E-newsletters are one of the best ways to stay top of mind with your community.
1. Stay Relevant
The key is for the newsletter to have interesting and relevant information for your audience. You want them to want to open it. You want them to read it!
Always focus on your audience. What is interesting to them? What do they need to know?
2. Be Consistent
One of the hardest parts of a newsletter is ensuring that you stay on top of it. You really need to commit, as newsletters are for the long term. It isn’t that you have to send this out every week or every month, it is more that you need to be consistent in your timing. If you send it out every week for awhile, and then a month later, you will lose traction.
3. Keep it simple.
You don’t want an article to be too long within a newsletter. Always consider linking to more information so that people see all of the topics quickly, and then are able to move on.
4. Pictures & colours.
This is online, so there are lots of options for how you can visualize to make content pop. Definitely have pictures and videos where they work. Always make sure that you reference where the pictures are from.
In Canada you are required for people to verify twice that they wish to receive email correspondence with you. That means that they need to sign up for your enewsletter and also click on a link that is sent to their email to confirm. Most marketing automation platforms have this feature.
There are only a few main measurements that you worry about.
you worry about the number of subscribers that you have and how to continue to grow the size of the list.
you worry about the open rate. Even if you have a list of 10,000 people, the number that actually open the enewsletter and read it is more important.
you might worry about click throughs. This is where someone reads your newsletter and then follows a link that you have embedded in the newsletter. This means that someone has signed up for your newsletter, opened it, and then did another action as they were so interested in the topic. Or you might have linked to another site. So this is all interesting information.
The enewsletter companies are called Marketing Automation Platforms. These platforms help you comply with privacy concerns, reporting, formatting, and organization of your email lists. They definitely help make your communications easier.
Mailchimp: This is the platform of choice for General Council Office, the Regions, and many communities of faith. This is a free platform for the needs of a community of faith.
Constant Contact: This is the largest competitor to MailChimp. Although it is not free, it does have some extra features and training support.
CreativeCommons.org If you’re short of your own images or you need something really specific, it’s a great way of sourcing images! Some of the images are attribution-free (mostly through Pixabay), but where credit/attribution is due, it is clearly detailed. (Contributed by Caroline Watson in Communications at GCO)