletters have a single article and a promotion. Some newsletters have just one sample, once a week. Others have 3-5 articles and an equal amount of promotional content. My rule of thumb is to have a newsletter contain 80% informational content and 20% promotional content on average. Think about what are your articles are going to be about? Will you write them or will you hire a writer? Consider what types of content will add value to your readers. What questions or problems do they have? Take a look at newsletters you like and consider why you like them

Step 7. Graphics.
Graphics are an excellent way to make a newsletter visually interesting. Options include adding a logo or a header from My Digital Studio to each newsletter as well as including card samples, graphics, and even personal photos within the newsletter. Your DBWS is a great source of photos if you don’t have time to include your own. Class in a Flash membership offers several photos.

Newsletters are an excellent tool to both market to and connect with your customers and prospects on a regular basis. The key to a newsletter that works is to first focus on providing quality content on a regular basis.

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