It may have been way back in 1748 that Ben Franklin wrote in his Advice to a Young Tradesman “time is money” but the sentiment has held true down through the years and is even more relevant in today’s mercurial economic conditions. For most in the business world, there are challenges of keeping their enterprise profitable on a day to day basis. These far outweigh the possibility that the latest email newsletter to land in their inbox will provide that one vital piece of marketing information that will ensure enhanced productivity and lasting success. Who, after all, has the time to scan through yet another sloppy piece of promotional prose aimed at selling you a product or services you neither want nor need?

It has been estimated by the guys in the white coats that the decision of whether or not to open an email is made in less than a second. Not long to make an impression is it? So when it comes to creating an email newsletter, think about what it would take to make you want to open it and take a look. What would grab your attention, engage your interest and prompt you to respond?

I’m here to offer you five tips for creating an engaging email newsletter. I’m not promising that the following instructions will ensure that your business content will crack the one second barrier. They should certainly help you to engage more effectively with your customers and, hopefully, earn your company some valuable street cred!

1. A Couple of Do’s and Don’ts

Try to create your own company voice when writing your newsletter. It will be far easier for your reader to engage with content which has personality, relevance and a sense of humor than a traditionally corporate branded manifesto.

Also give some thought to the nature of the content you are including. It may be a matter of company pride that the CEO recently triumphed in the regional Paper Towel Manufacturers Pro-Am Golf Tournament, but most of your readers will not share your enthusiasm. They would far rather hear that your latest product has gained celebrity endorsement or that you will be offering a discount in upcoming promotions than be informed of the latest piece of hi-tech equipment to be installed.

2. Consider a Theme

Keep the content of the newsletter seasonal. Consider theming the issue around a current headlining media story to demonstrate how your product or service is relevant to not only the customer, but the world at large.

For those in the hair care sector, stylists, product manufacturers etc, the news of Beyonce’s recent transformation from her trademark long tresses to a sexy new pixie-cut could well provide the content for an entire issue. By using a little creativity, the same story could be applied to the fashion sector. New hairstyle, new wardrobe and the cosmetic industry. For example, how to complete a new image, or even those in legal services; how to sue your provider if you are unhappy with their services!

3. Engage with Your Readers

Be sure to engage with your readers by creating a Q&A section in each edition of your newsletters. Ask for feedback and respond to one question each month. This will offer the opportunity to engage with your readership on a personal level and establish a relationship by demonstrating that your business really is listening to, and valuing, their clients. The selected questioner will be pleased with the recognition and your business will have shown their expertise in their specific field.

4. Surveys and Polls

Receiving feedback from surveys can provide an invaluable source of customer intelligence. Keep it short and most will make the effort to voice their opinions and provide your business with a great source of information for the development of new ideas.

An additional tool for feedback is to run a monthly poll on a topical subject and publish the results in the next issue. Never underestimate the power of personal interaction: we all want to be heard!

5. The Importance of Social Media

Remember to use your email and social media as complimentary marketing tools and not opposing ones. One of your customers may receive your newsletter promoting your latest seasonal offers and decide to take advantage of the discounts. Choosing not to shop alone, she clicks on the Twitter icon (you have included in the issue) and invites her friend along on the shopping trip. Deciding to make it a girls’ day out, the friend then share the information on her Facebook page and provides yet more potential customers for your brand.

Easy when you know how isn’t it?