Online newsletters are a must for every industry. They’re an effective way for communities to regularly communicate with their customers and supporters. Chances are you receive dozens of newsletters in your inbox every day. Competition is tough, but just means you have to get creative to make yours stand out from all of the noise. How can your newsletter be different? How can you make sure you’re communicating the right information?
When planning a community online newsletter, it’s important to figure out the logistics first. Decide how often you’re going to send it. Sixty-nine percent of users reportedly unsubscribe from email lists because they already receive “too many emails.” While unsubscriptions are bound to happen, it’s best to avoid becoming part of that statistic. Typically once a week, or once every other week is a good rhythm to follow. Once you decide frequency, also decide what day of the week you’re going to send it.
According to CoSchedule, Tuesdays are the best days to send email newsletters. But there are conflicting reports all around the Internet. One way to decide on a day is to look at analytics from previous email campaigns or to look at your overall site traffic. Which days are the busiest? Which days is your community most active? You can also ask community members to vote on when they’d like to receive a newsletter.
Once you’ve figured out logistics, it’s time to decide on a tool to use. You want to use one where you can host multiple lists, one that has built-in analytics and that is easy to use. People usually use MailChimp, which is great, but it’s not the only tool out there. If you have your community on Mobilize, creating a newsletter is very easy. We have used it ourselves, in addition to MailChimp from time to time.
Our friends at Zapier have a list of other tools here to check out here.
What’s the theme of your newsletter? What content will you be sharing on a regular basis? This is the most critical part to establish when you’re launching a newsletter. If you have a blog, using a newsletter to promote that content is a great idea. If you don’t, you can use a newsletter to surface discussions, promote upcoming events, and overall new happenings that are going on in your community.
Ah, the subject line. Many marketers will say will this is what will make or break your newsletter. Of course, the content inside is important and must be valuable to your community, but the tricky part is getting them to open your newsletter.
BuzzFeed has great tips for writing headlines that can also be applied to writing subject lines. This article suggests:
1. Say your subject line out loud
2. Write it the way you’d tweet about it
3. Think about your audience, speak like them
When creating a newsletter, it’s important to be clear about your goals. Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this newsletter?” Are you trying to easily communicate with communities or are you trying to recruit more community members? Get clear about your goals, and set KPIs to measure them.
Finally, once you’ve sorted out all of the details mentioned above, it’s time to send, measure, revise and repeat. Your newsletter is an ever-evolving communication strategy. Don’t be afraid to change it up and modify it to what best suits your community.
Do you have a newsletter for your community? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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