Getting the results you want from your group message doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. These six steps will give it a bit of a wow factor and save you time.
Step 1 - Decide What Type of message You’re Creating
Start by defining your objectives and determining what type of message will meet them.
- Do you want to inform members about recent activity in your online group?
- Would you like to highlight your benefits and how they help members?
- Would you like to promote upcoming activities or events?
Your message should revolve around your objectives, and what you want members to know.
Step 2 - Layout
Your layout needs to be simple. Using Headings and Horizontal lines will allow you to create sections in the newsletter. You do also have the ability to add images to your message but you need to be careful if you add an image from the library of your group because this will not render on the email notification once sent, as the image is not publically available. If you are looking to add an image please use an image that is from a publically accessible website (such as flikr, google images etc.).
Step 3 - Compile Your Content
You’ve already defined the objectives. Now, make sure you feature content that’s relevant, helpful, and interesting to your members.
Keep the text minimal because your members don’t want to read through long paragraphs. Link your headlines to the discussions, activities or content your online group members want to know about, and include one or two key calls-to-action to give your members somewhere to go and something to do.
Step 4 - Write a Stunning headline
You only have 3 to 5 seconds of attention for an email. And the majority of people looking at emails will only scan the content. So, create a catchy subject line that teases your members to take the action that you want them to do. You have 50 characters including space to use for your title.
Tell members what type of information they’ll find in the message. If you refer to the content, then you’ll set the right expectations from the very start, and members will understand what value your message will give them.
Step 5 - Target Your Audience
It may be that you’re sending out a general message that will apply to everyone in your group, but that’s not always the best way to increase engagement. You’ll typically get better results and higher member participation by targeting your audience.
If you are targeting new members, highlight that this message is for them. Or if you are looking for your more experienced members of the group, ask for their help.
6. Measure, Revise & Repeat
Finally, once you’ve sorted out all the details mentioned above, it’s time to send, measure, revise and repeat. You could add tracking links from sites such as bit.ly to track the number of click-throughs on each link or keep it simple by tracking the number of visits from Google Analytics after the newsletter has been sent. It’s also worth taking a note of the number of downloads, views or comments that content has before and after the newsletter has been sent.
Don’t forget your newsletter is an ever-evolving communication strategy. Don’t be afraid to change it up and modify it to what best suits your group.
Looking for more tips and idea to engage your online group/community. Check out the Getting Your Group Started Guide or come and join us in the Online Facilitators Community