by Maggie Ruch, Virtual Assistant
Have you ever seen a newsletter that you just KNEW was crafted by the person who sent it? Compared to something professionally designed, there are big differences. If you can see the difference, then your customers will see it too. So will your competition. Here are some simple tips to help you design a professional looking newsletter.
1- Use your website’s style as your guide. (Need more details on what you are looking for? Check out my post about having a style guide.) Having a look that is consistent from website to newsletter helps your readers immediately connect the dots and know who the newsletter is coming from. What color is your website’s background? Does it have a border around the body of the website or does it stretch across the page?
2- Use a template. Keep it consistent from month to month by using the same template. You can have a different template for announcements and special sales etc, but your newsletter template should always be the same. Why? Consistency builds trust. People will be able to easily spot your newsletter because it has the same look from month to month or week to week. Studies show that keeping it consistent increases clicks and decreases unsubscribes.
3- Catchy titles. Your title should be something that your readers (at least your target customers) should want to open and read about. Sometimes vague works- sometimes it works against you. Sometimes being too creative about the title creates confusion. If you need to make a list of reasons why someone should read your newsletter then choose one of those reasons for the subject. It will definitely get some opens.
4- Simple is better. Unless it is part of the design, and the colors tie in to some photo or piece of art in a very obvious way, too many colors in a newsletter can be distracting. Your message (the content) is the focal point here. A rainbow of colors leaves readers unable to focus and they will eventually lose interest.
5- Speak to your audience. Your message should be clear and concise. Refrain from using a lot of jargon or acronyms unless that is what is expected by your audience. If you are writing to mothers about a sale on baby clothes, then don’t use language that an accountant would use. No one likes acronyms (except for the US Military) so leave them A.L.O.N.E.
6- Be direct. Consider having at least one paragraph where you speak directly to the reader in a more conversational tone. This helps build that relationship that builds business. Remember this is not your BFF or your college roommate, so conversational should be appropriate for a business luncheon or networking event—casual but appropriate.
7- Punch it up with pictures. A photo that you have taken yourself is appropriate if you are a great photographer or if you are talking about an event you attended or relating a personal story. You can get a more professional look by using stock photos from websites like dreamstime.com or istockphoto.com. Usually these images can be purchased using credits which are very inexpensive. If you are selling something with your newsletter, then the best quality photos of the actual products are best.
8- To click or not to click. Some people like to have everything in one place. They prefer to keep the content interesting and to have it all on the newsletter. The thinking is that it’s easier to read. Some like to publish multiple articles and to have short intro paragraphs with a link to read the rest of the article. There are good reasons for this. More clicks equals more traffic and more traffic equals better SEO. Either way, as long as your newsletter is written to your intended audience (your customer) there is no right or wrong way to do this. in the end it’s your personal preference. Someone who is interested in what you have to say will take the three seconds to click the link and read the rest on your site. Not interested=no click.
Use these tips and track the performance of your next eblast!
Maggie Ruch is a Virtual Assistant who specializes in assisting entrepreneurs who have an online presence with website and blog design, social media, and brand management. For over 4 years she has partnered with successful coaches and consultants as an integral part of building their businesses. Her website, virtualwebsiteassistant.com showcases examples of her website and fan page design. Visit her site to view testimonials from happy customers. Sign up here for her free course and ebook on branding.