Sales & Marketing

You don’t have to be an artist or a writer to engage your readers

By Brent Jolly |

Creating a stand-out client e-newsletter is a simple task within your reach, says Linda Daley, owner of e-newsletter firm the Daley Progress in Dartmouth, N.S. And that is true, she says, even if you don't consider yourself to be an artist or a writer.

Says Daley: "I tell clients, ‘If you aren't a good writer, don't let it stop you because it doesn't have to be exclusively about writing. It's more about knowing what your readers want'."

If you don't feel up to the task of writing an in-depth backgrounder on critical illness or disability insurance, for example, try surveying the field and "curating" content. That is, do some online research and compile what other experts have written. Just be sure to give credit and don't pass off their opinions as your own.



Daley offers the following tips to help you put together a stunning e-newsletter that gets noticed:

> Remember: content is king
A good client newsletter, whether printed and delivered as a hard copy or emailed, must have strong content as its foundation. Your objective should be to provide information — and not to sell your services.

About 80% of the content in your newsletter, Daley says, should be "value based" information.

"You want to get people to see the information you give them as valuable," she says, "rather than just trying to sell them something."

> Pick a theme
To help you decide on topics for your newsletter, structure your content thematically.

For example, in one issue, you might focus on retirement savings strategies, and then tackle intergenerational wealth planning in your next issue.

This strategy involves a little more planning. But it will help you identify and package the most relevant content for your audience. 

> Think visually
Remember the last time you opened a product prospectus and were greeted by a page after page of dense type? Avoid giving your readers that same sinking feeling.

Instead, employ diverse and dynamic visual content in your newsletter. That means plenty of pictures to attract the reader's eye and perhaps an embedded link to a video — for example, from a recent community event you helped sponsor.
 
That same rule applies for printed newsletters: use pictures and lots of colour. On a print newsletter, you can add a quick response or QR code to direct readers to a specific part of your website for additional content. 

> Be consistent
To build your newsletter into a valuable document for your clients, stick to a consistent publishing schedule.

Randomly sending off newsletters is unprofessional. Better to set a pattern so you clients know when to expect your next monthly or quarterly issue.

"Set out a schedule," Daley says, "and stick to it."

> Avoid gimmicks
Do use a clever subject line for your e-newsletter that is directly related to its content.

Don't use a gimmicky subject line that makes false promises. Your readers will only be disappointed.

"You don't want your readers to feel ripped off by what's in a subject line," Daley says. "They will unsubscribe, and you'll have lost them forever."

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