Newsletters for a Christian Website Pt 2
In Christian Website Newsletters Pt 1 I looked at two technical aspects of getting a newsletter right: images and fonts. In this part I'm going to look at Understanding your reader and why this is a must for a Christian website.
Understanding your target audience is perhaps the most important activity you need to undertake when preparing and building a newsletter. Imagine sending a newsletter about horses to people who have an interest in rabbits. Although some of them might be interested because they have a general interest in animals most of the people won’t understand why they've been sent the newsletter. If you send them a second newsletter you can be sure that they won’t read it!
Think about who you are sending the newsletter to. Imagine a “standard” person, someone with most of the traits and characteristics of your target reader. Someone who will visit a Christian website. Try answering the questions below about them. Write the answers down and over time as you start to understand more about them you can improve your “standard” person model.
- How old is the reader of my Christian website?
- What job(s) are they likely to have?
- Do they have children and if so how many and what ages?
- What are their hobbies?
- Who are their friends?
- What magazines do they read?
- What books do they read?
- Where do they go to socialise?
- What is their disposable income?
- What do they spend their income on?
- Are they conservative by nature?
- Are they outgoing or do they prefer to be in the background?
How old is the reader?
It might seem obvious but you have to write your Christian website newsletter for a certain age range. It's unlikely that you'll be able to have a newsletter that is interesting for 15 - 20 years and one that's good for 50 - 60 years. The groups have different interests and ideas about the world. It would be better to have two newsletters one for the older people and one for the younger. Remember think about it in terms of the people who will visit a Christian website not in terms of what you think they should hear.
If you're not sure then run a survey or ask people who might be able to help you. Get focused on age ranges and what those age ranges might like to read about.
What job(s) are they likely to have?
In a similar manner to the age of a reader the job of a reader is likely to generate different reading interests. It's unlikely that a train driver and a sweet shop owner are interested in similar things. Sure there will be some overlap but what you're trying to do is find the things that are specific to groups. You're trying to find a small target group who will avidly read your letter rather than a broad group who will occasionally get round to having a quick look. Fortunetly with a Christian website you already know that there is a broad topic that your readers are interested in so it's abll about segmenting it up to help you provide exactly what your Christian website reader wants to read.
Knowing the job of your reader is a great way to understand them. Most people, especially in vocational jobs are really interested in their chosen career. They might be unhappy with what's happening but they are likely to have an interest in the topic. Knowing this topic and their interest enables you to focus your writing on something interesting for them.
Do they have children and if so how many and what ages?
Knowing if your readers have children can help a lot in newsletter writing. Parents are always keen on articles about children - they generally like them and are interested in things to do with them. Presenting this in a Christian Website perspective can really help parents to not feel alone.
If you know about the children then knowing about the ages can also be useful. Knowing ages can help you target material so that it fits with what parents might want to know.
What are their hobbies?
As with age and jobs, knowing someones hobbies enable you to focus in on the type of material that is likely to interest your reader. Figuring out what they want to read about and writing about that one thing is the key to success for not only the letter but also for any Christian website in general.
If you're thinking "but I want to write about all this other stuff as well" then don't worry. Simply start a second newsletter. You can publicise it in the original newsletter and if the readers are interested you soon see an uptake in the subscriptions.
Who are their friends?
Finding out about your readers friends will help you paint more of a picture about them. Often peoples friends are revealing about their personalities. If they have a heap of friends that are in similar jobs and a similar stage in life then you'll be able to understand the type of friend they are looking for and hopefully make your newsletter a "friend" as well.
So now this post is getting pretty long but I'm guessing by now you get the idea. You need to focus on the Christian website reader and what they want to read. Split them into common groups and write specifically for them.