Enewsletters, broadcast email, and email listservs can be very inexpensive and direct ways to stay in touch with your audience. Successful execution requires the same level of planning as other communication vehicles and includes making decisions in advance about audience, goals, budget, and timeframe.
Develop an Effective Enewsletter
An enewsletter can be used to provide periodic updates on news and events, publicize calls to action, and drive users to your website for further information. Enewsletters are proactive in that you are directly sending your messages to your audience rather than waiting for them to come your website.
WRITING AN ENEWSLETTER
Your reader doesn’t have a lot of time to spend with your enewsletter. So, get to the point quickly, put the most important information first, and provide links to only the most relevant information. Content should be written using the same principles used when writing for a website. Enewsletter text should be:
- Short and scannable
- News oriented rather than self-promotional
- Timely and relevant
DESIGNING AN ENEWSLETTER
You have a number of options for creating and managing your enewsletter. You can:
- Use templates for enewsletters available in popular email programs, such as Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail
- Use list management tools and templates available from web-based commercial providers
- Work with a designer and programmer to create your own HTML files for an enewsletter
Enewsletters should be designed using the same principles used when designing a website. Enewsletter design should be:
- Consistent with the Rutgers Visual Identity System
- Visually interesting but not overly complicated
- Accessible to readers with disabilities
Give Your Enewsletter These Functions
- An easy way for users to subscribe/unsubscribe
- A link to an enewsletter archive on your website
- Links to additional content on your website
Enewsletter Subject Lines
Take care when creating a subject line for your enewsletter since many email applications are programmed to block and mark as junk messages with specific subjects (free, expert advice, etc.). Make your subject line relevant and specific.
Broadcast email, sending the same email to multiple recipients at the same time, is inexpensive, instantaneous, and allows you to control your message. Used properly, it can foster loyalty and increase recognition. But beware: overuse or improper use can annoy your audiences as well as individuals, companies, and organizations that do not want to receive email from you.
The Office of Information Technology’s Guidelines for Use of Email for Official Purposes provides an excellent overview of issues to consider when sending bulk email. Sample topics:
- Email should be targeted to people who would reasonably expect to be receiving announcements of the sort you intend.
- Email must be sent with a valid “From:” address, meaning a person prepared to deal with complaints and requests to be removed from your list.
- Units that send unsolicited email must maintain a list of people who have asked not to receive further mail.
Official Group Email Lists at Rutgers
By using an official group email list, you can send the same email to members of a list. As with broadcast email, using official group email lists is inexpensive and direct. An advantage of official group email lists compared with broadcast emails or enewsletters is that recipients often choose to subscribe to the list or are automatically a member of a list and are likely to be interested in the email communications they receive.
Individuals and groups can create Mailman lists for committees/projects/clubs, etc. Individuals can sign up for lists that are of interest to them. Most lists are open to the Rutgers community, although there are some that are private. View a list of public group email lists. You can create a new Mailman list (Rutgers NetID required).
RUTGERS AUTOMATED MASS-MAILING SYSTEM (RAMS)
RAMS lists are official university lists, such as all students, all faculty, and all members of a class, school, or department. They are used for official university business rather than event or other promotion. Individuals cannot add or delete themselves from these lists. View the RAMS lists (Rutgers NetID required). Learn how you can request a RAMS list.