Designing a Great Newsletter

July 18, 2011

A professional, well designed newsletter with content the captures your audience is a powerful marketing tool.  Whether you are using an online program or a desktop publisher such as MS Word, Publisher or InDesign; the concept remains the same.
Points to be aware of when laying out your newsletter:
  1. Who are your readers and what problems do they have.  Your newsletter needs to contain content and a design to suit your demographic.  If you have a wide demographic, send out targeted newsletters to each group.
  2. Don’t over ‘self promote’.  While your newsletter is a tool to highlight benefits your company offers and may include specials, product information and staff changes; you should also include industry information and news items, creating a balance.
  3. Use images, graphs and plenty of white space.  Your design should carry through your company branding message while being eye catching, easy to read and to find information.
  4. Don’t forget your call to action.  You want your readers to contact you after reading, promote a special offer with a deadline or competitions are a great way to encourage customer response.  Ensure your contact information is bold, stands out and is easy to find.
  5. Research the best time to send out your newsletter.  Most readers are fairly ruthless at clearing their inbox on a Monday morning and Friday afternoon is often a period of wind-down.  Test to determine your best time to deliver.
  6. Send your newsletters regularly.  Whether weekly, monthly or at longer intervals, decide on your frequency and stick to it.
The benefits of desktop created newsletters:
  • You can often be more creative with your design using desktop software than a web based program. 
  • A nicer end product if you are sending newsletters by post.
  • A correctly addressed, posted newsletter still has a higher read rate than electronic versions.
  • No spam filters or full mailboxes to stop your newsletter from reaching the recipient.
  • Generally, electronic newsletters should be kept to a screen in size (as many readers will not scroll down).  A printed copy allows you to fit more content in your publication.
The benefits of web based newsletters:
  • You can post your newsletter on your website, blog or facebook page.
  • Cost effective.
  •  Link your newsletter with social media networks.
  • Analytics will report information such as; who has opened your newsletter, which links were clicked, best open times, who forwarded your email.
  • Easy for readers to respond to ‘calls for action’.
  • Templates are provided.
  • Merge fields allow you to easily customise content to individual demographics and personalise. 
  • Link to other sites, articles and information while keeping your newsletter uncluttered.
Two newsletter programs I regularly use are Mailchimp and Constant Contact.   Both programs are easy to use, allow social sharing,  include html code templates to incorporate newsletter with your websites and applications for Facebook ‘opt in’ tabs are available.
My own newsletters (using Mailchimp) are shown on my Virtual Assistant site.  I have a sign-up form and a link to view archived issues.  Have a look and let me know what you think.
Finally, if you don’t have the time or confidence to create your newsletter campaign I can help.  Whether you provide some, all or no copy at all I will work with you to create newsletters which will compliment and enhance your current marketing strategy.  

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