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Top Tips For Creating a “Pro” Looking Newsletter

By Joelene Wickens-Orlando
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Television, radio, advertising in newsprint or other print can put a huge dent in your advertising budgets. Simply put, it just becomes too expensive for the small business owner. What’s the alternative? Newsletters are the alternative to the high cost of advertising, and yet it is an excellent marketing tool for your business. While saving a ton of money using this form of advertising, many big companies and small companies are using newsletters weekly, monthly to indirectly promote their products and services these days. What does that say about using this form of marketing? Everyone is on the same playing field when it comes to newsletters! The key thing with newsletters is, which ones get read? You want to make sure that it gets done right, so you will be guaranteed that all your work putting together a newsletter won’t go unnoticed.

In this section, read the top tips on how to create a ‘pro’ looking newsletter that will jump start a steady trail of traffic to your website.

CONTENT AND FOCUS:

Your newsletter should focus on a subject in which you have a great deal of knowledge. If you have a website that is geared towards a specific product or service, you should take into consideration what the focus of your site is. For instance, let’s say that you specialize in Internet Marketing, you wouldn’t write articles about ‘Automobiles.’ Articles should have content on different marketing strategies and trends in your field. Content is still king. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase throughout the web. Make sure what you write about has substance to it and will hook the reader. A poorly written article with not so great content will not get your newsletter read. Make sure you start on the right foot with great and interesting content.

SPELLING AND GRAMMAR:

Proofread all your content for grammar usage and spelling. There is nothing worse than reading a newsletter with all kinds of errors in them. If you’re anything like me, I have this pet peeve on misspelled words and improper grammar usage. Have other people proofread your content and make adjustments just to make sure that you didn’t miss anything. It just doesn’t look professional when you have all these mistakes in your newsletter, and it won’t get visitors to come back to read more errors!

TITLE:

Your title should sound intriguing and tell your potential customers exactly what your publication is all about. The title of your ezine is one of the most important keys in getting your newsletter read. Be creative, and use different titles that would get your publication listed towards the top instead of the bottom. By doing that, you will give your publication an advantage over the publications listed below yours. Many ezine sites list their publications in alphabetical order, so when coming up with a title, use the first three letters in the alphabet, i.e. “Online Secrets”, you should say, “Advertising Tips and Secrets.” You will be listed higher, which will put you in a position to get the click through.

NEWSLETTER SCHEDULE:

You can publish your newsletter as many times as you like, but the norm is once a month for most companies since they take time and effort to formulate a quality newsletter. Anything that is quickly put together at the last minute is probably not going to be your best work. Just make sure that once you decide the time frame or how often you will be sending out your newsletter, that you stick with that. The worst thing you can do is to have subscribers expecting a newsletter on the ‘first Wednesday’ of each month, and for it not to be there. Stick and adhere to your publication dates. No exceptions allowed.

STYLE:

The appearance of your site is one of the most important factors in determining the success of your newsletter. A professionally written, well-designed, content rich publication will guarantee that your subscribers will return each time your newsletter goes out. Keeping them there is the key. Only provide good quality newsletters, with interesting and practical articles.

LAYOUT:

The format of your newsletter should resemble exactly or very similar to the layout of your website. This keeps the subscribers in familiar territory when they are viewing your newsletter, they are able to pinpoint which website that particular newsletter belongs to. If you do your research, good newsletters are the ones that have the same format, color theme, and similarity to their websites.

COLOR:

The color should reflect the colors of your current website. Always use good taste in selecting colors. You don’t want to use colors that are distracting or not pleasing to the eye. Three basic colors within your newsletter is a good guide to go with. Any more colors than three, can make your newsletter appear very over stimulating and cluttered. Take a good look at your website, from there, you should be able to come up with a professional looking newsletter.

TABLE OF CONTENT:

Include a table of content at the top of the newsletter. This will allow the readers to scan the topics to see if anything in the newsletter catches their interests. It just shows a bit of organization as well as a sense of professionalism when you provide a table of content to your newsletter.

OPT-IN AND OPT-OUT:

Always give your subscribers the option to opt-in or opt-out to receive your newsletters. If you’re concerned about why they decided to stop subscribing to your newsletter, then by all means, follow up with the customer and find out why they no longer want to receive it. By offering them the option to receive or not receive, is a good practice of common courtesy behavior that you strongly adhere to. You wouldn’t want to keep receiving newsletters that you politely asked to stop receiving? Put yourself in their shoes by respecting their wishes.

TEST IN DIFFERENT FORMATS:

With the nature of the Internet and the various types of programs that subscribers have, you may need to have several formats for your newsletters for your subscribers to have the ability to view them. Test them to your computer to make sure that the font, size, and the style still comes out attractive looking in various formats. If they are not to your liking, then you may need to tweak them a bit until you are satisfied with the look and outcome depending on the format. This does seem like a bit of work, but you want to reach those customers who don’t have the newer, faster programs.

Having your own newsletter will not only enable you to keep in touch with your visitors, but will only increase your database of targeted customers. Newsletters are cheap, and should be a part of every small business owners’ marketing strategy. It will be one of the best marketing decisions you will make.

About the Author
Joelene Orlando is a Web enthusiast and a staff writer/consultant for eMarketing Answers with a broad knowledge of topics covering Internet marketing and communication strategies for both consumer and small business owners. (http://www.emarketinganswers.com) is dedicated to providing free, comprehensive emarketing resources and online promotion tools.