Personal Small Business Enterprise

Building a Newsletter: Part 2 – Adding Content

In the first part of this series, I discussed how to get the ball rolling to build a solid e-mail list.

The next step reflects the heart of a good newsletter: content. When spam makes up 90% of all worldwide e-mail traffic, it’s important to create a captive audience right from the moment your e-mail dings into an inbox.

However, before you start building content, you need to find out how you will send the newsletter. For example, you can work with your website hosting and/or design provider to add this capability to your website’s CMS (content management system). If your current provider doesn’t offer this service, there are plenty of third-party companies that do. A quick Google search for e-mail marketing providers will generate a comprehensive list, along with tons of user reviews to help you choose.

Once you’re ready to move on to the content portion, here are some key things to consider:

Deliverability. Almost half of e-mails are viewed on smartphones and tablets, so it’s important to take into consideration how your newsletter will appear on mobile devices. A newsletter that doesn’t render properly on a smartphone will very quickly find its way to the trashcan.

Subject lines. 130 characters is the optimum length to ensure that an e-mail is opened. (We’ll delve further into open rates in Part 3.) Avoid using all caps and exclamation marks, which can turn people off, not to mention that they’ll set off red flags for spam filters. What should you use? Monetary symbols and trigger words like “turnover” will pique readers’ interests.

Personalize. A newsletter that begins with “Dear Bob” is far more likely to get read than one that simply says “Dear Subscriber”, or worse, doesn’t include a greeting at all. A simple piece of code inserted into the newsletter can personalize each salutation.

Content. Should be timely, relevant, and clearly presented without clutter. And, at least on one occasion each year, you may want to offer some kind of incentive to keep subscribers anticipating the next one.

Proper ending. In order to both comply with Canada’s new Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and make it easy for customers to get in touch, you’ll need to include contact details (e-mail, mailing address, business name, head office number, website URL) and a clearly visible and functioning unsubscribe option.

How often?
Find a sweet spot of frequency. In a U.K. study, 66% of respondents said they would unsubscribe to an e-newsletter if they felt they were getting it too often. Think about what your newsletter is trying to accomplish, and how often it makes sense to send it. Don’t be afraid to ask key clients for their feedback. You may find that they’d be happy to get a newsletter more frequently than you think.

And as with anything else, timing is everything. Sticking to a schedule will help maintain a level of consistency. Some interesting data: 67% of e-mails are opened during working hours; 11 a.m. is the peak time for reading e-mails; and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are when the most e-mails are opened.

The bottom line
Getting subscribers for your business newsletter is great, but now you need to keep them interested, wanting to stay, and likely to return. Featuring well written, relevant, unique and timely content in your newsletter will absolutely help you obtain and retain email newsletter subscribers.

How engaged are your subscribers? In the final part of this series, I’ll look at how you can evaluate the success of your campaign.

What type of content do you think your clients would be most interested in hearing about via newsletter? Tell us in the comments section below. 

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