The ideal business newsletter can be rapidly read. The magic limit that I preach is ten minutes or less. Short items are often quickly scanned; their informational value and message, easily remembered. Anything longer is often set aside for later. And for many readers who lead busy lives, it’s the unfortunate truth that “later” rarely comes around.
This means that every individual piece in the newsletter should take around three to four minutes to read. Ideally, each article should occupy only a small part of a single page. Occasionally, it is fine for an article to continue onto a different page, but any longer than that, and the reader’s interest and attention will quickly dwindle.
Today, everyone is continuously bombarded with a cacophony of messages from the outside world. Random bits of information constantly compete for your attention. Think about how you open your day’s mail. Chances are, you do it near a wastebasket. You zip through the pile, and with quick, second-long glances, fling the majority of the envelopes into the wastebasket, unopened. Afterwards, you look at the remaining envelopes and wonder, “Which one should I attend to first?” If you’re like most people, you’ll figure out the answer by determining how long each one will take to peruse.
Certain sections of a newsletter are simply boring — leave them out. This includes messages from the president and announcements of awards. They’re considered fluff; the average reader will likely pass over them. Another good way to make your customer’s eyes glaze over is by writing about the technical details of your work. For example, if you own an automobile repair shop, and write, in your newsletter, about what to check for if your car makes a certain sound, your customer will find this boring. Why? They have a relationship with your automobile repair shop precisely because they want you to know this piece of information. There is no need for them to figure out these technical issues on their own.
Keep your newsletter brief and sweet. Don’t bore your customers. In a world that’s crammed with information, sensory-overloaded readers crave bite-sized nuggets. These are my secrets to writing great copy for your business newsletter.
Jim Palmer is known internationally as ‘The Newsletter Guru’ – the go-to resource for smart, effective strategies that maximize the profitability of customer relationships. Jim is also the author of The Magic of Newsletter Marketing – The Secret to More Profits and Customers for Life. Get a free newsletter template at www.TheNewsletterGuru.com.