You should have an overall strategy and plan in place that sets out the basic objectives, principles, and workflow for your newsletter.
It needs to cover:
- What is the objective?
- Who is the target audience
- How often will the newsletter be published?
- What kind of content will be published
- What platform are you going to use to publish your newsletter?
Roles and responsibilities
- Who is going to perform the various tasks
- Who is responsible for signing off before publication
- Who is responsible overall for putting each issue together, publishing it, and reporting on it
Planning each issue
- What is the timeframe?
- What is the workflow?
- What feedback mechanisms do you have
- How are you going to measure the success of your newsletter?
- How and to whom are you going to report on the newsletter success
Planning each issue
It is useful to put together a specific plan for each issue. The plan will generally include a list of the articles/content that you want to include, as well as task allocation for writing, editing, and putting together the final product.
Don’t forget to include time for testing. It is essential to test every aspect of the newsletter before sending it out. Test every link and check that it works in various email clients (Outlook, Gmail, etc). Also, check that any call to action works perfectly. For example, if you have a donate button, a test that it works by actually making a small donation. If you have a Sign a Petition link, actually sign the petition yourself.
Also, remember that your newsletter tasks don’t end once you press the Send button. You need to allocate time and resources to follow-up on any requests or queries, and you need to gather data about the success of your newsletter.
Lastly, once an issue of your newsletter has been published and you have received feedback from subscribers and colleagues, it is important to debrief with your team and revise your strategy and plans. Learn from your past experience in order to improve future issues.
Tips to Improve Your e-Newsletter
Once you have published a few issues of your newsletter and have analyzed your stats, you can take action to improve. Here are some specific things that you can do.
Entice readers to open your newsletter
- Make From and Subject lines short, interesting, and easy to read.
- Test different subject lines by splitting your mailing list in two and comparing results.
- Compare sending your newsletter out at different times of the day and different days of the week – people are more likely to read your newsletter if it is received at a less busy time of day.
Get readers to Click-Through to full articles
- Make content and descriptions compelling.
- Personalize content where possible using the built-in personalization function in newsletter services.
- Ensure the subject line matches the email content.
- Change your layout and design to make the newsletter more attractive and scannable.
- Highlight what you want readers to click on using call-out boxes or hotspots.
- Test different headings in your content to compare click-through results.
Inspire readers to take action
- Provide a compelling reason to act.
- Remove distractions and create a focus on the action point.
- Make the action easy to perform.
Stop readers from unsubscribing
- Provide more value – make it worth your readers’ while to open and read the newsletter.
- Send emails less regularly.
- Adjust your newsletter design, layout, and content based on feedback from users.