- October 18, 2016, 1:45 PM
Credit: Gogo Business Aviation

Thinking about launching an e-newsletter? Or would you like to improve one that you already produce? We spoke with Chad Trautvetter, editor of our award-winning AINalerts e-newsletter, to get some tips for you.

How can marketers determine whether they even need an e-newsletter?

First things first—will you have the budget, time and internal support to produce it? If yes, then it’s time to do some research. Are there successful e-newsletters in your industry niche? If so, what’s in them? Could you deliver information better or differently? Why do you want to do an e-newsletter? To increase leads? Better qualify leads? Close more deals? Retain more customers? Whatever your goals, do you see a way to achieve them with an e-newsletter?

What belongs in a marketing e-newsletter?

Subscribers don’t want to hear only about your products and services. To keep readers from tuning out, content should be about 90 percent educational and 10 percent promotional, though you can break this ratio if you truly have exciting or big news about your products, services or company. In any case, keep copy concise, timely and relevant and send readers to your website or blog to consume any detailed content. You should be able to read the entire e-newsletter in less than five minutes. AINalerts, which has nearly 40,000 subscribers globally, is intended to be a two-minute read.

What about the e-newsletter’s design?

It should look appealing, uncluttered and easy to read. Keep it airy by using white space but include graphics and photos. It’s wise to have one dominant element with the main call to action and then make the rest of the items smaller and more visual. Also, make sure the design can be easily viewed on various platforms, because subscribers will be reading it on smartphones and tablets as well as on desktops or laptops.

How can a marketer attract e-newsletter subscribers?

Start with a list of customer email addresses. Then promote your e-newsletter on social media, at trade shows and whenever you network. You can also use your website and advertisements to market it. But make it easy for those on the list to unsubscribe—no one likes unwanted emails.

How often should I send the e-newsletter?

That depends on what you have to say and how much time, money and resources you have. AINalerts goes out four times a week because its focus is the latest news, but most marketing e-newsletters are monthly. Some go out weekly or every other week. Just make sure your content is a must-read; otherwise, subscribers will lose interest and subscriptions will drop.

What non-industry e-newsletters do you like?

Since I deal with more than 300 work emails a day, I keep e-newsletter subscriptions to a minimum in an attempt to maintain sanity. I have to subscribe to competing business aviation e-newsletters, but beyond that I read only three marketing e-newsletters: Apple (weekly), RockAuto (bimonthly) and the Morning Briefing from Jaffe Communications (daily). I like Apple for its cutting-edge content and beautiful design, RockAuto for its simple design and breadth of information and Morning Briefing for its humorous take on current events.