Creating your own e-mail newsletter - essential pointers
The first step in creating a newsletter or for that matter any project, is to define the objective of the exercise.
It always helps to put down on paper what you hope to achieve before actually sitting down to plan, design and produce a newsletter.
Some of the questions you could ask yourself:
"Is this piece of communication meant to inspire, inform and motivate team members and other colleagues in my company or is it meant to sell my company's products or services through a targeted e-mail list?"
"Is this newsletter meant to dispense useful information to subscribers on my company website and as a result encourage advertising by companies with related products?"
The second step would be to generate a list of categories and reference sources for your newsletter based on the type it is:
For instance if your newsletter is about architecture, then a few possible categories could be: history of architecture, outstanding examples, national monuments, new building materials etc.
Your possible reference points could be websites and books on the subject, the local library, people in this field who could be invited to contribute or agree to be interviewed.
TIP: Before starting on the writing, decide on the approximate length of each article so that it becomes easier in subsequent issues when you go about gathering information or creating the content.
As you go about writing your newsletter you can simultaneously begin sourcing, creating or shooting pictures relevant to each article. This besides saving you time might also influence and inspire you in the writing process.
Now that you have a clear picture of what your newsletter should contain and communicate, the next step is to define how it will look.
Are visuals really essential to your piece of communication? Visuals tend to take awhile to load and with the prevailing low attention spans you might lose the readers interest very quickly.
On the other hand a picture speaks a thousand words and a carefully chosen visual might do the job more effectively than a plain text newsletter. Make the right choice.
Outsourcing newsletter design
While an HTML layout with pictures will definitely spice up the look and feel of your newsletter, it is bound to increase your production costs. A designed versus a formatted text newsletter, will definitely perform better but will require the services of a professional designer with his/her design fee. Therefore a designed approach probably makes more sense if the objective of the communication is to sell or encourage advertising.
The plus side of outsourcing the design of your newsletter is it will look professional. It will also save you a lot of time, which you will no doubt spend trying to package your writing efforts. However this is a call only you can make, but if you have a decent marketing budget, this is definitely the way to go.
Click here to outsource your newsletter design to Showcase-me.com.
E-mailing the newsletter
After your newsletter is ready and assuming you already have a list of e-mail addresses to mail to, you will have decide on a delivery method. While you can manage and deliver your newsletter yourself with a good email program like Eudora or Pegasus Mail, for larger lists a bulk email list server /program like iContact is recommended.
However, if you do not have an e-mail list, it is advisable to approach companies who compile such lists of people who have volunteered their e-mail addresses to receive email newsletters on subjects that interest them. These are called "opt-in lists" and are extremely effective as you will be talking to a targeted audience. Lists obtained from unverified sources are usually made up of a list of randomly collected e-mail addresses garnered through disreputable means. Mailing to these lists where the user has no interest in the service you are offering is termed as "spam," and can ruin or severely damage your business reputation, besides being against the law.
That's it! you now have all the essential pointers to go about creating your own newsletter. Happy e-mailing!