Newsletters Part 1:
Why you should send a newsletter to your members – How newsletters benefit your association and increase activity on your website
The first question to ask is what do your members want to read in their newsletter?
You need to make sure topics fit with your association and the information is short and concise. You can always add more information using a “read more here” link, or a “download entire article” link, but within the newsletter all information should be short and sweet.
Now try to remember the last time you checked your inbox and a newsletter appeared. Did your read it? Did you even open it?
It is very difficult to ensure your members are opening and reading your newsletters. Between email services auto-sorting emails into your trash bin, and the ease at which you can delete an email from your portable device, the numbers actually interacting with your newsletter can be very difficult to track. So let’s go through some methods to make sure your newsletter readership is consistent and high.
Make your members feel heard by focusing on relevant topics
Everyone wants to feel heard and appreciated. Make sure that you are including something for every demographic, but do not get lost in piles of information. Choose a topic and find a way to make it relevant to everyone. When members have achievements make sure to mention them (after getting permission). Did someone have a big birthday or has been a member for a long time? These are great milestone to incorporate.
Find a way to get them emotionally involved
The best way to involve emotions is to create a community. Show how your association is making a difference. Do you work with charities? Do you have scholarships or programs you fund? Make sure you include this information and how members can get involved themselves. For those who are already involved, make sure to thank and praise them for their efforts.
Make your headline/title eye catching
There are two ways to make a headline eye catching. Use colours and fonts to make it stand out (but be careful to maintain readability), and/or make the title itself exciting. Use a cute pun, a strong quote, or an intriguing question. Both these methods will pull the reader in and make them want to read more.
Keep It short and sweet
There will always be more to say, but in a newsletter you need to keep your topics concise. If you want to include more information, you can add a “read more” link or a link to a website/file with more information. Newsletters are not intended to provide mass amounts of information, you want to use them to direct people to your website where they can obtain additional information.
Do not get complacent with your topics
People get bored easily, especially in this day and age of Google and the Internet. You do not want your topics to become stale and boring. If you do not have a completely new topic, try switching the title and wording so that readers are not looking at the exact same newsletter every time it goes out. Having said that, there are some pieces of information that you will want to always have in your newsletter. Links to your website, how to become a member, etc. These pieces of information should be placed at the beginning or end of the newsletter and be static (they should not move from one newsletter to the next).
Find a balance on they type of information you provide
Of course, as an association newsletter you want to focus on your members and highlight association activities and events, but you also want to use your newsletter to provide important information. One good example of this is when cannabis become legal. While your specific association may not have had anything to do with the legalization of cannabis, the new regulations for your industry in regards to cannabis use would be something that members would be interested in learning about. Topics like this are the perfect mixture of association and external topics.
Choose a style and stick with it
When you first create your newsletter you are going to want to choose your design and stick with it. If you are changing it every newsletter you a) will waste time, and b) will find that people do not recognize who the newsletter is from. Try to create a theme that makes sense for your association’s focus, and remember, while bright colours draw people in they can also be very harsh on the eyes.Your best bet is dark rich colours.