When it comes to acquiring new members — as well as retaining current ones — your association’s newsletter is one of its greatest assets. Whether sent out daily, weekly, monthly, or beyond, a newsletter is a fantastic tool that keeps current members engaged while providing potential members with pertinent information regarding what your association or professional organization has to offer.

Unfortunately, with all that you have going on, it can be very easy to forget about the design aspects of the newsletter while focusing on content. Of course, content is incredibly important, but design is equally important. If you’re unsure of the quality and effectiveness of your newsletter’s design, here are four things to think about:

1. Pay attention to load times. Most people have cable Internet connections or faster, so load times aren’t typically a problem; however, if you try to force too many non-optimized graphics into your newsletter or you’re using some untested video embedding technology that might be free or cheap, your images and videos are likely to load slowly, leading potential viewers to click away and delete before you even have a chance to reach them.

2. Your association’s brand needs to shine through the design. Just as your brand is vital in other marketing materials, it is important in your newsletters. Sure, it can seem advantageous to include different looks, styles, taglines, and so on in each newsletter. But you want readers to be able to recognize a newsletter from your association from a mile away just by things such as colors, image placement, and wording. As such, make sure to be consistent with your newsletter branding.

3. Have a theme. In keeping with branding, have a theme for each edition of your newsletter. If your association scored a great interview with three different professionals, with two being in the IT security industry and one being in the IT education industry, it would be foolish to include links to four pieces of content that pertain to gardening. The bottom line? Find a theme for each newsletter and stick with it. There’s nothing wrong with backlogging content to fit in later — just don’t try to cram everything in one newsletter.

4. Headers and footers are key. Finally, check your headers for attractive images, and check your footers for relevant links to content your association or organization already promotes. The header should not only be attractive, but also it should be clear as to the theme or topic of the newsletter. The footer needs to either include summary links, relevant links, or relevant information that will entice a reader to click.

Also, while it might be tempting, do not include click-bait ads from third parties in your newsletters. In the short term, this can potentially grow revenue; but in the long-term, readers will learn not to click on such ads, and they may even unsubscribe altogether.

Mary Hiers is a freelance writer based in the Nashville area.  That article first appeared on www.realmatch.com.

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