Creating an Email Newsletter

Many organizations, companies, and nonprofits incorporate email marketing into their overall business plan. However, email marketing is more than just creating an email or e-newsletter and sending it out to a list. To increase the chances of your email being opened, read, and acted upon, it’s important to have a strategy before clicking “send.”

What is your image?

As you start thinking about sending your first e-mail newsletter, make sure you think about how it fits with your image.  If your freelance work is graphic or “artsy”, recipients will probably expect a creative email.  If you are in finance, they may want straightforward factual information and less creativity.

Who is your audience?

In addition to the image you project, also consider your recipients.  Are you speaking to stay-at-home parents or executives who consider a 70-hour work week to be part-time? Develop content that speaks to your audience.   Hopefully, when you collected information from your recipients, you asked for their first and last names.   Using the names of recipients helps them feel a connection with you.  Different tools enable you to automatically include the recipient name in your message.

Consider Time of Day

This is one that will take some trial and error.  With all online communications, there are differing opinions on the best day and time to send an email.  If your newsletter is short and includes some humor, people may enjoy that mid-morning break on a Monday.  If it has “heavier” information, you may want to wait until mid-week when people have more time to process a longer email.  To determine what works best for your organization, try testing certain times, then evaluate which works best for you.  To do this, split your email list into two groups. You could send the email to the first half of your list on Monday at 10:00am. Send it to the second half on Wednesday at 2:00pm.  Check the open rate for the two different times.  If you have the most readers on Monday morning, your newsletter might be what people need to beat the Monday morning blues!

Have a Call to Action

Decide what you want recipients to do once they open the email.  Is it simple awareness where you are driving people to your web site?  Are you asking them to buy a particular service?  If so, then you want to direct them to more information on your service and perhaps some client testimonials.  Make sure there is a purpose for sending the email.

What is your landing page?

As mentioned above, if your goal is simple brand awareness, it’s okay to direct readers to your home page.  However, if the purpose is to have recipients read about a specific service you offer, have a link that leads directly to that particular page of your site.  If you drive them to the home page of your web site and require them to do additional clicking, you may lose them.  Remember the attention span of internet users (myself included!) is very short.  If you don’t have your information readily available on your site, create the appropriate page before sending out your newsletter.  Again you want to make it very, very easy for readers to find what they need.

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