Designing a Digital Newsletter for your company

Newsletters are an extremely cost-effective communication and promotional media. These periodicals offer on-going communication to potential buyers, current and past customers, dealers and wholesalers along with allied organizations. A well-designed newsletter is a combination of informative content, new product and service PR, sales promotions and advertising components.

Information about the company, its’ products, services and employees published in newsletters has been shown not only to impress outsiders, but also boost company moral and even increased productivity. Newsletters are also great in recruiting and hiring. These house organs can also be effective in responding to and mitigating problems and misconceptions.

An impressive Newsletter campaign must be comprised of the following elements

What is the Objective? What does the marketer hope to achieve with a newsletter program? There usually are a combination of reasons why a company may decide to utilize newsletters in their marketing. These need to be specified in order to develop an effective newsletter campaign. An objective evaluation by a Marketing Professional is essential to assist the company in establishing an effective strategy.

Who is the Audience? The target market may be consumers or trade oriented for sellers. Specifying the audience profile will determine the content and form of the newsletter. The marketer decides who their primary target market will be, but it may not be limited to just one segment. There may be a combination of profiles so this needs to be taken into consideration in the content. In some cases the recipients are determined by a Company database or mailing list. However, mailing lists of target markets can be utilized as well.

When will they come out?  They must be consistent and issued on a regular schedule, like the same date each month or quarter. Sporadic issues are not effective. Monthly editions are pretty much standard, although businesses that have a lot of activity, may go bi-monthly or even weekly. Some firms issue quarterly Reports these are formatted differently than a Newsletter.

Deciding the Format. What will be in your newsletter? It must be comprised of specific sections or columns that appear consistently in every issue. Think of the daily newspaper; it has a front page, a sports page, a financial section and a Op-Ed page. These remain consistent in every issue while the content changes. So, every Newsletter must also follow a format and be comprised of the established sections for continuity.

What will be the Content? What do we want to tell our audience? The subject matter needs to be interesting to the readers. It must be user-friendly and written to the lowest level of the audience without insulting the highest. In other words, if the Newsletter it too technical or specialized, you will lose the portion of your audience that is not sophisticated enough to understand it. Likewise, if it is written to simplistic it will be boring to the upper levels of your market. A skilled writer will know how to appeal to the full spectrum of a marketers’ audience.

The Design. What is it going to look like? The layout should be in keeping with the company’s’ image and the industry it serves. A newsletter for a high-tech firm will look different then a manufacturer of off-road automotive products. A more formal “Corporate Look” is applicable in some businesses, while other companies may have a more whimsical layout. The design includes the page layout, the use of graphics and photos and even selection of fonts. All issues of a newsletter series should have a consistent, uniform design so every issue looks like it came from the same source.

How will it be produced? This is the entire process of creating (writing and photographing) , laying it out, proofing, correcting and finalizing the artwork ready for print. It starts with assembling the elements by gathering input and information far in advance and planning to meet the deadline. Input will initially come through the Marketer, but outside research may be required. The writer composes the articles and editorial. Photos need to be scheduled and taken or obtained and graphics created. All of these elements are organized into a comprehensive layout for Marketer approval. The Client has the ultimate responsibility to proof and make corrections prior to publication. Once approved, Newsletters are produced in digital print and interactive on-line PDF versions.

How will it be reproduced? Digital newsletters, that are emailed and/or posted are the most cost effective, but hard copy versions are desirable for future use. In some cases, copies may be runoff on the office copy machine or at the local Office Supply. For multiple page, high-volume and quality copies, a printer can be that service. Printing is coordinated by the newsletter publisher.

How and when will it be distributed? Coordinated time is critical. While Newsletters can be delivered in a variety of forms and in a combination of ways, such as mailing, emailing, and posting on websites and through Social Media, all of the newsletters must go out to arrive at the same time no matter what the method. For mass distribution a printer/mailing house can be utilized. However, the mailing list must be provided by the marketer, unless a mailing list is purchased. For most small to medium sized companies a company database is used.

Who is going to do your newsletter? Now that we have outlined the complexity of designing and producing a newsletter campaign, the question who is going to do all this? In many cases companies that have tried to do it in-house have found it to be more difficult than they anticipated.

Why use a professional to do your newsletter campaign? Three major reasons; experience, creativity, but most important outside objectivity. A Marketing Consultant will work with the client’s marketing team to address the important issues and will convey a positive message. An experienced Professional knows how to gather information and input from the Client and put a positive spin on it. Editorial, written by a third party, is most often viewed by readers as unbiased and impartial, whereas company management statements are considered less creditable self-promotion. A professional, with Newsletter experience, is use to working on deadlines and offers creative ideas for topics, presentation and motivation of reader response.

For information on how your business can benefit from a newsletter campaign, contact: Tom Smisek Marketing Consultant