A company newsletter is an electronic or printed communication piece that an organisation uses for internal or external communications. Its goal is to stay top-of-mind with leads, prospects, partners, existing customers or employees. Short communication courses can give you insights into the world of corporate communications, including business writing.
There are typically three main types of newsletters:
- Employee newsletters. Often referred to as an “internal” newsletter, these are generally created for internal communication within an organisation.
- Customer newsletters. These are often used as part of marketing campaigns. They are designed to reach customers to build brand authority in an industry and keep customers alert to new products and services.
- Prospect newsletters. These often represent the foundation of marketing efforts. They build brand authority and help maintain relationships with leads, who (hopefully) become customers in time with nurturing. Electronically, these are referred to as Electronic Direct Mail (EDMs).
Print or email formats?
Company newsletters can take two primary forms — printed or email newsletters. Before the modern advances in technology and data use, printed newsletters were the go-to. However, there are downsides to printed versions. They need to be designed and printed (often outside the organisation), and there are typically mail processing and postal charges — all of which add to the cost of production.
The other drawback with printed newsletters is the reduction in the ease of response (there is a reason it is often referred to as “junk mail”, as it is often thrown away). Even if they are opened and read, there is no easy way to prompt the audience to take the next step. The longer it takes the audience to act on the message they’ve received, the more likely it is that most of these customers simply won’t get around to responding, whether it be by visiting a website or taking action to purchase.
As many short communication courses will teach you, email newsletters can bypass many of these challenges. According to software developer and marketer HubSpot, there are over four billion daily email users globally. Marketers who leverage segmented campaigns using email newsletters as part of their marketing strategies typically see higher reader engagement, significant increases in revenue, and a healthier return on investment for the money spent. Therefore, in this blog, we will focus on email newsletters and provide some tips on including interesting copy, following design rules and encouraging engagement.
Email design tips
A company newsletter shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be planned and executed strategically in line with organisational and business objectives. Many short communication courses will teach you how to get the most out of electronic newsletters, but there are a few basic content and design rules that apply. Following these will ensure your customers don’t ignore, delete or unsubscribe to your newsletters. Important design elements include:
- Branded visuals. This includes making sure the colour scheme matches your brand and fonts are legible and well-organised.
- High-quality images. Copy should be backed up with appropriate images that are organised in an intuitive and mobile phone-responsive email template so the newsletter can be viewed on multiple devices.
Email content tips
Important content elements include:
- A creative subject line. This will give readers a reason to open the email.
- A strong call to action (CTA). This sums up what you are trying to achieve with your newsletter.
- Informative and organised copy. Copy should be polished, engaging and kept to a minimum (because we are all time poor, right?) Sub-headings can also help your readers easily navigate through the content. Key positioning typically includes your logo at the top, followed by a small introduction, key content in the middle and an email footer and social icons at the bottom.
- The ability to opt-out. There are laws pertaining to electronic mail, and one is giving your readers the ability to opt-out of receiving your emails.
Tips on compelling business storytelling
Many short communication courses can also teach you how to write compelling copy that tells the story of your business and sets you apart from your competitors. Some tips include having:
- A creative newsletter name. This sets the mood for what’s to come and keeps your readers coming back (you can find some inspiration here).
- A customer, client or employee success story. Testimonials can be incredibly powerful and give other readers “proof” that you are an organisation or brand worth following!
- A company story or employee spotlight. This gives readers an inside look into positive, real-life experiences with your organisation and intimate behind-the-scenes insights into your business. Important employee or company anniversaries or milestones are also valuable.
- A letter from the CEO. A great way to make a connection between readers and your brand is by including a personal message from your organisation’s top leader.
- Training resources, E-books or webinars. Readers will value the information you are sharing, particularly content that focuses on your organisation’s strengths.
- Blog teasers. These are a great way of inspiring readers, particularly if you ask readers a question and then provide an informative, engaging answer in blog form.
- Discounts or giveaways. Everybody likes freebies and discounts, and it can be a valuable way of building loyalty.
- Surveys and FAQs. Often the smartest strategy for ensuring your target audience is suitably informed about your business is by being upfront and honest about your company goals and intentions. Surveys and FAQs promote transparency, particularly if you follow through with customer feedback (and show them how you have).
- Use video email marketing. Creating content that includes videos is another valuable way of engaging with your audience. Common types of video content include brand, demonstration, educational, event highlight, team and product videos.
Analysing its metrics is part of gauging whether your email newsletter is successful or not. Many short communication courses will tell you that common metrics can be tracked through marketing automation software and include:
- Subscription growth rate
- Deliverability rate
- Spam rate
- Un-subscription rate
- Open rate
- Click-to-open rate
- Click-through rate
Click-through rates, in particular, can tell you a lot about the audience you are targeting. A high click-through rate means your audience is clicking on the calls to action or links that are embedded in your email. It’s a sign that you are sharing relatable messages and engaging your readers.
If you have a Google Analytics account set up on your website, you can also track incoming traffic from emails you’ve sent. The audience tab in Google Analytics can also help you understand the demographic you are targeting.