Last week I told you to ignore the advice of the newsletter gurus.  Too much advice in the beginning can trip you up.  You worry so much about “doing it right” that you never get around to doing it at all.

Now that you’ve started your newsletter it’s time to look at the useful information that the gurus can share with you.

When the Gurus are right.

There is a lot of useful information available online that will help you refine the newsletter you have begun.  These people aren’t called gurus for nothing.  My advice would be not to try and follow them all.  Find an expert whose information seems to resonate with you and stick with him or her.  That’s your intuition telling you you’re on the right path.

Here are some of the best pieces of information about email newsletters that I have come across lately.  I hope you’ll find them useful.

You can’t go past Copyblogger  for sensible, practical and effective advice.  My favourite of his tips:  Write your headlines first.  It’s so easy to start writing and then end up with a piece that’s totally different to the one you planned.  If you have an intention in mind, set your headline first, then live up to it in your content.  It will “keep you honest.”

The Copyblogger site also has a useful post on “How to Write Headlines that work.”  It covers the different types of headlines you could use and tells you when to use them and looks at some of the results they get.

The Content Marketing Institute has some great advice on how to come up with content for your newsletter.  It suggests dividing your think topics into the areas of past, present and future.

What news in the recent past can you write about?
What’s happening now?
What’s coming up?

Constant Contact has a post on how to get your readers interacting with your email newsletter through the use of a clear call to action.  Tell people where to go, give them an easy way to get there, and most importantly, give them a reason to go there. It’s simple but it’s one of the things that trip us up.  Just look at some of the newsletters in your inbox. How many forgot about a call to action?

Again from Constant Contact is the reminder that you are emailing as a person, not a business.  People don’t want to hear from a business, they want to hear from you so be a little personal in your approach.  You can tell them what you are doing, what your plans are or tell a story about you and your business.  It’s the personal touch that will help you establish a connection.

And now to those pesky stats.

Your statistics will tell you how your clients are reacting to your newsletter.  Depending on the system you use, you’ll be able to see how many opened your newsletter, how many click throughs you had and which parts of the newsletter grabbed most attention.

Now, the stats aren’t all that straightforward.  The terminology can be tricky so before you panic that you only had a 10% open rate, read the next posts which will help you understand what it all means.

Mail Manager explains how to understand the open rate, what it means and how it is calculated.  It will take some of the pressure off you!    Campaign Monitor shares more information  including figures on typical open rates within specific industries.  It will give you some idea of the target you are aiming for.

There is a lot of information in here and techniques that you will come to master in time, but please don’t lose sight of your purpose.  Fill your newsletter with the content your market wants and they’ll read it because they see that you are the person who can give them what they need.