Posted on | October 9, 2009 | No Comments
We’re about to begin a weekly series on newsletters — a request from our customers who want to know how to either start up an online newsletter or raise the standards of their already-established enews publications. When I thought about where to start, a question popped into my head: Why do we call them NEWSletters when there’s rarely any news in them anymore?
How do you create newsletters that your readers don't leave behind?
Today everything is about instant information delivery. News streams are constant and instantaneous. An event occurs and – depending on its potential popularity – stories, photos, and videos are often published across the Internet HOURS before the mainstream media can cover them. Even company news travels quickly these days via blogs, tweets, and personal email.
But many company newsletters are written on a monthly basis. That often means there’s really not a lot of NEWS in the typical company NEWSletter these days. And with today’s overstrapped marketing departments, many monthly newsletters simply include rehashed information that was published previously. Why do companies bother? Because they want to ”stay in touch” with their customers.
This may not be the best strategy. If your open rates are decreasing and your opt-out rates increasing, it’s probably a clear sign that it’s time to rethink your NEWSletter creation practices. If you really want to stay in touch with your customers, then you have to give them something they will read.
So, here’s our first newsletter tip: go find out what your customers want to hear about from you.
- Pull a random list of 5-to-10 customers who have actually read your last two or three newsletters and call them to find out why they opened them and what they found interesting about them…or what they didn’t.
- Pull a list of customers who have NOT read the newsletter and another list of those who have opted out. Contact them as well.
- Create a subset list of customers who opened your last two newsletters and send them a survey to investigate what they most want to hear about.
- Once you’ve done these things review them with your staff. Create a list of what you’ve learned about how to improve your newsletter and build a list of story topics or types.
This exercise can be done over time if you can’t do it all at once because of staffing issues. But do it. You will learn more about how you can increase readership as you go along. And both your company and your readers will be happier because of it.