With our last blog post, we talked about building our distribution lists. One valuable way to capitalize those lists is with a company newsletter. We want to share some tips on starting a company newsletter.
Start with a Strategy
Like most business ventures, a newsletter needs planning in order to be effective. Below are things we’ll want to consider as we start our newsletter.
Identify Our Target Audience
The target audience is with whom we want to share our newsletter. Our target audience could include clients, prospects, staff, vendors, partners, news media, government, and more, but it’s important to be specific. “Everybody” is not our target audience. We want to share our content with an audience that is going to be interested in what we have to say.
Consider Key Messages
Once we have clearly defined our target audience, we should think critically about what we want to share with them. Newsletters can have multiple messages. It could be a mix of sales and informational. Whatever we decide to say, we want to be intentional about the messages we’re sharing. Let’s be sure to think what messages are most likely to resonate with our target audiences.
Set Goals for the Newsletter
It’s important to think about what we want to get out of our newsletters. How do we want our audience to interact with them? Maybe we want people to engage with our newsletter or website by clicking on call-to-action buttons. Maybe the goal is to get visitors to our website from our newsletter. Or maybe we want people to buy something from us, or to make a donation. Having specific goals helps us tailor our newsletter to meet those goals. It also gives us a way to track the effectiveness of our newsletter, which brings us to our next point.
This is how we will measure the success of our newsletters. Our milestones should correspond to our goals. Depending on our goals, we might track actual sales numbers. We might track open and click-through rates to see how people are engaging with our newsletter. Another milestone might be expanding our distribution list or getting new clients.
Create a Content Strategy
Next, we have to think about where we are going to get content and how it will be included in the newsletter. We could use our newsletter to share new products or services, or offer tips on how to get the most out of our products or services. We should definitely consider repurposing old content.
The key to making a newsletter work for our business or organization is creating a manageable content structure. We want our newsletters to be informative and engaging, but not overly time-consuming to produce.
Determine Publication Schedule
Publication schedules vary depending on the needs of the business or organization. Our publication schedules might change as we begin to develop value from email marketing. When publishing a newsletter, we never want to publish less than quarterly. Ideally, we could publish a monthly newsletter, but we could publish weekly, or even more frequently, depending on our content and messaging.
It’s important to select a predictable publication schedule. If we want to publish monthly, we might decide to publish on the first Monday of the month. Sticking to a regular schedule makes our email communication more consistent and lets our audience know when to expect our newsletter. (Monitoring open rates can help us know if when we send our newsletter is actually the best time to send that newsletter.)
Choose an Email Marketing Platform
Once we’ve created a strategy for our newsletter, it’s time to decide how we want to send it out. We might use an email marketing platform like Mailchimp, ConvertKit or Constant Contact. Many email marketing platforms offer free basic versions of their services too.
When it comes to selecting our email marketing platform, we want to consider what it will cost to get started compared to what it will cost us later on. Some services might offer a discounted startup cost, but heavily increase the cost after a certain period of time. Unfortunately, once we’ve started with a service, it can be difficult to switch to another. So, we want to be mindful of our costs and how they might change in the future.
Select and Refine a Template
Building and designing templates for emails is a complicated business, so we’re better off relying on our email marketing service to get the template right. We definitely want to customize the template, however, to fit our brand.
Add Content to the Newsletter
Our content strategy from above should help us find good content to share with our audience, but there are some other must-haves when it comes to our newsletter. We want to make sure our newsletter includes:
- a mix of information and sales or donation requests.
- images that relate to content of the newsletter.
- links to our website.
- “Unsubscribe” links. (This is an absolute must. We want to give our audience a way out, if they want it.)
Proof-read and Test
It’s important to proof-read and test our newsletter before we send it out. We want to test the visual layout of our newsletter on different devices. We might send a test email and open it from a phone, a tablet, and a laptop to see if there are formatting issues on any of the devices. A test also helps us ensure that images load correctly, alt tags are accurate, and links work properly.
Starting a Company Newsletter: We Can Help
Are you and your colleagues interested in starting your own company newsletter? Let us help! We’d love to work with you to create an email marketing strategy and find ways to make the most out of your newsletter.Let’s Get Started