The Web Authority
Thursday, January 17
  Top Email E-Newsletter Tips
In my theme of top tips or best practices this week, here are my top tips for e-newsletters.

1. Make sure before you send your first e-newsletter, or for that matter even set up a subscription based list, that you have a privacy policy on your website. Note what you will do with the list. For example, we state that we only use our list for our own marketing endeavors, that we will never sell or rent our list, that if we ever change our policies we will post them on the policy page and give ten days notice, and finally that if you contact us, we will automatically add your name to our list. Make sure you have yourself similarly covered before you even start e-newsletter content creation or marketing using an e-newsletter.

2. In your very first e-newsletter make sure to introduce yourself, provide one great article that subscribers will read to determine if they want to stay subscribed to your list, and ask readers to confirm their subscription or explain how to unsubscribe from your list. Transparency is crucial in keeping people on your list that you have automatically subscribed as business contacts when you set up your initial subscriber list.

3. Stay consistent. If you say that you will email to your list weekly with store specials do just that. If it is monthly don't slip to a quarterly blast. I even recommend going so far as to lock your delivery to a date. For example on my list, I always send my monthly e-newsletter on the first of every month, regardless what day of the week that is. My subscribers know to expect my newsletter on the first and contact me to ask if they had missed my newsletter and to resend it to them if I have sent it out late. So build readership by staying with a schedule for day and frequency.

4. Keep your e-newsletter short! This is not a place for boring dissertations. Short and sweet is the key. If your article is long, consider putting in a teaser and then linking to the full article back on your website. From my personal experience, it is best to do one larger article and maybe two small features. I have also found that typically if you post the rest of the article back on your website very few readers will actually go there to read the rest, so keep that in mind and keep your articles newsy but fairly short. That doesn't mean go light on content! Make sure to offer something of real value or interest to your audience. That leads to number 5.

5. Keep your articles unique and interesting. This dovetails nicely with number 4. Short is good, but interesting is crucial. I have come up with a combination for my own newsletter of one feature, one small article, and one "bright idea" tip. The tip article is fairly short, but sometimes I have to scour the Web to find one. I have had clients write in frequently to let me know how much they have enjoyed or benefited from the tip.

Try out some of these thoughts for your own e-newsletter program. E-newsletters are a great way to keep in regular contact in a meaningful way with clients and prospects. I have had several clients who have read my newsletter for as long as six months and then contacted me for a project, so I know that e-newsletters do work!

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I am the President of McCord Web Services LLC. My firm has been providing Internet services for over seven years.

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