Newsletters are an effective way to market your community group. The challenge is to make them interesting and different so they catch your reader’s eye. Otherwise your hard work might go straight into the bin. Paper newsletters can be expensive. There's the time spent putting it together plus printing and mailing expenses. The postage delay means they're also slow.
That's why email marketing provides a phenomenal return on investment.
E-newsletters are perfect for most community groups because:
- They're free.
- They're easy to produce, when you know how.
- They can replace your membership database and members can be responsible for keeping their own contact details up-to-date
- They can be timely. E-newsletters are instant, they're sent with the click of a button. No more relying on the post.
Of course it doesn't matter how good your newsletter is if no one reads it. That's why one of the benefits of an e-news is that you can measure success. You can tell how many people have opened your newsletter, and if it contained weblinks, what your audience was most interested to read about.
I use MailChimp, it's a great online tool to create, manage and maintain email-marketing campaigns. Use it to replace your community group’s paper newsletters with vibrant, personalised emails.
MailChimp designs email newsletters, shares them on social networks and tracks results. The free version of MailChimp allows you to send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers each month, making it a perfect tool for community groups looking to further engage members and supporters.
If you're getting started, here are some tips:
1. Use an eye-catching banner to identify your community group.
2. Ensure your sign-up form is attractive. Make sure it has your group’s logo and colours. These forms are a way to make your community group look professional.
3. Connect your MailChimp account with your group’s social media channels, and then include buttons at the top of your e-news so readers can follow you and forward your newsletter on to their friends. Likewise, if your e-news isn't confidential, share it on Facebook and Twitter, this can create more subscribers.
4. Test, test, test. Send yourself as many test emails as it takes to ensure your final product is perfect.
5. Turn off your email notifications. Don’t spam yourself.
Of course an e-newsletter will only be of help to those of your members with email access. Some members may still prefer to read your newsletter in print. You'll have to weight that up yourself, each community group's different.
If you do opt-in to e-newsletters, sending a boring complicated one's a great way to lose subscribers. For newsletter content tips, see the OurCommunity.com.au help sheet - Producing a Newsletter: Style and Content
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Email marketing training can make all the difference. My training can be delivered one-to-one or for small groups. It includes a live demonstration and we'll step up your accounts together. A training manual will be provided.
Alternatively I can design, produce and manage your e-news for you.