Monday, 4 October 2010

Hold the Front Page!

Creating newsletters that get your brand noticed
by Jill Tomlinson

News is wall to wall. 24/7. Non-stop. When you’re trying to connect with customers, it’s not easy to make your voice heard above the din. No wonder the humble newsletter has stepped forward as one of the most powerful marketing opportunities for brand builders.

Online or offline, the newsletter is an astonishingly valuable marketing tool. Unlike many other promotional formats, it speaks for itself as well as supporting your brand’s core mission. It brings the weight of editorial-style credibility.

Subscribers are pure gold

Opt-in lists double this power. Subscribers are pure gold for marketers. They tell you in positive terms they want to join your inner circle and find out more about your brand. They want to know about you regularly. If you do the right thing by these valuable people and reward them with brilliant content, they’ll reward you with strong, profitable connections over the long term.

Be anything but dull

Given the benefits, why on earth are so many newsletters dull, long-winded and self-promoting? Get your content right and you’ll stand head and shoulders above this kind of lazy mediocrity. Give your readers what they want and deserve: fresh, relevant content that informs, excites and interests.

DO make your newsletter:

• newsy
• exciting
• informative
• helpful
• funny
• involving
• full of real people, stories and opinions

DON’T make your newsletter:

• selly
• dull
• corporate
• long-winded
• self-congratulatory

Keep it fresh

Genuinely interesting content does much more than promote short-term sales. It builds loyalty, forms brand advocates, creates inclusion and encourages feedback. As your brand expresses its personality, so readers deepen their emotional connection with it. They enjoy the sense of participation that comes from being part of this exclusive group.

Online newletters:

• drive traffic to landing pages and web pages
• are economical to create and distribute
• bring feedback
• provide useful analytics

Online, the benefits of plentiful new content are vast. E newsletters give linking opportunities that drive traffic to landing pages and web pages. They also boost your brand’s SEO efforts by supplying the generous new content search engines love.

Observing online content rules is vital to ensure the best results. Keep e-news copy concise. It’s tiring to read a lot of words on-screen so keep it quick and scannable. Encourage opens with irresistible email headers and tempt readers to linger with content that’s fresh, lively and easy to digest.

Offline newsletters:

• are easy to read (people like paper!)
• look and feel great
• have ‘hang around’ value with longer life
• are read by other people as well as subscribers

Offline, the newsletter gives a little more scope in terms of time and space.
Draw people in with real life tales, people and places, useful advice, ‘how to’ lists, top tips and insider details that take the reader behind the scenes of your brand.

Give your newsletter the time and attention it deserves and so will your readers. Who could resist?

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