A newsletter is a regularly distributed publication generally about one main topic that is of interest to its subscribers. Newspapers and leaflets are types of newsletters. Additionally, newsletters delivered electronically via email (e-Newsletters) have gained rapid acceptance for the same reasons email in general has gained popularity over printed correspondence. Shortened form of newspaper and informational letter.  Generally used to describe a periodic publication distributed by e-mail to an opt-in list of subscribers. Newsletters are normally used by organizations or owners of a Web site to communicate with their readers. Some companies may sell targeted ads within their newsletters. Also called e-newsletter, eNewsletter, E-mail newsletter, or eBulletin. In order to get the most out of your firm’s newsletter you first need to know what is a newsletter and how to write a newsletter? Once you have these two points engraved in your mind, creating a newsletter will be as easy as ABC!

What is the purpose of  a newsletter?
A newsletter is used as a publication (periodical, pamphlet etc) that gets circulated out to its subscribers after a regular time interval. The publication, by and large, pertains to a focal point that the subscribers are interested to find out more about. And keeping in line with that concept, you want to ensure that more than 90 percent of the periodical is filled with information to be delivered with the remaining 5 percent or less talking about you. If utilized and executed properly, a newsletter – regardless of whether it’s an email newsletter or a printed newsletter format – can do wonders for your marketing endeavors.

What makes the newsletter such an effective marketing tool for businesses?
What makes a newsletter such a strong tool is that it helps establish brand equity & strengthen your bond with the consumers. Not only will it ensure that people stay updated with developments at your end but it also opens venues for e-marketing since you can develop a web-based shopping portal and place its link on the newsletter. This would allow people to choose either to shop at your physical facility or simply place online orders to get whatever they want. In addition to that, you can establish your repute as an authority in the industry by keeping customers posted. In many ways, it will (possibly) lead them to becoming lifelong customers of yours.

Designing a Newsletter
Design specifications:
 As general practice, it’s best to design your newsletter with a fixed width instead of a fluid/liquid layout. This will prevent horizontal scroll bars as the result of not using the full width of the screen. Design your newsletter with a width of around 600-700px and make sure the important information is within the top 300-500px of height as this is the size of an average preview pane.

Design tools: Best design tool used is, Photoshop, always give a start to your design with Photoshop. Open up Photoshop and create a new document with a width of 800px and a height of 1000px with a resolution of 72dpi .

Web version: Newsletter always needs to be created with multiple versions – htlml version, pdf version, word version and plain text version which can be used for emailing purpose. HTML version can also be used as email newsletter as well plain text version also.

What should needs to be displayed on Newsletter?
This is the most important part of the newsletter, as we all know newsletters are released by some companies either for internal purpose or for customers.

For internal newsletter the main things would be

  1. CEO/CFO/Directors Message Section – through which a message can be passed from management to its employees
  2. Company progress information – This keeps employees updated about companies recent acquirements, projects etc.
  3. Company activities – Team activities done by different Teams of the Company
  4. B ‘days and Celebrations – wish the b ‘day boys and girls!!!!
  5. New joinee’s information – welcome the new members of the company.

For Customers Newsletter should contain

  1. Information highlighting your nonprofit’s recent accomplishments.
  2. An overview of upcoming events or workshops.
  3. Additions to your Web site.
  4. A tip of the month, week, or quarter.
  5. Announcements about new grants, programs, or staff.
  6. A promotion of an upcoming program or publication.
  7. Information about upcoming legislation and how it might affect your services or those you serve.
  8. Place time-sensitive items or calls to action near the beginning of the newsletter.
  9. Consider providing a table of contents.
  10. Include URL s in your newsletter that link directly to additional information. (Be sure you include “http://” as part of the address; many email programs turn these addresses into clickable links.)
  11. Keep your newsletter as short as possible. Remember that you can always link to your Web site for more in-depth information.

Publishing the Newsletter

Creating a Publication Schedule
Treat your newsletter as a real publication. That means it follow a regular publication schedule, whether that’s once a month, once a week, fortnightly, or once a quarter. Once you set your schedule (the second Tuesday of the month, for instance), follow it. If you don’t treat your newsletter as a reliable, regular source of information, your users won’t regard it that way either.

Finding Subscribers

  • Place a notice in all of your printed newsletters about your email publication and how readers can subscribe.
  • Include information about your email newsletter on your Web site.
  • Post an announcement about the email newsletter to appropriate online discussion groups. You can search for Internet discussion groups relating to your organization and mission at:
    • Topica.com
    • Tile.net
    • Yahoo! Groups
    • Google Groups
    • Send an email to everyone in your database announcing your new publication. (Make sure to put all addresses in the BCC line of your email to protect users’ privacy.) Because you are sending an unsolicited email, include a line at the top of the email explaining why you’re sending it out and how you got the recipient’s email address. (“This message is being sent to everyone who has contributed to our organization in the last two years.”)
    • Never automatically subscribe someone to an email update. Receiving a regular email from your organization should always be an “opt-in” choice.

Sending Your Newsletter
One way to send your newsletter is manually, meaning that you would export email addresses from a subscriber database into the BCC line of your email. This system can be quite labor intensive, however, and requires that someone input the addresses of new subscribers into the database on a regular basis. A better way to send out your newsletter is to use list mail software, such as ListProc, ListServ , Majordomo, and many others. Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP), too; it may offer a mailing service (and you may be already paying for it). There are also a number of free mailing services that will include a short advertisement at the top or the bottom of your email in exchange for their services. To learn more about all of these options, visit the Virtual Volunteering Project’s ‘s Web site. Mail services work by sending your email to a single email address that automatically forwards your message to everyone on your subscription list. If someone wants to subscribe or unsubscribe, they can do it themselves automatically.

Measuring Success
Some ways you can gauge the impact of your email newsletter:

  • When people call or email to request information from your nonprofit, ask how they found out about you. How many come from your email newsletter? Were they already subscribers, or was it forwarded to them?
  • When people sign in to any event, always ask how they heard about it.
  • How many new subscribers are you getting each month? How many people are unsubscribing?
  • Survey subscribers once a year about your organization’s work as well as the newsletter itself. Are they getting what they want out of it?
  • Track the responses that result from your posts, just as you would track responses to your advertising campaigns. It will help you plan more strategically for future posts and online activities.
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