Science fiction, fantasy, & horror - web design, graphic design, interactive media development by greententacles

Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror - Web Design, Graphic Design, Interactive Media Development by Greententacles 2019-01-20 GMT

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Create a Newsletter

~ by N. E. Lilly (February 2001) ~


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An online newsletter is a great way to keep loyal fans involved with your business. Basically an online newsletter is an opt-in mailing list with a specific purpose. It's kind of like spam (junk e-mail) except the person receiving it actually wants the e-mail.

The newsletter could inform the subscribers about changes within your company, changes to your web site, recently released products, or any other information that would be deemed necessary.

Some of the benefits of creating a newsletter for your business are as follows:

The Newsletter Process

Generally here is what happens in a working newsletter.

For the person who subscribes to a newsletter:

Pre-subscription: The possible subscriber reads the information about the newsletter, what is its purpose, and maybe even a sample newsletter.

Subscription: The subscriber fills out a web form asking for subscriber information, which may be very complex, or as simple as only asking for an e-mail address.

Delivery: The newsletter arrives in the mailboxes of the subscribers. Unsubscription: The subscriber decides that the newsletter is no longer worth their time, that they are no longer interested in the product, and for whatever reason, decides that they no longer wish to receive the newsletter.

On the administrative end, the person in charge of the newsletter:

  • Collects and maintains subscriber addresses
  • Writes the Newsletter (gathers the articles and information
  • Publishes the Newsletter (sends it out)
  • Each step can be done by 'hand' using the appropriate applications, but the job could be made much easier by using specific newsletter programs to automate much of the process.

    Some programs are expensive and easy to use, others and free and quite a bit harder to maintain. Finding a good newsletter program is beyond the scope of this article. You have to search to find the right one for you.

    The Parts of a Newsletter

    There are several sections that an online newsletter should have to be successful.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS:
    Simply list the information that will be found in this particular newsletter.
    EDITORIAL:
    An opening editorial statement you could use to introduce topics in the newsletter
    SITE UPDATE:
    Give them information and links about updated areas of your site and let them know that you've posted more photos in the gallery section, or have posted a interview with one of your key employees.
    NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS:
    This section would cover news about your company and its fans, as well as new products that will be released.
    ARTICLES:
    This section would contain articles (that may or may not be mirrored on your web site) that are useful to the people subscribing to your newsletter.
    CLASSIFIED ADS:
    Use this section to tell them about recent job openings at your company. Tell them that you're looking for cheap land in Minnesota, tell them that you need help manning the booth at an upcoming convention. Help your fans to give back to your company that they love so much.
    FOOTER:
    A section with additional information such as e-mail addresses for complaints, suggestions, and possibly submissions. Most importantly is information on how to unsubscribe from the list.

    Standardizing these sections, which can appear in any order, will make writing the newsletter easier. You will know what kinds of things to be on the lookout for and what kinds of articles you need to write, or contract out.

    The Content of a Newsletter

    Now that you know what the sections of a newsletter are, what do you put into them, and what makes a good newsletter? Well, the answer varies. For the most part a good news letter properly address its audience, shares timely and useful information, and doesn't waste the subscriber's time. Of course this means different things to different people.

    The newsletter exists to promote your business - but that doesn't mean you should try to press the hard sell on your subscribers and come off sounding like a salesman. The people who subscribe already are familiar with your products, to some degree, and they are looking for new information about them. Usually all that is needed is a brief announcement and a link to more information. The subscribers will do the rest.

    Figure out what the subscriber wants, and give it to them. Often they'll tell you.

    Write about what your subscribers want to know - not about what you want to tell them. Treat the newsletter as an informal press release to your fans - if they've signed up for the newsletter then they want information. Make sure you have a passion for what you're saying before you say it - if you don't then your subscribers will know it. Spend time on writing the newsletter and read it aloud before you send it out - a sloppy, incomprehensible newsletter will go right into the trash bin.

    Make sure that you have good information and good relevant content for your subscribers and don't be shy about telling them that you exist and that your products are there for their enjoyment.

    When It All Comes Together

    Having an online newsletter won't do you a bit of good if you don't make people aware of it. Make it visible and advertise it. If you bury the subscription information six pages deep on your web site then it won't benefit anyone.

    If you liked this article and would like to see a working newsletter (as well as see us practice what we preach), you can join our newsletter, 'The Salient Green Mailer'

    Subscribe to 'The Salient Green Mailer'


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