C-Suite Network™

Make Your Newsletter a Communication and Promotional Tool

As distinct from blog posts, which run 500-800 words in length, newsletters give writers the opportunity to expand their views on a subject. They also allow you to include more than one subject and often to use design features with greater creativity.

With a newsletter, you can show off many facets of your company. You can establish recurring features: “Employee of the Month,” “Latest Product,” “This Month’s Quotation,” and helpful suggestions for customers.

I read a newsletter recently from a company that sells health products. The main article explained how to identify the beginning signs of a cough and how to prevent it from getting worse. The information was detailed and both scientific and accessible to ordinary non-scientists. Only at the end did the author mention a product the company sold that could help with the early stages of a cough. It was a well-balanced application of the 80% information and 20% sales formula.

This company repeatedly follows this format in its main newsletter article. I don’t know anything about their sales volume, but my appreciation of the quality of the material they send to customers and potential customers increases with each newsletter. In addition, I have re-ordered the product I buy from them.

Study Newsletters

You may not be the one who writes your company newsletters, but you can give guidance to the person who does. That means knowing what makes a good newsletter.

While you should give careful attention to newsletters sent by your competitors, don’t limit yourself to these. Sometimes a creative approach in a newsletter for a business that has little to nothing to do with yours can spark ideas.

Plan Your Newsletter Topics

Tight planning is probably not possible in these rapidly changing times. However, you can keep in mind certain themes that characterize this era.

  • Unemployment
  • Fear of Job Loss
  • Difficulties of Working at Home
  • Schooling Issues
  • General Feelings of Isolation

This is a starter list. In adding to it or elaborating, think about your issues. What troubles you? What kind of advice and/or reassurance would you like to receive? This perspective will help you empathize with your readers.

Don’t stop with yourself. Create a survey of customers that addresses the above and other issues. Take this inquiry a step further. Ask what kind of information they’d like to receive in a newsletter. What matters most to them?

If your company sells tangible goods, you can also run a survey asking customers how they use them. What advice about usage would they give to actual or potential customers? Results from these questions can yield material for newsletters.

Look at the open and click-through rates of your newsletters. What topics captured the most attention? Give your subscribers more of those as you plan your 2021 newsletters.

Pay Attention to the Tone of Your Newsletter

People want sincerity and honesty. They often also want to know what your company is doing to help others. If your company doesn’t sponsor or lead community initiatives, you have a bigger problem than a lackluster newsletter.

If you are active in the community, find a non-bragging way to say it. You can also contribute within the context of your newsletter by listing useful resources.

Track subscribe and unsubscribe rates and fine-tune your material in response. And of course, you know getting a newsletter is an opt-in experience. Don’t add people to your newsletter list without them asking to be on your list.

Think primarily of your newsletter as a resource for your customers. With the help of your team, create a mission statement that reflects this principle. Evaluate the material for the newsletter with your mission in mind.

Pat Iyer sends a weekly newsletter to those interested in getting tips to make their writing sparkle. Request any of her free reports on patiyer.com and get her newsletter.

Patricia Iyer

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