So you’ve read our recent article “Should You Create a Company Newsletter?” and have decided to publish one yourself. Newsletters can be a great way to nurture existing leads, strengthen relationships with current customers, increase your online presence or just keep your company at the top of your prospects’ minds.
How do you get started?
You know how much we love process, so here are the steps to follow to turn your newsletter concept into reality.
Who is your target audience? You may have already defined your ideal reader, but it helps to re-evaluate. How detailed can you get? More focus = greater chance for success.
For example, if your business is a garden center, you might define your target audience as a home gardener. But get more specific! You might really be looking for
- a female homeowner
- between 25-50 years old
- who is a vegetarian or vegetable-lover
- who enjoys cooking.
Your newsletter might then include recipes and focus specifically on kitchen gardens.
You hear realtors mention the phrase “location, location, location.” For newsletter publishers (and direct mail and email providers) the mantra is “list, list, list.”
Do you have an existing list? Or do you need to buy or rent one? Home-grown lists are almost always better, but there are dozens of companies that sell almost any type of list if you need one.
Outside lists will range in price depending on the source, the number of names and the information included. In our earlier example, you might consider purchasing specific zip codes from a subscriber list of a consumer gardening magazine. Look for lists with as much detail as possible.
What is the core content you’d like to deliver, and the true purpose for your newsletter? Think carefully about your audience and the business goals that you need to accomplish. Good content can handle many different business tasks, and digital media makes it fairly simple for businesses to sell with content.
How will you use design to enhance your message? Create a newsletter design that reflects your company brand and image. Is it serious? Informative? Factual? Friendly? Entertaining? Humorous? Design templates are easy to find (and customize) so you don’t have to hire a graphic designer and create one from scratch.
How often would you like to publish your newsletter? A weekly newsletter requires substantial content, but it’s a terrific way to communicate special promotions and keep in close contact with your buyers.
If you’re worried about that commitment, shoot for a monthly newsletter to start.
Who will copywrite and edit? It’s important to be consistent with tone and style, so find dedicated people to handle each function on a regular basis.
Are you going to use email or regular mail for delivery? Most choose email nowadays, but electronic overload is keeping direct mail from its predicted demise.
There are plenty of great email service providers to choose from. Here’s a quick list:
How will you promote your newsletter to build your subscriber list? Internet marketing makes it easy to drive traffic to web sign-up forms that write directly to a database or email platform. This makes it easy to promote via blogs, message boards, social media websites and other newsletter publishers. You can also include your publication in one of several newsletter directories. Be creative about expanding your audience. Fun contests and giveaways work well, and sometimes generate great publicity. Create an attractive offer to entice new readers to sign up.
Keep learning from your readers over time and adjust, refine and improve. Most importantly, stay committed! It takes time to build a good subscriber base. Even though there are thousands of newsletters for your audience, if you deliver valuable content to the right people on a regular basis, you’re likely to achieve success.