How To Use An eNewsletter to Enhance GroupLife

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How are you communicating with your small group leaders, co-leaders, hosts, facilitators, etc.?  Are you able to go straight to all of them?  Are you mailing a newsletter?  Are you limited to the ones you can personally call?  Or are you relying on a “pick up a flyer next time you’re in the lobby” strategy?

With the predominance of the web it’s very important to develop an easily updated 24/7 presence (think website, blog or Facebook).  A static presence that is available even when you’re not is a key to good communication.  It’s a key…but it’s not enough.  It’s not enough because websites, blogs and Facebook all depend on the visitor visiting.  Blogs and Facebook deserve an asterisk on this point, because they can be set to notify the subscriber that there’s been an update…but that’s where we get to the advantage of email or an enewsletter.

Advantages of an eNewsletter

Sending a group email or an eNewsletter has a couple key advantages:

  • They don’t depend on the visitor visiting.  The reader still has to open them up…but they’re delivered straight to the subscriber.
  • They can be pushed to the subscriber and include strategic links that pull them back to the blog or website.

Available Resources

There are several easy-to-use, template based, eNewsletter technologies.  All of them are relatively inexpensive or free.  Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Constant Contact is probably the best known and is easy to use and get started.
  • is another pay-as-you-go service that is customizable and inexpensive.
  • MailChimp is relatively new and slightly more hands-on in terms of design…but it’s free for lists of less than 500 subscribers.

Keys to eNewsletter Effectiveness

  • Data accuracy: maintaining your email list is very important.  Prompt management of any bounces should be a regular part of your process.
  • Awareness of the ‘open rate.’  If you’re sending 100 emails and only 37 of them are opened…you need to find out why and work to increase the open rate.  A three of the above services include this feature (even MailChimp which is free).
  • An eNewsletter is very effective when it’s used in combination with a blog or website.  The eNewsletter can feature 2 or 3 line blurbs that include a link back to the blog or website to read more.
  • Use pictures or graphic images to make your point.  All of the services above make it easy to add pictures.
  • Make a plain text version of your eNewsletter available.  For users with dial-up, this is a helpful step.

To get the full picture on using technology to enhance grouplife, make sure you take a look at all the articles in this series:

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