It's tough, because we live in a world of cynical consumers who feel they're being marketed at from every angle. I know. I—someone in the marketing business!—habitually throw away stuffers in my regular mail because I've mentally check it off as "junk mail."
So how can you improve the odds that your members are reading your newsletter? Here are a few ideas:
- Make it a self-mailer: That's when you design it with an area for an address label, so that when your printer folds it, you can seal it with a little clear, round sticker (that keeps Canada Post and their machinery happy), affix an address label, and add a stamp (stamps make Canada Post extra-extra happy!) Perhaps you have an indicia from Canada Post that you can include in the design on the same side as the address label space. Either way, when it arrives on its own, odds are better someone will open it and read it.
- Make it available online: This can be as a .pdf file on your home page. Or as an attachment of that same .pdf sent to your members who have shared their e-mail address with you. Or in full on a special newsletter page on your website, if you have that capability. (NOTE: If you don't have or aren't considering creating an e-mail database of your members, you'd better start. Make it part of your new account opening. Seriously, do it now!)
- Make it available offline: That means in a physical sense in the physical world. So in-branch, on staff members desks, perhaps a few copies mailed out to your business members. Put it in any other venue you think members will interact with it. However, online is critical, because more and more consumers are choosing this medium to stay informed. I don't have stats on-hand, but would I ever lie to you?
- Make it readable: I may have a huge ego, but I think part of the reason this blog gets the traffic it does is because I have a unique tone and style of writing. Make sure your newsletter does too. This might hurt to hear, but financial news isn't always that exciting. Your point of view on it is what will make it interesting and pull readers in.
- Reward readership: A simple contest only available to newsletter readers is a perfect way to do this. Make it easy for them, too. Ask them to e-mail their favorite photo caption from that issue, or to suggest a topic for another issue. The reward can be as simple as a free lunch. Or chocolate. Oh. That last one is what works for ME.
- Encourage participation: The newsletter should reflect the interests of the readership, otherwise they really won't care. Ask for suggestions for topics, or for article submissions. Again, reward the participation in some way.
Did my bossiness at the end of point two irk you? Or do you love my straight-talkin' ways? Let me know by leaving a comment.