Issue #4     










The Power of the Newsletter

Solidifying Customer Relationships with Captivating, Relevant, Durable Content


>>  Do you have important news and information to share with your customers?

INCOMPAS can help you strengthen your relationship with your customers with our newsletter development tips and plan for creating engaging newsletter content.


>>  Looking for a professional to deliver relevant content to your customers?

Contact us today.


INCOMPAS Communications

T: 604.302.2055  |  F: 604.852.6274  |  E: info@incompas.com  |  W: www.incompas.com



You’ve worked hard to gain your customers’ business and want to explore ways to strengthen your relationship with them while informing them of important news and information. One proven method of maintaining regular contact with existing and potential customers is by distributing a company newsletter. But wait! Before you begin developing your first issue, don’t make the common mistake of thinking your newsletter is another opportunity to “sell” more products and services. Newsletters are NOT ads; what’s more, if you make the mistake of treating your newsletter like an advertisement you will not only turn off many of your valued customers, you will risk destroying that coveted trust that you’ve worked so hard to develop.


Think of your newsletter as an intangible agreement you make with your customers. They’re living up their end of the agreement by opening your newsletter and scanning it for information that is relevant to them; your end of the agreement is to deliver content that your customers will find engaging, relevant and pertinent to their needs. If they enjoy the read, if they learn something new, if they’re left with a positive feeling, then your newsletter has succeeded in boosting their perception of your company and they will likely purchase more products and services from your organization in the future.


The trick to writing effective newsletter content is to stick to what you know best and share your knowledge and experience with your customers. Don’t assume that your customers will know what you consider basic information – it’s amazing how much knowledge and experience business owners simply take for granted. Think of your newsletter as an opportunity to share your expertise and teach what you have learned about your products and your industry. When assembling the content, ask yourself if the information you are assembling will be helpful, interesting and useful to your customers in some way. 


INCOMPAS can assist you in writing and producing your own effective newsletter content, or we can edit your existing newsletter and offer constructive advice on how to strengthen your editorial product. To get you started, we’ve developed a step-by-step guide to assist you in producing a winning newsletter.



Step-by-Step Plan for Developing Durable Newsletter Content


1)       Be in tune with your audience – Always put yourself in your readers’ shoes by thinking about what matters to them. What are their most frequently asked questions when it comes to your products and services? Ask your customers about what issues matter most to them. Hold a brainstorm session with your colleagues and talk to your sales, administrative and technical staff – the front line for your customers; ask them what they think is on your customers’ minds.

2)       Build a solid foundation – Decide how many pages your newsletter will be and think carefully about how often you can realistically produce an issue. Develop a budget, and be realistic about the time and expense required to assemble, write, design, edit and distribute each issue of a newsletter. Assemble the team you will require to help you develop and maintain a quality newsletter. Ideally, you will have an editor in place to manage and deliver polished content and a designer to establish and maintain a distinct, refined look.

3)       Establish an editorial calendar – Plan your issues in advance, develop an editorial calendar and decide on a production schedule. Give your contributors plenty of lead time and clearly written writers guidelines, including word count expectations and photo requirements. Because you will likely depend on volunteers to contribute to your newsletter, realize that the only person who will respect imposed deadlines will be you. Allow plenty of time in your production schedule to allow for unexpected delays.

4)       Develop centralized themes – Start by grouping your newsletter content around a central theme that will tie all articles together. Working to a theme will help you focus your content and will help your readers better relate to your company, products and services. When structuring your newsletter, start with one or two short feature articles (such as a customer testimonial or case study, or an article examining a current, newsworthy issue) and follow with regular departments reporting product, company and industry news, and providing seasonal advice, tips & tricks, frequently asked questions (faqs), training, trends, etc. Ask a leader in your organization to write a column each issue, and place this column in a prominent position in your newsletter, preferably immediately following your “lead” feature. Once you establish a newsletter structure, follow it every issue to give your readers a greater feeling of continuity and brand recognition. Don’t forget to leave space for a linking Table of Contents or a box explaining what’s inside.

5)       Focus on content first – Don’t let fancy graphics and colourful images distract you from delivering engaging, relevant content. Develop the content first and ensure the newsletter’s design supports and highlights your message. When writing, remember that newsletter articles should be short and direct; place all of your most important information in the first sentence or paragraph if you can. If an article requires a more in-depth approach, write a short newsletter introduction and summary highlighting the main points of the story, and provide a link to a more detailed article in your website. This option will enable you to populate your newsletter with a variety of quick-read articles, drive traffic to your site while allowing anyone interested to read on for more information, and build on the trusted relationship that you have established by delivering a relevant, interesting and entertaining newsletter.

6)       Use active voice – Don’t get lost in passive land! Keep your sentence structure short, snappy and active. Passive voice can be tricky to spot; watch your word order, since a passive construction presents the object first and the subject last. For example, “ABC Corporation designed the new widgets to improve efficiency” is a more effective than “The new widgets were designed by ABC Corporation in an effort to improve efficiency.” Also when writing, always ask yourself, ‘who cares?’ and ‘why is this information important to my audience/customers?’ Place contact and other support information in sidebars, giving your readers quick visual reference points.

7)       Write an attention-grabbing subject line – When distributing your newsletter by e-mail, your subject line should tie directly to a specific headline article in your newsletter, and – most importantly – it must stand out distinctively amidst the multitude of subject lines in your recipients’ Inboxes. Your subject line should also give your readers a clear idea of the main theme and subject matter of your newsletter.

8)       Provide opt-in options – Manage subscriber expectations right from the start by explaining to your readers the editorial focus and purpose of your newsletter, as well as the value your readers can expect to receive by receiving and reading it. Provide a link to back issues to give people an idea of the general nature of your newsletter, and give them options to unsubscribe from receiving your newsletter electronically or in print form. Follow the standard rules that dictate distribution of responsible permissions-based e-mail practices.

9)       Read up on your competition – Reading newsletters produced by your competitors and other industry participants will help you generate new ideas, and stay abreast of what people in your industry are talking about. If your competitor covers a topic of great importance to your industry, it is perfectly acceptable for you to cover that topic as well; for best results, wait a few issues and approach the issue from a completely different perspective.

10)  Seek reader feedback – First, talk to your customers about the articles you’re developing and ask their permission to publish their comments in your article. Watch to see how people scan your newsletter. Talk with a new sampling of readers after each issue, and conduct regular formal readership surveys. Monitor click-through rates and use web analytics to help you track reader response to the articles you present, and use this information to guide you as you develop future issues. Don’t be afraid to get a little controversial. Establish a strong editorial voice and an open forum, and get people talking by inviting your readers into the dialogue.



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