Starting a Newsletter

Get People to Your Site and Keep Them Coming Back

The Internet world is all about traffic. How much traffic you have, how much you can get, and, especially, how many first time visitors you can convince to return at a later date, are all keys to maintaining a healthy website. Most likely, if you're serious about getting traffic to your website - especially if your website is ad-funded, and you're hoping for a bit more revenue - you've read up on SEO, on content, on META tags and keywords and navigation strategies. But you may be missing one of the most important tools of all: a newsletter.

Newsletters perform an essential function for your website: they remind people who may not have visited in a while that your site still exists. Often I've gone to a website, thought "That looks interesting," and browsed around for a while...then left and forgot all about the site. Receiving a newsletter full of informative content and helpful advice is a great way to remind me to click through and return to the site. BUT, there are some very important things to keep in mind when writing, preparing, and mailing your newsletter to make sure it doesn't violate any spam laws or irritate your visitors.

First of all, use a good newsletter service to keep track of subscriptions and make mailing easy on you. At TechKnowSys, we are familiar with the services offered by the best and can help you with your decision. These services provide an important "all in one" package, automatically adding unsubscribe links to emails and hiding the recipients' emails from each other. Both are required in order to keep your email from being considered spam.

Second, don't ever sign anyone up for your newsletter! Provide signup forms on your website, preferably on every page of your website, and let the visitors sign themselves up.

Third, provide content in your newsletter that visitors to your site are likely to be interested in. A newsletter should never be purely for promotional purposes, although those do have their place. If your website deals with tax law, for example, then your newsletter might promote your firm's services - but it should also summarize the latest changes in the law, perhaps a "Top 10" list of some kind, and, say, a short case study or success story. Content in your ezine is every bit as important as content on your website.

You may choose to not include the full text of, say, your article on New Jersey sales tax. Instead, you might stick just the first paragraph in the newsletter and include a link to the page on your website where visitors can read the entire article. Nine times out of ten, the visitor will click through to your site...and while they're there, it's likely they'll browse around a bit and maybe even give you a call. The format is important, if you do. Don't just include the title with a link; visitors are more likely to only click through if they're actually interested. Paste just the first paragraph, maybe the first two; whenever possible, end with a problem (for example, "60% of merchants in New Jersey remit excessive sales tax. Are you one of them?"), and leave implicit the promise that the rest of the article contains the answer. People just reading through the newsletter are more likely to click through to see what they are missing.

Fourth, keep it fairly short. Many people get dozens of non-spam emails a day; they may not have time to deal with one more. If your newsletter is full of fascinating content, odds are good that they'll pick yours over another - unless your newsletter is too long. Taking our fictional law firm as an example, it might have a quick message from the partner (that would be you), one news blurb, one tip, one reminder about tax season, and one paragraph-with-link for your article on New Jersey sales tax. That's all! At the end, thank your readers for their time and close the newsletter just as you would close any other letter: Sincerely or Peace or Until Next Time, followed by your name two spaces down, all work well.

Finally, don't forget to include links to your website! You may choose to include one at the beginning of the email, one at the very end of the email, or one or two scattered throughout the email...but include them! Don't assume that visitors will have your site bookmarked, at least not yet (but your content will keep them coming back so often that they will, right?), and give them plenty of opportunity (without overdoing it, naturally) to visit it.

A healthy newsletter means a healthy website, and a healthy website gets healthy traffic and healthy revenues. Never overlook the power of the newsletter.

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