An email newsletter can be something of a tricky prospect. On the one hand, it has the potential to be a very effective form of communication. This is marketing delivered straight to the consumer, marketing that they specifically requested to receive. At the same time, sending someone an email doesn’t mean they’re obligated to read it or that they have any interest in doing so. Therefore, it’s not enough to simply send a newsletter along and hope for the best. Certain steps can be taken beforehand to make the content contained in any email you send interesting, appealing and potentially beneficial. Keep your readers engaged and you’ll have a much better chance of commanding their attention. Here are a few ways to make your newsletter stand out from the pack:

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  • Make it Voluntary: If a client is going to receive an email newsletter, it should always be as the result of a call to action they willingly completed. Rather than simply blanketing your clients and those who have displayed some interest in your business with newsletters that they never asked for, allow your clients to make the choice to receive it or not for themselves. Be sure to include plenty of opportunities on your site. End a few (if not all) of the pieces of content on your site with a single field, asking your readers if they liked what they saw and giving them an opportunity to provide their email. That way, when they receive the newsletter they won’t feel put upon.
  • Set a Schedule: If you want your readers to stick around, you’ll need to establish a routine. You want people expecting your newsletter at a certain time, and whatever that time may be you’ll want to stick to it. Not only does doing so guarantee that you won’t forget to write a newsletter or let one fall between the cracks, but it also creates a pattern for your clients. They’ll know to look for your newsletter, maintaining an active, engaged state. That’s exactly the kind of state you want your clients to be in. That said, don’t overdo it. Limit yourself to one newsletter a week at most. Any more than that and your newsletter will begin to feel suspiciously like spam.
  • Don’t Waste Your Client’s Time: It’s important not to start a newsletter just because you wanted to start one. Before you begin that process, you’ll need to find a good writer, the kind of person who can synthesize data well and be neither too dry nor too informal. If the content in your newsletter isn’t up to snuff you can’t expect your clients to stick around and read it again in the future. Don’t waste your client’s time. Provide them with well-written, informative content and they’ll likely stay engaged, at least to some degree.
  • Make Sure Your Content is Relevant: Though there are many benefits to establishing a routine, doing so has its dangers as well. For example, what if you reach that time of week when the writing of the newsletter must begin, but you find you have absolutely nothing to say? No matter what industry you’re in, no matter what service your business provides, there’s always relevant content out there somewhere. It might be anything from news updates concerning your business to how-to guides and opinion pieces. Just make sure to keep your content as relevant to your business as possible. Audiences can spot filler a mile away. If you have nothing to talk about, it’ll be obvious to many of your readers, whether you think it will be or not. Remember, if you have nothing to say, don’t say nothing. Find something real, whatever it might be, and your clients will thank you.
  • Don’t Be Too Overt: Yes, the overall purpose of your newsletter is to market your wares, but if you’re too blunt about it you might turn off potential customers. They didn’t sign up for your newsletter to be aggressively marketed to; they did it because they’re interested in your business already. The beauty of making your newsletter completely voluntary is that you know that every person you send it to is already engaged with its content and wants to learn more. If you fill your newsletter with flashy advertising and offer little in the way to content besides, your audience will likely grow bored.
  • Don’t Be Too Subtle: That being said, a little overt marketing can be just the trick. However, simply telling people outright to buy your product is still not the answer. Instead, use your newsletter to advertise deals and promotions, limited time events which might excite the reader and get them to spend money they might have otherwise held onto a little longer. You can also use your newsletter to announce any new products or services. People expect you to market to them a bit. In fact, many of the people who signed up for your newsletter did so because they expected to getting something out of it, not just knowledge but rather a deal or a savings. If you give the people what they want there’s a much better chance they’ll stick around.
  • Make it Easy to Unsubscribe: This many seem counterproductive, but it’s actually very important. In an ideal world, your clients would keep reading your newsletter for as long as you choose to release it, but things don’t always work out that way. If they do want to leave, make it easy. Include a large “unsubscribe” button in every newsletter, and make sure it works. Sure, you’ll lose a reader, but making it harder for them to leave certainly won’t change their mind. In fact, it’ll probably just lead to feelings of resentment. The client will feel trapped, boxed in, and they’ll begin to dislike your company. Bite the bullet and include the button. It’s the right thing to do.

Keep these seven points in mind and your newsletter will likely be a great success.