Publishing an e-newsletter isn’t just about cobbling together some pictures and articles, filling out a distribution list and hitting send. It takes planning, thought and attention to detail, not to mention a sustainable strategy that will help the circular attract a growing readership. Following are a half-dozen best practices to consider when constructing and distributing an online periodical.
1. Timing: E-newsletters should be sent out regularly, at an appropriate time and day. For business-to-consumer publications, experts recommend weekends or evenings, when recipients are most likely to be home.
2. Subject line: The subject line of the e-newsletter should be inviting and benefit-oriented (what will it do for the reader). It should also highlight the content of the issue via a key message (i.e., “Your Summer To-Do List”). Avoid slang or spammy, over-the-top language.
3. From line: The “from” line must clearly identify the sender, which should be instantly recognizable to the recipient. Studies show readers often look to the “from” line first, so make sure it features the primary brand (your company name).
4. Design: As an extension of your online presence, the e-newsletter should carry the same basic design theme of the Website. Images should be used to support both the editorial content and any housekeeping or business goals. It should be easy to skim with short paragraphs, bullet points and plenty of click-thrus to the Website.
5. Business goals: Include banners, headers or prominent signposts to promote any special projects produced by the company or its partners. It also should feature a sign-up area for new subscribers to the publication.
6. Welcome letter: Always a good item to send to new subscribers prior to delivery of the first issue. A welcome note should let them know what to expect in future editions, as well as how to contact the staff, and even unsubscribe.