A customer newsletter isn’t as casual a publication as an employee newsletter, but adding a personal touch is still a good idea. Existing customers are already interested in your business, and keeping customers engaged and informed is a great way to maintain an active pool of potential future consumers too.

Tips for Creating a Customer Newsletter

Check out the competition. Your competition can give you valuable intelligence about the type of content to include in your own newsletter — particularly if they’ve been at it for a while. As a secondary source, peruse trade publications, books, and industry websites for great ideas.

Pick a format. Choose a layout for your newsletter and stick with it. Customers want to be informed and entertained, but they’re in a hurry. Using the same location for recurring content, like a schedule of events, a recap of monthly news, and bios helps make it easy for returning readers to find the gold they’re after. One effective method is to commission a professionally prepared template. If you don’t want to spend the money to hire a professional designer to put something together for you, a number of publishing software programs offer newsletter templates you can enhance and refine yourself.

Make it immediately recognizable. Choose a distinctive name for your newsletter, and try to stay away from anything that looks too much like what the competition is doing. Keep the name short and sweet. Catchy and witty work too. Incorporate your logo into the header. It’ll increase your brand’s recognizability quotient.

Develop a voice. Every newsletter should have a distinctive style and tone. A clean, professional layout will get you started, but developing a strong voice to represent your brand is important too. Make some decisions early on about how you want your newsletter to read: authoritative, chatty, friendly, or formal, and stick with that.

Send your newsletter via email. Losing the hard copy will reduce your production costs and help promote your business as leaner and greener. It’ll also allow you to link discreetly to other useful online content, like how-tos and product pages on your website.

Make it visual. Adding photos and other graphic elements breaks up the text and makes your newsletter more visually appealing. If you do have long articles and other textual content, format it with sub-headers and bulleted points for easier reading. White space is good. It makes your content reader friendly.

Date and number your newsletter releases and have consistent publication deadlines. Customers may not pay attention to the first few newsletters you send out, but repetition will help get your newsletter, and your company, noticed (and remembered).

Make your newsletter a problem solver. Customers may be curious about you, but their main interest is in making their own lives better or easier. Featuring content that helps solve common user problems brings people back month after month.

Start a dialogue. Interactive content, like customer questions and answers, testimonials, and contests, helps build a strong readership.

Add a cliffhanger. Including multi-part content that spans more than one newsletter is another way to keep people looking forward to your next issue.

Before you publish, make sure to proofread everything carefully and verify that all your information is accurate. If you’re quoting a source, get permission first.

Creating a customer newsletter can be an effective and inexpensive way to market new products, solicit opinions and suggestions, troubleshoot common user problems, and get your name out there consistently and effectively. It can give customers a glimpse of the inner workings of your business, too, which is a great way to generate interest and make yourself the go-to source within your niche.

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