Newsletters: An Example
This past Christmas Day, a few select individuals received electronic copies of the very first Groton Pixel Newsletter. It was a test issue, a holiday card using a newsletter template, and we were pleased with the result.
Going forward, starting in January 2015, subscribers will receive monthly updates on online promotion, ways to improve their websites, the services we provide, and exclusive money-saving offers. The exact format, frequency, and content will develop over time based on customer feedback.
We are offering our newsletter as a model for other businesses to use, with a few tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way.
Our newsletter is free, and you may sign up for it by using this form:
Newsletter Best Practices
We strive to develop and implement best practices in all areas of platform development, and the newsletter is no exception. The three goals of your newsletter campaign, in no particular order, should be:
- Provide something of value;
- Extend your brand; and
- Don’t be a spammer!
Provide Something of Value – Content is King!
If you want people to subscribe to your newsletter, you’ve got to make it worth their while. Or if they do subscribe, newsletters that provide nothing but self-promotion will never be opened, read, or acted upon.
What we offer in the Groton Pixel newsletter is a share of our website-building expertise, including practical tips and tricks that people can apply to make their sites look and work better.
By offering up your own expertise, you establish yourself as a go-to expert in a field that your readers are interested in, whatever that field might be.
- If you are a law firm, you could offer a piece of general advice or your take on a recent legal development.
- If you are a hardware store, you could offer a home improvement tip.
- If you are a farm, you could provide a recipe that uses seasonable ingredients.
When your readers are ready to hire an expert, you will be at the top of their minds.
Another way to add value is to offer discounts, deals, or coupons. A money-saving offer available exclusively to your newsletter subscribers may drive readers to subscribe.
Extend Your Brand – You Are What You Do!
Your newsletter, like your website, is an extension of your brand.
A professional-looking and well-edited newsletter will help you look good and inspire confidence in your products and services. Used correctly, a newsletter will add value to your offerings, generate new prospects, and deepen the existing connections between you and your customers.
A few tips:
- Your newsletter should be written in your own unique and very specific style. Generic content is everywhere–be original!
- Your newsletter should be carefully edited for proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
- Your newsletter should link to your website for more in-depth content, and should reference your own products or services.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Set aside a definite amount of time for newsletter prep, each week or each month, and create your format and schedule accordingly.
- For maximum exposure, be sure to promote each new issue on your Facebook page and Twitter stream.
Don’t Be a Spammer – Or Even Look Like One
We hate spam. You hate spam. Everybody hates spam.
Most of us use filters to keep spam out of our inbox–and we still get upset whenever some unsolicited piece of unsavory garbage worms through the net.
In an ideal world, your highly-valued and much-desired newsletter would never be lumped in with the spam–not by the filter, and not by the recipient. But in our spam-saturated world, filters often register false positives, and users often use their spam folder as a dumping grounds for anything they don’t feel like reading.
If your mail ends up accidentally in too many spam filters, it may start to be targeted by the spam filters. And if you aren’t following the right protocols, it may actually qualify as spam!
Some tips to keep you out of the spam filter:
- Encourage subscribers to put your “sent from” address in their email address books.
- If you have the means, employ a reputable company that specializes in getting your legitimate opt-in newsletter address “whitelisted” by email providers.
- If you have the means, employ a email service provider that uses a dedicated IP address just for your verified mail.
- Include your physical address and contact information in each newsletter email, and otherwise comply with United States CAN-SPAM laws. Email sent internationally may need to comply with additional laws.
- Only send newsletters to recipients who have opted to receive them.
- Provide a double opt-in process by which recipients must request a subscription and separately verify their email address.
- Include a reminder in each issue, in case recipients have forgotten, that they came to be on your mailing list through an opt-in process.
- Provide a simple and immediate way for people to unsubscribe from the list.
- Do not provide subscriber information to unauthorized third parties, or use it for unauthorized purposes.
- When email “bounces back” from an email address that’s been discontinued, promptly remove it from your distribution list.
- Take care with your subject lines–avoid ALL CAPS, Dollar $igns as letters, and multiple exclamation points!!!!
- Use Contactology’s free Email Spam Checker tool to make sure you aren’t scoring high on the words and phrases that spammers like to use.
Our Newsletter Packages
Groton Pixel Farm offers three newsletter packages to get you started, to provide ongoing support, or take on the entire task of publishing your newsletter on a regular schedule.
Please note that rates are subject to change, and that any additional time required will be charged at our standard hourly rate for most services. Additional time required for copywriting will be charged at our premium hourly rate. Any third-party fees will be submitted for your approval in advance.
Do you have tips from your own newsletter or from one you subscribe to?
Leave your own newsletter-related tips, comments, and questions below.