Virtually every website marketing book I have laid my hands on encourages the use of newsletters as a fundamental marketing tool and I have to agree too; newsletters are an excellent way to keep you customers, prospective and present, up to date of new products or events surrounding your business or organization. But most folks often don't know where or how to start. This article will give you some easy tips to get going.
What kind of software do I need?
To start, you need nothing fancier than what you probably already have installed. All you need is MS Word which will has all the tools for you to create a quick and unique newsletter template. There are also premade templates like the ones at (here comes that plug!) iNewslettertemplates.com. When I used the templates the first time, I fell in love with their simplicity and how easy it was for a complete computer novice like me to use. You don't need a high spec computer running the latest desktop publishing software. However, if you do want to widen your design options, you might want to consider spending a bit on one of those higher end packages like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw.
What does a good newsletter consist of?
Two things: good content and good design. Basically, when creating newsletters, you will have to bear in mind that a good newsletter will have relevant, useful content that will inform and, dare I say, entertain the reader. An effective newsletter will create interest and maintain readability. Also, the design of the newsletter should be consistent (like using grids for page to page consistency and using templates for consistent formatting), conventional in its design (using frames and boxes in moderation and using graphics and photos sparingly) and it should have contrast in its design (like using more white spaces and high contrast typefaces).
What should the main focus of newsletters be?
Content, content and content! I cannot stress enough on the importance of this. Ever heard of the cliché 'content is king'? Well, it applies here too. How much you write will depend on what you want to say and your budget. Regardless, what you say should always be of value - never put out a newsletter just for the sake getting one out there.
Should I print the newsletters myself or have them printed somewhere else?
If you are only producing a few hundred single-sided newsletters, then using an inkjet printer maybe the cheaper option. If the numbers go into the thousands, then going for litho printing is the best for a better-quality feel. You can call local businesses and ask them if they have special rates (if you're in a rush) or if you have a little more time, you can find some pretty good online options. Whichever option you chose, just be sure you see a proof before it goes to print.
And finally, some three last tips
- Start small - If you are looking to produce your newsletter quickly, the most obvious thing you do is to get yourself a decent template. It will be much easier if you already have an off-the-shelf newsletter layout template to use. This pertains equally whether you are publishing your newsletter offline or online. Of course, you will need a variety of templates depending on your final medium of distribution.
- Do your research - Have your content ready before you start the layout of your newsletter. Presuming that your newsletter will be sent out on a frequent basis, you may want to decide on an effective name and tagline for it as well.
- Be organized and plan ahead - plan in advance by more than one edition at a time. Select a theme for each edition instead of tackling a bunch of random subjects. Try to seasons, holidays or current events as a way to stay topical and relevant.
That's it! Newsletters are so simple it can be done by anyone- schools, teachers, organizations etc. And it's cheaper too; you get exposure to a wider audience for much less than you normally have to spend. Good luck!