If you're not already publishing an e-mail newsletter or "e-zine," then you should! E-zines are a simple, inexpensive, and VERY effective way to promote your business, attract new customers, and encourage repeat sales. While sending out a text e-zine may seem like a piece of cake, there's more to it than you may think. *Good formatting* is name of game.
Here's a handy checklist I use to make sure each of my issues is in great shape BEFORE I send it out. Please be my guest and use it for yourself!
1. Are all lines 65 characters or less?
More than that and your missive may come through looking messy to many subscribers. End each line with a hard return by pressing "enter" key.
2. Have you made sure there's no auto-formatting, such as bolding, italics, or underlining?
These features don't translate well in e-mail and can come out looking mighty strange on other end. Instead, emphasize words or phrases with *asterisks,* "quotation marks," or ALL CAPS ... sparingly. While words in all-caps make an impact when used occasionally, they're extremely hard to read and can come across as "screaming" to your readers -- not a good thing.
3. Are all sections neatly separated?
Use underscores (_____), asterisks (******), another nifty symbol ($$$$$, %%%%, @@@@), or a combination thereof (<<==>>) to help define each area and help your readers skim your issue more easily.
4. Do all Web links include "http://" before them?
Some e-mail programs won't automatically hyperlink a URL in your text without this prefix. So don't take a chance -- make it easy for your readers to click and link, especially to YOUR site!
5. Do all e-mail links include "mailto:" before them?
Same idea here: Some e-mail programs won't automatically hyperlink an e-mail address in your text without it. Be sure to leave no space between colon and first character of address.
6. Is your masthead at very top?
The masthead, or "nameplate," typically features your e-zine name, your name, your e-mail address, your Web address, and correct date, volume number, and issue number. Make it FIRST thing your readers see. Do NOT put an ad first -- your readers may mistake your e-zine for spam.