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Simple Tips to Improve Your Church Newsletter

Meredith Mahon Morris March 19, 2012

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Every month, we send our clients eNews filled with useful tips for getting your job done. This month, Amy Scott-Lundy shared simple tips to improve your church newsletter – tips that can both make the process of creating the newsletter simpler and improve its usefulness to congregants. Read an excerpt of Amy’s article below, and read the full ACS eNews here.

Is Your Church Newsletter Surviving or Thriving?

by Amy Scott-Lundy

An e-mail newsletter is an efficient and environmentally friendly way to keep your congregants aware of your church’s activities without having to regularly visit a website or social media outlet. Even though it’s a great tool, your church’s newsletter probably involves a love/hate relationship. It keeps your congregants informed, so they love it, but you spend so much time preparing it that you hate it.

Sending your e-mail newsletter doesn’t have to be a daunting, dreadful, task. Here are some tips for creating a simple, consistent, and usable e-mail newsletter.

Simplicity

Whether using a template or creating a newsletter from scratch, keep colors, fonts, and images simple. Since fonts only display if installed on the recipient’s computer, use common fonts that are easy to read, and for easy readability, use dark text on a light background. In addition, background images do not always load when someone opens an e-mail or previews it in Microsoft® Outlook®. Images are great for branding your newsletter, but don’t depend on them to replace text. For accessibility, you should also use alternate text if the recipient is using a screen reader or if the image just doesn’t load.

Along with images, be careful with attachments, especially large ones. Reading e-mails on smartphones is becoming very common, and to minimize data usage, some phones are set not to download very large e-mail attachments. If you want to e-mail a video or animation, consider hosting it on your church’s website and including a link in the newsletter rather than embedding the video (You can easily do this with Constant Contact.).

Usability

Even if your e-mail newsletter is consistent and easy to read, this doesn’t do much good unless your subscribers actually receive it. Since you spend so much time planning and preparing your newsletter, here are a few tips to help ensure people receive and read it.

On your church’s website, link to a page where congregants and friends can sign up for your newsletter.
If visitors or new members complete a hard-copy information request form that requests an e-mail address, ask them if they want to receive the newsletter.
Include a link to sign up for the newsletter in the actual newsletter. This is helpful for recipients who forward the newsletter to friends or family members. With this said, you should also include a link to forward the newsletter or unsubscribe from it. All of these options are available in Constant Contact
Monitor your newsletter’s statistics, including how many e-mails are sent, along with the bounce rate, open rate, and click rate. Constant Contact offers reports and graphs that let you view and track these statistics to determine your newsletter’s effectiveness.

In short, producing your church’s e-mail newsletter may not be your dream job, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Who knows……once you have a process in place, you might even find that you enjoy it.

Do you have any tips that have helped you make your church newletter better? Or tips for making it easier to produce? Tell us in comments!

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