It wasn’t exactly a year-end business newsletter, but I do remember getting a personal year-end letter that was straight from a horror show. Single spaced multiple pages, only one or two paragraphs. I thought to myself “Who has time to read this, much less write it?” I decided to give it a try but gave up after too much detail, and eye-watering superfluous information.
They’ve been in your mailbox too, the never-ending ramblings about every-little-detail that contributed to the past year being the “best one ever” and about how this business you may or may-not care about is looking ahead into the future. These business year end newsletters seem to be the unwanted staple of the holiday season.
The catch-22 is that newsletters are a fantastic way to touch base with your customers and show a personal side. The end of the year is also a great time send them because A) they are “tradition” so it doesn’t seem like an “out-of-the-blue” attempt to connect, and B) everyone is planning their new year, and reminding customers you exist is a good way to get yourself into next year’s budget.
I know you don’t want to sit down and spend time writing a newsletter that is going to end up in the trash in 2 seconds flat. So let me give you several tips to give your end of the year newsletter a fighting chance.
Don’t be that well-meaning relative that writes an encyclopedia about their lives every year.
Let’s look into what makes an effective and well-written year-end newsletter.
Hook them quickly!
Write a headline that will make them want to read your newsletter. Get their attention from the start! This is like the above-the-fold section of a website. It needs to make a great impression fast because you only have seconds before the brain decides to move on to something more important.
As Megan Marrs from Word Stream puts it in regard to emails, but can very well apply to any sort of correspondence:
“Your subject line is your first (and maybe your last) impression on users. In many ways, your email subject line is more important than your email body. After all, a great newsletter is worthless if it never sees the light of day.”
So, make sure you put some effort into an engaging headline for your newsletter. You can go funny, or quick and to the point, just make sure it grabs your reader’s attention and makes them want to read more.
Get to the point and get there fast!
I hope I’m getting this point across… the worst thing you can do in a newsletter is make the customer feel like they wasted their time reading it. I’m not saying that we need to remove any semblance of corporate messaging or any sort of information about your company, rather that you need to edit what you are saying so it’s communicated in an efficient manner. Don’t ramble. Stay on topic and make sure those topics are relevant to the current situation.
Remember who you’re writing to
Keep the “business speak” to a zero. We all get excited when we feel we can talk about something that we know well. Resist the urge to go “academic” in your newsletter. The last thing we want is glazed over eyes and drool when your customers read your newsletter (Yes, I’m looking at you people in finance! 😉 ) A good solution for this would be to offer some time to go over the information in more depth if they would be interested. Offer additional email or a phone call availability and add a call to action where it would seem appropriate.
Remember the CTA
The call to action is the most important part! Do spend some time thinking about what you want to accomplish through your business year end newsletter in a practical way. In other words, do you want opt-ins, do you want to introduce an offer, or just to engage. When you know what you’re aiming at, put it in the call to action so your customers know what you want them to do.
Here are some good ones from Neil Patel
- “Activate your free shipping offer today!”
- “Start Your Journey Toward X”
- “Start your path to greater wealth”
- “Snag/Grab/Seize/Score/Gain X Now!”
Make it pretty!
We beat the content side of this to oblivion, but the visual side of the newsletter is also extremely important. Don’t believe me? Then go look at what the Windows 95 desktop looked like and think about staring at that 8 hours a day.
Here are a couple of things to think about that will make your newsletter “steer clear” of single-space no paragraphs.
- Pick a clean easy-to-read font. Stay away from cursives and wing dings please!
- Add some nice relevant images of your building, smiling employees, or just relevant stock photography.
- Infographics! Adding an infographic makes all the “academic” information much more relevant and easy to digest.
- Maintain a consistent style throughout your document. Don’t change fonts in the middle or change the styling of an image. Keep your design consistent and cohesive.
Keep these things in mind as you write, and your newsletter will be a success.
To sum all of these tips into one phrase: “What would you want to spend your time reading if you were forced to read a newsletter?” Look beyond the task of writing and putting together a year-end letter to your customers, and think about how you can make their day better, and add a personal connection to your company. Send some good vibes to them, with a well-put-together visually appealing newsletter.
How to Go Above and Beyond
If you want to go above and beyond with your customers, send them personalized year-end greetings through the Birthday Company. Another great way to start the year out would be sending them a box of healthy nut clusters – cashews, almonds, pecans, and pumpkin seeds with honey, rice syrup, sea salt, and a hint of cinnamon; simply delicious and healthy! It doesn’t take much to stay front-of-mind with your customers, a little bit of effort goes a long way.