One effective way to provide valuable information to clients, prospects and others in your network is through an external newsletter program. Strategically implemented e-mail communications can position your company as a helpful and trusted resource.
When planning for a company newsletter launch, first consider your goals. Do you want to drive clients and customers to a specific web page? Maybe you want to use the newsletter as a tool to deepen client relationships or make exclusive announcements. Once you’ve determined your goals, the content, messaging, design and distribution strategy can work together to help you achieve them.
I’ve helped many clients develop and launch newsletter programs. Take the following steps and tips into consideration to maximize yours.
1. Develop newsletter content around your goals
Think about your audience and content that’s valuable to them. Industry tips or news, blogs, and customer and employee spotlights are examples of content that your contacts may find valuable. Include photos and videos when possible. People love to see other people.
Most of us are bombarded with offers and promotions daily. Your newsletter may turn readers off if it’s too salesy. Content should go beyond sales and be educational or entertaining.
Next, strive to keep captions and content descriptions short and pithy. For example, if you’d like to include a blog post, consider writing a quick and enticing overview of how the topic adds value to your reader and include a link to the full post. You’ll be able to drive readers to your website without having to include the entire blog in your newsletter.
Tip: Crafting the perfect subject line is critical. Personalize, include a call-to-action or a captivating question to garner higher open rates.
2. Choose a distribution platform that fits your needs
There are many different platforms to choose from with varying price ranges and capabilities. When deciding on a platform, determine whether it can be integrated into your current CRM software. Consider the size of your client or customer distribution list when choosing a platform as the pricing may vary based on the number of contacts.
Tip: If your clientele or prospects fall into different industry categories or significantly different demographics such as age or spoken language, segment your list and send relevant content to each group separately.
3. Design each newsletter with your brand standards in mind
Newsletter design should reflect your brand’s look and feel and remain consistent in each edition. A consistent layout allows your readers to become accustomed to the newsletter and easily find the information that is important to them.
Design and coding require specialized skills. Investing in a fresh and professional design will make a world of difference. If you don’t have the proper expertise internally, a public relations agency or freelancer can help design and implement your newsletter.
Tip: It’s imperative to consider how your recipients will access and read your newsletter. Ensure that it is compatible will all screen sizes, including smartphone, tablet and desktop.
4. Ready, set, distribute!
Studies show that weekday mornings are the most optimal times to distribute an e-mail newsletter. Determining the unique sweet spot for your audience can be found by evaluating your distribution analytics and performing AB testing.
Tip: Prior to distribution, send a test newsletter to yourself and other team members to ensure that it is exactly how you want it without errors or glitches.
5. Measure the success of your campaign
Measuring the success of your e-mail communications campaign can’t be done overnight. Analytics, including open and click rates, should be collected and compared over time to see how the numbers evolve. Be sure to measure spikes in website and social media traffic in the days following distribution.
Tip: Don’t let low numbers scare you. The average open rate for an e-mail newsletter is between 15-20 percent.
Consistent e-mail campaigns are an important part of a PR and marketing strategy. Over time, thoughtful e-mails will help improve brand recall, deepen client and employee relationships, and continually offer relevant and timely information. A public relations partner can help develop your newsletter to provide helpful and engaging information about your brand and company. Contact us to learn more!
Kara Weller is a communications specialist at Pierce Public Relations.