ShapeShapeauthorShapecrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShapeShape

Crafting a successful newsletter

There are a number of things you can do to help you create something that your customers will want to open and read

09 July 2020, at 8:55am

When you are sending out regular email newsletters, you don’t want to be using your own email account, so the first step you will need to take is to sign up to an email marketing platform. These programmes make it easy to create a professional looking reusable email template, and will allow you to monitor and record the success of each month’s newsletters.

Branding and design

A newsletter should look great and be easy to read. Use your company’s branding colours in buttons or headings. It’s recommended to keep the main background of the email white with large black text so it can be read by everyone.

When you are making your template, don’t forget to clearly link to your social media and website in your footer, so that these links are easy to see and use.

Craft engaging content

The ideal newsletter contains around one to three topics. This could include a top story with topical info for the time of year, such as Easter chocolate dangers or flea and tick facts. You can then have a second story about a current special offer or the benefits of signing up to your health plan.

You should also always include one call to action in each newsletter you send out. Every newsletter should have a simple call to action included, whether that's to book an appointment for the latest special offer, or get more sign ups to your health plan. You can help nudge people into taking action by putting a large clickable button in each email that asks readers to “click here for more information” or “book now”.

Human nature is such that large amounts of text on a page will dissuade people from reading further, so keep your emails short and simple: one paragraph per topic is fine. Put things into short sections with easily scannable headlines, and use bullet points where you can – anything to reduce the amount of words on the page. A great way to do this is by first publishing a full story on your practice website and then put the opening paragraph in your email with a link back to your website to read the complete article.

Another important thing to do is to write each email as if you’re talking to a friend; don’t be too dry and business-like. Imagine your target customer and speak to them in an open and engaging way about the things they might be interested in.

Images

The amount of people that read your newsletter will depend to some degree on the quality of the images you use. Ideally you have a portfolio of lovely shots of your practice team that you can use to complement your text, but if not, consider signing up to an image platform to purchase friendly stock images to use.

Sending out your newsletter

Before you send out your newsletter it's vital to run your client email lists from your practice management software less than 24 hours in advance, so that you can be sure that you’ve removed any recently euthanised pets from your list. Remembering to do this will potentially save you and upset owners a lot of heartbreak, so don’t forget!

Use mail merge functions to personalise each email with the client’s name or pet’s name as this feels more personal and friendly, and makes your subscribers more likely to open it.

Spend some time creating enticing email subject lines that stand out in the inbox. Don’t be vague or spammy – make it exciting. You can search online for examples of good email subject lines and adapt them for your own newsletter.

Test, test, test!

You need to test your email before you send it out. Once you’ve pressed “send” you can't fix any mistakes. Test, test and test again. Your email platform should allow you to see exactly how your newsletter will look before sending it out, and you should send a test email to yourself and someone else to have one final look as to how it will appear to your subscribers.

It's also worth remembering that more than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices so make sure you also check how your email loads in mobile before sending.

Measuring success

Always make sure you’re keeping an eye out for your email newsletter performance. Track your monthly open rates and see what works and what doesn't, what links people are clicking on and then tailor your content accordingly.

The things worth measuring to gauge your success are: clickthroughs on your call to action buttons, monthly open rates and your address list growth.

Overall, you will need to be consistent, and make sure that you commit to doing one email per month and keep doing them. The benefits will compound over time and your consistency will pay off as your entertaining and informative newsletters help you grow your revenues and build trust with your customers.

Will Stirling is a freelance marketing consultant who has worked in small animal practice marketing for over a decade, consulting on marketing strategy. He now spends his time helping independent veterinary clinics to grow and thrive.

More from this author