(originally published in The
Jerusalem Post, July 2004)
Starting an E-Mail Newsletter
(see Part 1)
So you've decided who you want to send your newsletter to,
and have written the first edition. Don't click "Send" just
yet. Several issues need to be addressed first: message format,
opt-in measures, and subscription services.
Many site owners prefer to send their newsletters in HTML,
which allows them to incorporate color, images, and page
layout. Apart from looking "cool", HTML can offer
practical benefits. Good typography is more inviting, aids
reading comprehension, and allows emphasis of particular
items. And the ability to include your logo and incorporate
related colors builds brands.
However, a not insignificant number of readers are unable
to view HTML formatting correctly in their e-mail programs.
Other people, often in an effort to prevent mail-transmitted
viruses, will not even open HTML mail. Make sure to offer
a text-only version of your newsletter for those who need
it. Here's a sample of what a single line of HTML text can
look like in a non-compliant program:
< TR><TD> </TD><TD colSpan=2>P><IMG height=142
align=right border=0 name=logo></P><P><STRONG><U><FONT
color=#61a921 face=Verdana size=2>This is a single sentence.</FONT></U></STRONG><BR></P></TD></TR>.
Other e-mail programs can present HTML messages as a string
of alphabet soup and symbols.
Send your newsletter only to those who have explicitly requested
it. Even if it's the best-researched, best-written, most
valuable piece of e-mail ever composed...as soon as it's
sent to even one person who did not request it, it's "spam".
(For the blissfully uninitiated, "spam" is defined
as: "Unsolicited 'junk' e-mail sent to large numbers
of people to promote products or services." It's a
growing problem.) Being reported as a spammer can have
serious consequences, so safeguard yourself by requiring
subscribers to formally opt-in -- preferably with a double
opt-in procedure to ensure that no one can register a third
party. Keep copies of all requests to join the list, just
in case you should need to document how and when a user
subscribed. Slowly but surely, this recommendation is being
backed up by formal legislation, so it's just as well to
manage your list properly from the outset.
Once your e-mail list grows beyond a few dozen, mailing mechanics
can become unwieldy. For one thing, it's good form to send
the "Welcome" letter immediately after someone
subscribes, but most of us do not respond to e-mail all day
every day. For another, many Internet service providers limit
the number of addresses each letter can be sent to. But most
importantly, anti-spam filters can prevent your newsletter
from reaching many of your subscribers. For all these reasons,
reasonably priced subscription services are becoming a popular
A FEW TIPS
- If you manage the list yourself, keep the e-mail addresses
of your subscribers confidential! Use the BCC (blind carbon
copy) field to hide them.
- Don't forget to include a link to your site and relevant
contact information in each message.
Even if someone has requested your newsletter, that’s
no guarantee he'll actually read it. Increase the chances
of your message being opened by using informative, inviting
subject lines -- and making sure they don't sound like spam.
Words like "free" are likely to get your message
filtered out of recipients' in-boxes.
The many benefits of sending out a newsletter, as outlined
in the first part of this article, make it worth your time
and trouble. But do it right or not at all. This article
has barely skimmed the surface of the main points to address.
Take the time to study proper methods and to craft a newsletter
that will transform your subscribers into readers, forwarders,
Contact - This is a great way to get started with a
subscription newsletter. Online tutorials, templates and
examples all help you develop your newsletter. And you
can try it for free.
- How to Avoid Those Blacklist Blues
Do you have any questions? Contact
me and I'll try to answer them in upcoming articles. Also,
you may subscribe for
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