This post starts with a story about my car. The other day, I had to bring it in to the shop. I’d noticed that my fuel economy was off by a measurable amount and I couldn’t figure out what was causing this. I suppose I could have just ignored it, but that’s never wise to do mechanical things. And besides, careful use of non-renewable resources is one of those things that matters to me.
Turns out one of the rear brake cylinders had seized. Not all the way. Just ever-so-slightly, such that it was causing the engine to work just a little harder because something was dragging a tiny bit on one of the brake drums. It’s running fine now (and thanks again, Bruno).
Tuneups are handy. Under the watchful eye of a trusted professional, they can save you a lot of time and money.
Your marketing content is no different. The tools your business uses to communicate can benefit from the occasional tuneup.
Online newsletters are especially important to keep in top-operating shape. As a professional copywriter, I see first-hand how much is invested into this valuable product—both in terms of establishing a reader base and developing great content.
You have a vested interest in making sure your e-newsletter (or even print, for you old-schoolers out there) is meeting your goals: staying on your reader’s radar by providing something useful to them.
Here are six things you need to be doing to make sure your newsletter is doing all it should for your business.
1. Ensure readability: If it’s hard to read, it’s hard to understand” and even harder to be memorable. Choose a typeface for your copy that’s easy on the eye and scales properly from small to large print. And don’t forget linespacing! A subtle shift from 1.0 to 1.3 spacing can make a big difference between cluttered and orderly looking copy.
2. Make the reader’s experience your #1 priority: Your newsletter should offer the same kind of experience that your customers enjoy when working with you. Even though a newsletter implies that it’s news about you, present news that matters to your reader. Want to share the news about a great new staffing addition to your team? Show your readers how this benefits them in terms of new skills or improved service.
3. Scale to mobile: Mobile traffic is exploding. A study by Cisco suggests global mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold by 2015. It’s time to get serious about ensuring your content looks just as great for readers on mobile devices as other sources. Check typography and linespacing in your newsletter content and test it out on a range of smartphones and tablets. Avoid fonts that appear squashed. Mobile device emulators like this one are also helpful for quick testing of content.
4. Go outside: Subscribe to your own newsletter (even better, do so on an older computer than you usually use so you get a better sense of limitations that your readers might encounter) and walk yourself through the steps involved to receive and read the product. Is the experience consistent with the buying experience you want your customers to have every time they do business with you?
5. Get a second opinion: If you’ve been developing content in-house and have noticed a drop-off in new subscribers, consider hiring a professional writer or editor to review your product both in terms of content and delivery. More than just breathing new life into your copy, a professional diagnostic should include a thorough examination of your objectives, target audience, delivery tools and readership metrics.
6. Re-measure: Smart marketing is measurable. After you’ve completed your newsletter tuneup, invest in tools to re-measure your readership rates, including hard and soft bounces, unsubscribes, messages opened and click-throughs. As always, content marketing professionals can help you make the right choices for your newsletter so that it continues to perform as a key component in your sales toolbox.