Success takes planning
Do you publish a company newsletter? If so, why? Did you see the potential benefits of publishing a newsletter:
- lead generation,
- building and maintaining relationships, and/or
- establishing thought leadership?
Maybe you realized that newsletters provide a low-cost, instantaneous channel to engage your list. That newsletters provide another channel to publish your quality content. In fact, newsletters leverage, rather than compete with, other assets in your strategic content marketing plan.
Yet, after months or even years of effort, you might not be reaping the benefits you sought. Why? The most important thing about a company newsletter is consistency.
As with all content marketing, consistency counts. Inconsistency in a newsletter campaign takes on several forms:
- if your delivery days and intervals vary,
- if your design, layout, and format changes with each edition, and/or
- if your content isn’t consistently engaging and educational.
If your newsletter isn’t consistent in deliver, design, and content, you may be missing out.
What’s the solution? You need to take action and make a plan!
Newsletter campaign planning
A newsletter campaign plan will help you establish and maintain consistency. Get your team together and thrash out a plan! (You can develop your own plan using the free checklist you’ll find here.)
It’s as easy as A B C:
- Newsletter Delivery and List Management
- Newsletter Design and Layout
- Newsletter Content and Tone
Let’s get started!
A. Newsletter Delivery and List Management
Publishing frequency- monthly, weekly – and the day you publish
The frequency at which to publish your newsletter is critical to success. Monthly is generally considered a minimum to maintain interest and build a relationship. Less than that and you start losing readership because they forget who you are and why they subscribed.
If you have more than one audience you might think about sending two shorter, distinctively different newsletters each month. This would allow you to tailor each issue to a particular group.
Address the newsletter will be sent From and the email address the Reply will be sent to
People only open emails from people or groups they trust. Set up an email address that the newsletters will be sent From, preferably a person and with your company URL – firstname.lastname@example.org. To increase engagement, have any replies to the newsletter delivery email come to a designated email inbox. Reply to all comments and suggestions.
Information you collect at sign up
Keep your newsletter sign-up form simple. All you really need is their email address, but a first name is nice too. Just be aware that if you ask for too much information you risk scaring people away potential.
When people do sign up, what happens on your end? Develop a procedure for new subscribers. Establish who maintains the subscriber list and how is the information you collected at signup is incorporated into your list.
Draft up a welcome message for new subscribers. Thank them for signing up and tell them what to expect, such as a confirmation email or a download link. Ask new subscribers to add you to their contact list to avoid landing in their spam folder. Include a prompt asking your reader to forward a sign-up link to a friend.
B. Newsletter Design and Layout
Great design plays a big part in improving open and click-through rates. Your design should:
- be clean and easy to digest,
- complement the content and your audience,
- include attractive and engaging graphics and photos, and
- have a clearly visible and actionable CTA.
The design of the newsletter will incorporate the name, tagline, and recurring sections.
Newsletter name and tagline
The name of your newsletter is important. You want it to be memorable and catchy, while telling readers what it is about. You are trying to build a readership and also a brand. Use the tagline to draw readers in.
Recurring sections are comforting for your subscribers. Your readers like knowing that a certain favorite section is always there. It is always nice to have an introductory welcome message from the ‘author’. Change it up each edition will a personal summary of the contents.
You might have a ‘global’ level section where you examine high level changes in you niche. Legislative changes, technological changes, political changes. Next level down might be about new solutions to problems your audience is facing. Then maybe a section about what your company is up to in the space.
Always include the About Us section and your company contact details.
C. Newsletter UVP, Content, and Tone
Unique Value Proposition
Establish your company’s unique value proposition (UVP) and showcase it in the newsletter. It’s about what makes you unique in your niche.
Part of your UVP is understanding you audience. If you know your audience, you can figure out what they need, what their pain points are, and how you can resolve their problems.
Don’t put everything you know into each newsletter. Be selective in your content. Tell them why of your product not the ‘how’. Be sure to keep your newsletter informative. It’s not a monthly sales brochure!
Establish a ‘voice’ for your company newsletter. A tone that matches your operating style. A personality that’s different from others, competitors in particular. Think about your UVP and how that influences the tone of your newsletter.
There are a few things you should include is each edition you publish, in no particular order:
- An edition number and date
- Complete company contact information
- An introductory note signed by the author
- An overview of this month’s content and a preview of next month’s
- A link to an archive of past issues
- A sign-up form
- An About Us section
- A copyright notice
This post, Newsletter Campaign Planning: Easy as A B C, seeks to help you with your newsletter campaign planning. Develop and implement a plan for your newsletter campaign and reap the rewards!