Make the most out of your newsletter by tailoring its format, content and delivery method to the needs of your clients, says Richard Heft, executive director of Ext. Marketing Inc. in Toronto. The key to building a strong client communication strategy is identifying what your audience really wants.

> The medium is essential
Some older clients may prefer to receive their content in print form, Heft says, while younger clients prefer to read electronically. Either way, the vast majority of people are very particular about the form in which they want to receive content.

Heft recommends producing print copies of your newsletter in addition to a PDF version that can be distributed by email. Let your clients choose the way they wish to receive it.

This also works as an engagement strategy; you can ask which method your clients would prefer by calling, sending an email or asking during a meeting.

Most important, Canada’s anti-spam legislation stipulates that you will need permission from your clients before sending an e-newsletter. To remain compliant, you must receive permission (in writing or electronically) from current and potential clients before you can send them business-related content electronically. Be sure to keep a record of that consent.

> Keep it professional and readable
Avoid controversial or offensive topics and be sure to edit for grammar and typos, Heft says. Consider outsourcing design and writing support.

Whenever possible, use infographics, charts, tables and photos to break up the text. “People tend to like these features because it’s not just big blocks of copy,” Heft says. “And they capture the eye.”

If your newsletter is distributed in hardcopy, Heft says, four pages is typically enough to get your message across.

> Share content online
Leverage your newsletter by sharing articles on social media and on your website. For example, if your newsletter includes an article on registered education savings plans, post that article on your blog, tweet it on Twitter, and share it on LinkedIn or other professional networking sites.

“Content in a newsletter can have a shelf life of one day because it can be deleted or thrown out,” Heft says. “But you can always leverage and ‘drip’ various parts of the newsletter online over the course of the quarter, so it has a longer shelf life.”

This is the third part in a three-part series on client newsletters.