Newsletters: Design, Purpose, Formatting, Selling, and More!

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 6, 2009

After you have put up a website, it might be a good idea to start thinking about a newsletter you can offer weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to your customers. Study after study shows that newsletters can create a loyal following and repeat sales. And the good news is, newsletters are fast, easy, and can be a very fun way to let your creative side out. BUT, if you’re not creative, you don’t have to be!

So, a few things to think about before you start designing:

  1. What is the purpose of your newsletter? Do you want to put together a document to keep readers updated on your industry? Do you want to make this more of a personal newsletter on your interests, recommended products, etc.? Get a good sense of your objectives and goals.
  2. Sit down and brainstorm every possible component you can think of that could be included in your newsletter – tips, jokes, quotes, testimonials, video, articles, etc. Make this list as long as possible (research what others have done for more ideas) and then refine your list down to the elements that get YOU excited. If you aren’t excited about what you’re doing, it’ll never get done.
  3. Think about what format you want to use for your newsletter:
    -   You can do a plain text format which is easy, fast, and has good deliverability in email accounts – but, it’s a little boring because there are no graphics or creative ways to break up the text.
    -   HTML newsletters are a little more fun because you can adjust the theme, colors, and layout – but, some email accounts only accept text emails which could hurt your deliverability a little.
    -   You could also create your newsletter in a word processor and publish it as a PDF. This can give you a little more of a professional feel and you have creative control as well. (Word even has pre-made newsletter templates available to help you get started.)
    -   Also, do you want this to be a digital newsletter that you send to people via email or post on a website? Or will this be a printed newsletter that you mail to your customers?
  4. If you’ve done writing in the past for articles or blogs, you know that writer’s block can set in and deter you from producing a finished product. I suggest writing out a list of ideas – article topics that you can put into a document and pull out when you need a little shove in the right direction.
  5. Frustrated with the design process or feeling a wave of procrastination in getting started? Go to your favorite search engine and type in “free newsletter templates” and bingo! – You’ve got instant motivation and a fill-in-the-blank template you can go to town with.

So, start with brainstorming, then finish up with creating the template. Newsletters can be fun and rewarding (both personally and financially). Let me see your newsletter once you’ve designed it, and then we can create a blog post around it and get you some increased exposure!!  :)

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