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In this article I’m going to tell you secrets to creating a great newsletter that will have your visitors coming back to your site in a shot! I’m going to discuss what type of content you should publish in your newsletter, how often you should send your newsletter out, and most importantly, how to “speak” to your visitors through your newsletter to have maximum impact and drive them back to your site in droves.
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A newsletter is one of most cost effective and quickest ways to communicate with your sites visitor base. However, if you’re sending your visitors newsletters that contain old, stale content, spelling errors, dead links or too much advertising, then what’s chance that they will return to your site? The number one purpose of sending a newsletter is to try and get each and every subscriber to come back to your site. How do I do that then, you ask? Through interesting, informative content, that’s how.
Here are a couple of ideas for content that you can put in your newsletter:
A what’s happening section that informs visitors of any new additions to your site since last newsletter was sent out. In this section you can tell visitors about any new articles or interesting additions to your web site. Here’s a snippet of what I published in my recent newsletter:
-- What's Happing @ devArticles.com? ------------------
Hello Everyone, Welcome to mid-January 2002 issue of DevXPress. It's been another extremely busy yet productive month over at devArticles.com, so let's take a look at some new features that both myself and our entire team have helped add to site:
Publish results of your latest voting poll. What’s that? You don’t have a poll on your site? Naughty naughty. Head on over to http://www.ballot-box.net and get your free poll up and running in 5 minutes. Whenever you send out a newsletter, change poll and include results of last poll in your newsletter. Use something like this:
The last poll question was "What type of content would you like to see more of on devarticles.com?". There were a total of 149 votes. The results are shown below:
- Articles: 58 votes or 39% - Book Reviews: 11 votes or 7% - Product Reviews: 13 votes or 9% - Interviews: 14 votes or 9% - Case Studies: 33 votes or 22% - Sample Books Chapters: 20 votes or 13%
The poll for first half of February 2002 is sure to start some raving and ranting and is entitled "In Netscape sues Microsoft case, who are you rallying for?". It's ready for your vote right now. Visit www.devarticles.com to vote.
Notice how I’ve mentioned details of current poll and have given user a reason to re-visit my site to vote again? I do this in different ways throughout my entire newsletter.
Add your personality to newsletter by addressing your readers and letting them know that you’re there if they ever need anything. In my newsletter I publish first half, and my newsletter manager Todd publishes rest. Here’s what I usually write to cap off my half:
Well guys, that's my two cents worth for these past two weeks at devArticles.com. If you've got any questions or suggestions, please email email@example.com or post them in our forums.
I know it doesn’t seem like much, but think about what would happen if I left it out. In my experiences, visitors like to know that there’s a real person writing newsletter and that it’s not compiled by some super computer on other side of world. I also write newsletter for my other site, TechBuy, where I always (without a doubt) include a personal message to our readers.
Include unique content that they can’t find anywhere else. In my newsletter I always include a “hot tips” section that lists five hot tips that users can benefit from immediately. Depending on your target audience, you could include simple tips such as this (I run a programming related site, therefore I publish tips on how to program effectively):
In C# you can place code within a checked block to have C# compiler throw an exception if any overflow occurs when casting one data type to another.
Or, you can include more advanced tips like this:
In ASP you can use DateDiff function to work out difference between dates in terms of either days, weeks, months, years, etc. To get number of days between Jan 1st 2001 and Dec 31st 2002, use it like this:
Dim oldDate Dim newDate oldDate = "01/01/2001" newDate = "31/12/2002" Response.Write DateDiff("D", oldDate, newDate)
These tips are unique to my newsletter and I always sit down for at least an hour to plan these tips. Sure, they’re only a couple of lines long each, but when a visitor finds a tip that helps them out, then I can be guaranteed that they will be on my site quicker that I can say “boo”.
Another great (although time consuming) method to add value to your newsletter is to include a "newsletter only" article with every issue. Take 2-3 hours a week and write a 1,000-2,000 word article that you include exclusively with your newsletter. Mention this on your newsletter signup form and watch your subscriptions soar.
What kind of content should you include in this article? Well, include content that relates to some of more popular articles listed on your site, you know, ones that visitors have emailed you about saying how they’ve helped them accomplish a certain task, etc. Your visitors will love this article because it’s an additional bonus that no one gets but them.