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7 Steps to Developing Effective Newsletters Online

If you have a loyal customer base, but haven't used a regularly scheduled newsletter to communicate with then, then its time to develop a monthly newsletter. Electronic newsletters are a great way to share information, promote your products, and solicit feedback from your most important customers. If you want to develop effective newsletters, you'll need to follow these seven proven tips for creating winning newsletters.

1. Choose a Theme.

The largest pitfall to developing an effective newsletter is the lack of a theme. When creating newsletters on a regular basis (ex: monthly), select a unique theme every month that appeals to your audience. Once you have identified a theme, be sure that your newsletter content focuses on that specific theme throughout its content. This creates a newsletter that is meaningful and positions your company as a meaningful source of information.

2. Allow for Easy Scanning.

If newsletter subscribers are unable to scan your newsletter, you stand a good chance of losing them. The first few seconds are your most important so make them count. Use big, bold headlines, and article descriptions, providing links to the full article or related content areas. By providing article introductions versus an entire article, you make it easier for readers to view your entire newsletter while allowing them to zero in on the content that has the greatest appeal.

3. Use Graphics.

Producing a newsletter that's wall-to-wall text will not be able to keep the interest of even your most savvy reader. Interject graphics, product photos, pictures, and so on throughout your newsletter. This will break up those large blocks of content increase your newsletter's appeal. Make sure your graphics include links to the articles or products they reference as Internet browsers tend to click on pictures or graphics presented online.

4. Include Product or Service Information.

Internet users are very comfortable with product promotion especially when receiving free information or content. They understand that advertising pays the bill and is common among electronic newsletters. So use this information to your advantage. In each newsletter, discuss a featured product or provide a special offer to your newsletter readers. Products or services that are closely aligned with the theme of your newsletter can be ideal. As a rule of thumb, keep the number of products you promote three or less.

5. Proof Your Work.

When creating an electronic newsletter, you should always check your work. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation should be perfect. When users find these types of errors, it signals a lack of care - causing doubt as to the amount of effort used when developing the content presented. The result could very well be an increase in those who unsubscribe or a reduction in overall click-through rates.

6. Be Viral.

Never assume that the person reading your newsletter signed up for it directly. In fact, you should encourage your readers to forward the newsletter to others who may be interested in the content you're providing. Make your newsletter, and each volume of your newsletter, accessible via your website. Additionally, make it easy for new users to sign up through a link in each edition of your newsletter. When users forward a copy to a friend, they can easily subscribe.

7. Don't Forget Can-SPAM.

In the footer of your newsletter, include your company name, address, and contact information. Inform users why they are receiving your newsletter and how than can unsubscribe. Honor all unsubscribe requests within the alloted 10 day requirement. By doing so you are meeting current standards and you'll keep your newsletter subscription list clean.

These newsletter development tips can help you deliver a valuable newsletter that gets read and acted upon. Don't be afraid to experiment and keep relevant content the main focal point of your newsletter. As your newsletters become more sophisticated don't lose site of the basic principles. The tried and true is often the best way to be successful!

About the Author: Michael Fleischner is an Internet marketing expert with more than 12 years of marketing experience. He has appeared on The TODAY Show, Bloomberg Radio, and other major media.

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