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Creating An Effective Newsletter

By Harry Husted
Posted Saturday, January 15, 2005

Many people don't know how easy it really is to run a successful newsletter. They also don't realize how important having one is either. There are two main types of newsletters: those that are free and those you pay for.

Newsletters are the best way to generate sales and will be for years to come. It is critical that you offer a FREE subscription to a newsletter on your web site and every person you meet. Your subscription information should be on your web site and in your signature file.

People that subscribe to your newsletter will become very loyal customers as long as you show them you are honest, credible, and that you know what you are talking about. They will not only buy from you now but they will buy from you in the future because you built a good rapport with them.

You may be thinking, "I don't have a newsletter." Well, you will want one because they bring in tons of cash if you use them right. Think about this situation:

Someone is surfing the web for accounting software and comes across your web site, and you happen to be selling the software they need. If you don't stir their interest in the first few seconds, they will be gone.

But what about this situation:

This person surfs to your web site and sees the offer of a free monthly newsletter on tax tips and accounting software shortcuts. They sign up, which retains the person's interest in your site a little longer, and it gets them interacting with it. Even if they move on you have their email address so you can send them your newsletter and other offers each month.

Remember, as you get subscribers for your newsletter, they are potential clients with whom you have built credibility. By doing this you have established a base to offer your other products and services.

Ok. I know I have to create a newsletter. What should I call the newsletter? The name you come up with should tie into what you are providing at your site. It should highlight you as an expert in your field of endeavor.

The information contained within could be articles, tips, anything of interest about your field or occupation. Of course, no matter what you put in the newsletter make sure you put in a blurb about one of your products and/or services.

To run a newsletter you need a place or person to run it. One such company or site is Listserve or Majordomo. You can go to (http://www.listserve.com) for this service or just type in majordomo in any search engine.

The second way to run a newsletter is through a program called Mailloop (http://www.mailloop.com/). With Mailloop you can run the newsletter yourself. Mailloop will automatically subscribe, unsubscribe, and send out your monthly newsletter.

You can also offer it as a paid subscription type of newsletter. Some people charge up to $200 a year for their newsletter. If you have something of great value that people really can't get elsewhere, they will pay you for it.

When you run a newsletter you can decide on whether to have it as a weekly, monthly, or yearly newsletter. Most common types of newsletters are published, printed and mailed out every month. In the case of the Internet and e-zines, you don't have printing cost, postage cost, none of that. All you need is your email program and a dial-up account to get online.

The components that make up a newsletter are the header, table of contents, articles and information, teasers, and sponsorships.

The header should be at the top with the name of the newsletter, date, title of the topic, and your contact information.

Table of Contents organizes your newsletter and lets the reader decide what he or she wants to read.

Articles and information should not be more than 60 characters per line. If it is too large, offer it in two parts.

The Teaser is used to inform your reader of your next issue so they will be looking forward to reading it with interest.

A Sponsorship is a great tool. Just don't overdue it. Usually you should have just one sponsor because it will clutter your newsletter.

Use dividers to separate sections like dots (……….), underscores (______), asterisks (****), dashes (------), or equal signs (======).

Creating the newsletter is one big hurdle, but now comes an even bigger hurtle-attracting subscribers.

1. Make sure to create a web page devoted to your newsletter, including subscription information and anything else that is needed. Then, have a link from your main page to that page. Even have a link from all your other pages to your newsletter page. This way they will see your subscription offer everywhere.
2. Another way is to post an offer for a free subscription in related newsgroups.
3. Offer a free subscription in related email discussion lists.
4. Offer a free subscription in related emails.
5. Offer a free subscription in classified ads.
6. Offer a free subscription in forums and BBS postings.
7. Offer a free subscription in your signature file.
8. Do press releases to get publicity for your newsletter.

As I said before, newsletters are very good and very powerful. Create one and use it to great advantage. You'll be glad you did.

About teh Author
Harry Husted is a freelance writer, copywriter, instructor and computer expert, living in Edison, NJ. He has published a computer repair and copywriting book. His Web site is (http://www.thecomputersociety.com). You can write him at husted@thecomputersociety.com.