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E-mail Newsletter Update: It's Almost Ready

by Alf Nucifora

The indomitable task of developing my much promised and now overdue email newsletter is almost at an end. More than two thousand client and prospect names and email addresses from my ACT 2000 database have now been transferred to CD and are on their way to touchMarketing.com, the firm that has been helping me design the program and will ultimately be responsible for the newsletter's email distribution. The design template has been completed and it looks good. For those who can receive html emails, the layout is easy on the eye, loaded with color and a very easy read.

Speaking of Design...
In developing the layout, we adhered to some very basic design tips:

  • The newsletter is somewhat similar in design to my web site so that there is consistency and familiarity between the two.
  • The email file size has been limited to 25K to prevent lengthy uploading time…a not insignificant issue for those without broadband capability or reading from home.
  • We've kept it clean and concise in an attempt to limit the clutter, much like USA Today.
  • Easy links have been provided in a highly visible spot so that the recipient can email the newsletter to a friend who, in turn, can subscribe at the click of a button.
  • Also, there is a highly visible button for those who want to "unsubscribe."
  • We've limited the newsletter to three pages. Research shows that nobody will scroll through more than that.
  • There is a link to an easily printable (text) version.
  • Content includes a veritable potpourri of information... valuable statistics, research data, favorite sites, book review, and some short, interesting how-to articles. Even some funny stuff.
  • And, there's a feedback link where readers can tell us what they like, don't like and would like to see in future issues.

Implementation Tactics
With the first edition slated to go out in early September, there will be a certain amount of testing to work out all the bugs.

The mailing list recipients will receive a short text message to test html capability of their email service. They'll receive a brief announcement that the newsletter is coming. It also gives them the opportunity to opt-out/unsubscribe early on in the process. This test message will be made as appealing as possible because we have to get recipients to actually open the email. Statistics show that only 15% of first-time recipients will actually click on the subject line to open a first-time message from a sender who they're not familiar with. It can take up to 5 emailings to get that number to the 65% level.

Before sending out the html email newsletters themselves, they'll be tested with the major providers including MSN, Yahoo!, Hotmail, Excite, AOL, Earthlink, etc. And, availability of the newsletter will be publicized wherever possible... on my business stationery and web site. The key is to let people know that it exists and encourage them to try a trial read.

For additional tips on designing your email newsletter go to www.wilsonweb.com and www.ezine-tips.com. Both offer good, in-depth design advice.

And, if you want to see the end-result of this laborious process and learn from my experience, you can subscribe online.

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