co How to Write a Great E-Newsletter, Draw Subscribers with Great Content |

E-newsletters are now an online marketing standard and a great way for small businesses to build their client base. Unlike print publication, e-newsletters can be sent via email and is a great way to connect with your audience between website visits–and it gives them a reason to return to your site.

E-newsletters are an effective way to increase website traffic, build your brand recognition and establish you and your company as an “expert” or authority in your field. And the added surprise is that if you write really good e-newsletter and you’re consistent, you might get invited to write a syndicated column, speak on the radio or TV program.

It all starts–and ends with content. Face it, everyone’s email overloaded and most of us subscribe to many more e-newsletters than we can possibly read. Yours has to be worth opening.

Do a bit of browsing, say on Yahoo! Google, or Topica and type in some of your keywords and e-newsletter and see what’s already out there. The easiest way to get started is to start with an e-newsletter template.

How to Write a Great E-Newsletter:

Every reader wants to feel that someone is talking directly to them. Pick a spokesperson and trickle in a few personal anecdotes here and there.

Be funny. Be opinionated. Be edgy. Be…something. Show some personality. Write in a conversational tone

Start with a Table of Contents–disclose what will be covered so that if something catches their attention, they can scroll right to it.

Write a feature story. Highlight a customer or recent event and make sure it has that inviting appeal–it’s uplifting and invites the reader to check out the rest of the newsletter.

Feature a customer–if you interview a customer or client, post their picture and use a quote, it’s almost a given they’ll tell all their family and friends to check out the newsletter.

Always include a calendar of events. If you always do a charity walk in the fall, list it. If you have seasonal promotions and sales, list those too. If you’re going to be featured on the radio–put it on the calendar!

People like factoids. Always include a couple of “Who Knew?” kind of quotes that they might want to pass onto a co-worker or friend.

Polls and contests are perfect to list on your newsletter.

If you get letters from customers and clients, list those too. Encourage those “letters to the editor,” and promise to answer them either on the newsletter or by personal email, and then keep your word.

Keep company business to a minimum. Do announce community service, new product or service announcements, or an addition to your staff, but keep it brief.

It’s best to go with a plain-text format for newsletters with a forced 50-character line length. You can offer HTML or rich media as an option, but default to text. Don’t include URLs with more than 50 characters because it will have to be split on two lines.

Keep e-newsletters to 5-7 pages. Unless you have experience and promote a lot of products, your readers will feel overwhelmed by mammoth newsletters.

Create an easy to read e-newsletter with solid content that’s delivered in a consistent and timely manner, and you’ll begin to see viewers subscribe and traffic build on your small business site.