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We've just launched our new website and we're looking to include a newsletter that will be sent out once a quarter. We're struggling a bit for ideas on what to include in the newsletter.

There's the usual "recent projects" and any news regarding the company but we're trying to avoid it being "me, me, me"!

Has anyone got some nice examples or any ideas of some things to include.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Some things I've included:

  • "How-to" guides. (e.g. Getting started with email marketing/adding social media buttons to your site/how to build traffic etc.)
  • Case studies of recent work. (This is the problem they had. This is how we solved it. These are the benefits it brought. Want this feature on your site? Get in touch!)
  • Special offers and discounts.
  • Invitations to complete surveys/offer feedback and testimonials.
  • Summaries of news and distractions from around the Web. (e.g. "What we're watching/reading/tweeting etc.")

In short, there are ways to promote yourselves while still being helpful and entertaining, largely by focussing on your clients and what would help them. Think about the newsletters you enjoy reading and analyse the content in those.

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Cool, that's kinda along the lines I was thinking. We want to get the maximum out of it for minimum effort! We just have to accept it's going to take time to produce each quarter. –  Rob Jul 11 '11 at 9:16
    
@Rob I think of newsletters as short blog posts with calls to action. If you set up a good template and use a simple delivery service like MailChimp, they're pretty easy to put together after the first one. –  Nick Jul 11 '11 at 9:19
    
Yep we're on Mailchimp, we run several successful newsletters for our clients but were trying to think of something a bit different for our own newsletter. We haven't got a great deal of company news, just lots and lots of projects. We're planning on giving away a free e-book with every signup to build our list up. Twitter pretty much handles itself so it was just ideas to keep people interested. Your invitation section has sparked some ideas, so thanks for that. –  Rob Jul 11 '11 at 9:31

@Nick's comments cover all of the bases, but do you really need to offer discounts?

Maybe you could make clear that you provide free consultations or are willing to spend a certain amount of time on a pitch/proposal on a 'no-win/no-fee' basis. You could also offer your customers 'back-handers' for getting new business from another company for you, however, 'back-handers' will need to be sold a bit fluffier than that even if it amounts to the same thing.

For introduction, you can write articles that focus on trends in graphics/web design plus topics that always interest people, e.g. what new colours are 'in' for the next season. Hopefully such content will encourage your customers to be inspired, maybe inspired enough to come to you with some new work.

There is no harm in repeating what-your-basic-business-offering is. Hopefully you understand the 'pain' of your customers and offer them 'pain-free' ways to achieve their goals. Learn to understand what most people hate about how website projects are delivered and write with a pre-emptive response to that. Truth is that most companies have a loath-hate relationship with 'web developers' so there are plenty of opportunities out there for the picking.

Must-have technological extras that play on 'FUD' could also be a sales 'in'. Adding microformats to a site is a very good idea if you want sensible search rankings, SPF records on emails to make sure emails get read is another idea, albeit outside the 'design remit'.

This sort of content widens your newsletter to a business audience, these smaller tasks also give your customers an opportunity to work with you on something that is manageable and not of great risk. If you can turn around a client's email 'always ending up in SPAM' they will be grateful to you and you will have that element of trust. You will also show you don't just do pretty web-pages, you also can do things more pertinent to their business needs.

Through delivering one of your normal design projects, you will learn and master a topic or two. At the end you can write it up succinctly as only someone that understands their stuff can. If you can then confer this gift of knowledge onto your customer base then the penny will drop, they may understand a topic that has eluded them for some time.

An example topic is site migration, what needs doing before and after go-live. Again, this will make the impossible (moving website) seem possible.

With your language you can talk up to your audience, to 'raise their intellect' during the reading of your newsletter, not to talk down, or dumb down. Note that the best writing does not use the biggest words, so hone your prose and make sure there are no errors.

I imagine you will be wanting to impress with design. Get your newsletter looking the part so that your abilities in this area are implicitly stated.

It goes without saying that nobody will read your newsletter if the subject is no good. The subject is only there to get people to open your newsletter, it does not have to have any relevance to the content, so long as you qualify it somehow. You need not stoop to tabloid style headlines (e.g. "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster") but you should be thinking on the same lines - what is going to make people want to read this?

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