You probably get more than a few of these delivered to your inbox daily and chances are you may contribute in one way or another to your own company’s. E-newsletters are a tried and true way of reaching your audience. Now that they may be an automatic part of your marketing plan, it becomes increasingly necessary to step back and review your newsletter as a whole. As we get ready to move into the new year, here are ways your newsletter can remain successful in 2012.

1. Mobile – It’s not going anywhere – more and more people are reading work email on their mobile device. If your audience is moving in this direction or already has, you’ll want to make sure your newsletter templates can accommodate a mobile-friendly design.  

2. Include the right images – Seems like a no brainer, yet there are still many images in newsletters that aren’t effective. You’ve probably already branded your newsletter, so try not to use logos in the body. The most clicked images support the article content, are large enough to see clearly and generate curiosity. If you want to generate more traffic from your newsletter, make sure your images are both hyperlinked and interesting to the reader.

3. Use social media – Once you’ve finished your latest article, be sure you maximize its effectiveness by getting the word out beyond your newsletter. Tweet it, post it to Facebook and LinkedIn and get it on your site. Having members of your sales team promote it to their “friends” and “followers” can also get it in front of new readers.

4. Sell it – At the end of the day you are trying to sell something. While you don’t want your newsletter to look like a web page or print ad, you should always have a call to action. Ask your readers to click, sign up, download or keep reading.

5. Subject lines – As a general rule, try to keep it 50 characters or less. The more timely the information and useful to the reader, the better. Don’t get too hung up on personalizing it – research has shown that doesn’t increase open rates. And as always, stay out of the spam folder. Avoid using “help”, “reminder”, “percent off” and of course “free”. 

6. Headlines – When you open a newsletter you skim headlines and only read what’s most relevant to you (or what’s just too interesting to pass up). Keep your headline copy short and full of benefits to the reader.

7. Solid content – Put yourself in their shoes. What do they care about? What issues do they face? Whether you’re sharing survey results or industry news, every issue should be full of valuable content.

8. Plan ahead – Make sure you’ve always got content at the ready by building an editorial calendar at the beginning of the year. You can follow it loosely as new content comes during the year, but this way you will always have something to fall back on.

What other newsletter best practices are out there? Which ones do you swear by?

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