Need some fresh new chamber newsletter ideas? Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch and help your community (members and beyond) get to know you better but if they’re boring or ineffective, you’re wasting your time. Instead …
It’s worth the effort to get creative. Chamber newsletters can be an effective way to nurture leads, encouraging people who are thinking about joining but aren’t ready to write the check. When you make your newsletters shareable, they can reach an even larger audience.
Some people may tell you newsletters are dead and that no one reads them anymore. This is only true if you’re serving up content they find irrelevant. If you’re providing readers with value, they will keep opening your emails.
But what do you write about and how can you ensure it’s something your audience is interested in?
Here’s our BIG list of chamber newsletter ideas as well as some helpful tips on making sure your newsletter is something your audience enjoys and values. But first …
The Truth About Newsletter Open Rates
Most newbie senders assume they will achieve a 50% or higher open rate. Seems reasonable, right? But the average open rate is closer to 15-20%. If you achieve a 25-30% open rate, you’re doing really well.
Wondering how often to send a newsletter? Check out this article on newsletter frequency.
What Makes People Open a Chamber Newsletter?
The most important factors for open rate initially are the sender and the subject line.
If possible, it’s a good idea to send the newsletter from an email with a staff person’s name like firstname.lastname@example.org. This will make it seem more human even if “Pat” is not monitoring the mailbox. It could be an extra address that is forwarded to your intern or some other admin’s email inbox.
Subject lines should be well thought out and contain something that your audience will respond to. Using “Chamber newsletter” is not ideal, as it is not interesting enough to drive action. Here are a few tips for creating good subject lines.
Building Your Newsletter Send List
Before we go into chamber newsletter ideas for content, you need someone to send it to. Let’s talk about building your email list. You should already have people on your list who have been added over the years. These include:
- former members
- board members
- former board members
- ex-officio members
- city contacts and local civic leaders
- lead magnet downloaders
- event attendees who were not members
These people are a solid start.
If you’re launching a newsletter, you’ll want to publicize it and make a call to action to have people sign up.
Other ways to grow your chamber newsletter email list:
- Place a sign up on your website (pop-ups, while annoying, are effective but use an exit pop-up for less annoyance and to not harm your SEO).
- Offer a lead magnet.
- Add info about your new newsletter in your email signature.
- Share it on social media.
Whenever you share your chamber newsletter, make sure you tell people what they would be signing up for. For instance, if you plan on featuring special discounts, tell them. Give them a reason to sign up and set expectations of what’s in it for them.
Which brings us to…
What Do You Put in a Chamber Newsletter?
The quick answer is things that your target audience will find valuable. If your list of chamber newsletter ideas is “event, event, event …” you are not providing people with things they are interested in. They won’t waste the time viewing them and they will likely unsubscribe–or worse–they’ll send you to spam.
Getting a spam indication affects your send rate. Your email service provider will not look kindly on a lot of spam notifications or spam complaints. In order to keep this from happening, it is always best to keep it very clear how one can unsubscribe. Make it easy to find. The standard placement is usually at the bottom, so your readers will likely look for it there.
Keep in mind when assembling content that you want it to be fresh but not something with a daily expiration date. For instance, posting real estate listings in a market where homes are only lasting minutes before they’re in contract doesn’t benefit anyone. By the time they call your real estate member, the property will be gone. You want your content relevancy to last longer than that.
Chamber Newsletter Ideas
This list is designed to give you ideas. You may decide to use 1-2 or comprise your whole newsletter out of these suggestions.
Don’t use all of them at once! People enjoy a quick read. If a topic will interest your readers and you don’t have room for them, consider sharing a link to your website and housing the full article or post there.
Here are some of our best chamber newsletter ideas for fresh and valuable content:
- Discounts. This is the number one reason people sign up for newsletters – any newsletter.
- Member content. Member-created content can help showcase your members but you don’t want it to be salesy. Look for ways to highlight them as thought leaders or entertainers. For instance, showcasing an article written by a CPA about new tax laws before tax day can be very helpful. Don’t take up all the room in your newsletter with a long article. Provide a teaser in the newsletter, add a link and “hang” the content on your website. The regular traffic helps your website SEO
- Member spotlights. Not a sales pitch but telling their story or let them answer a question about their business, profession, or sharing the best advice they’ve received.
- Community member spotlights. If a special day of celebration is coming up, like Veteran’s Day, consider highlighting some people in your community like the oldest local veteran or a veteran with a unique story. The same can be done for Nurses Day and other days of celebration (here’s a site with hundreds of “National” days).
- Business tips. You can write them or you can collect them from members. You can also use fun twists on this concept like “worst business advice.”
- Local resource links. Share local links your group would find valuable like city programs or links from local leaders.
- Member events. Give members or community members a megaphone for their events. This works well for community-wide events like firework displays and trick-or-treat schedules.
- CEO letter. It’s always a good idea to leave a spot for a letter from the CEO. This is a great opportunity to show a softer side of business.
- Trends affecting your community.
- Job postings. Highlight your community’s openings or provide a link to your chamber job board.
- Links to your blog content. Don’t just link to the latest post, include “evergreen” posts that were popular and informative. This will drive more views of your blog.
- Follow suggestions. Social media follow suggestions and why you advise following can be very helpful for your audience, not to mention making the people or companies you suggest very happy.
- Picture of your area.
- A poll question on something fun everyone can participate in such as best summer attraction in your area.
- Debates. Pick a topic of debate in your community and ask a person on each side to share their opinion. Follow it with a poll.
- Interview. Interview someone in your area. This could be a sponsorship opportunity for a large company or a way to get in front of breaking news or an exciting economic development topic. Even if it’s an issue the news has covered, you’re approaching it from the angle of what business people need to know.
- Infographic of cool stats in your area.
- Legislative information about what businesses in your area need to know about the legislative actions coming up. You can also include a call to action and links on how people can support or oppose the bill.
- Voting information for election time.
- Webinars and podcasts of interest to business professionals.
- Free business tools.
- Geek or tech corner to help those of us who don’t understand that stuff. Could include advice, ask the geek a question, info on tools, or things to learn.
- Favorite quote.
- Inspirational images and messaging.
- Volunteer of the <month, week, etc.>
- Review of business books. If you’re a voracious reader, you could run something like Blinkist where you read the (business) book and then sum it up for everyone else giving your opinion in the mix.
- Good news in the neighborhood or business community. There are plenty of sources for the bad stuff. Highlight the good and make people aware of what’s going right in your community.
- Takeaways from your most recent event.
- Business milestones from local businesses.
- Specials members are running.
- Sneak peak of something exciting happening at the chamber or in your community.
- Links to advertising opportunities.
- Talk about specific challenges businesses have faced and how they overcame them. This is a great way to showcase the chamber as a problem solver.
- Invitation for people to set up a “benefits review or audit” with you to decide how the chamber can best help them.
- A humorous picture of your staff.
- Upcoming funs days of celebration (like National Doughnut Day).
- Share a funny or business-focused video or tip.
- Share your passion and invite others to do the same for a future issue.
- Top 10 list.
- Link to your latest lead magnet.
- Personal photo from your life. Helping people connect to you is a good way to make them want to be a part of the chamber.
- A list of binge-worthy shows. Link to a social media post asking the same thing and tell people to add their favorites to it. This is a good way to get recipients interacting with you on multiple fronts.
- Profile someone outside of your staff who has worked with the chamber (like a vendor or board member).
- Highlight a nonprofit in your area.
- Share what your employees have been doing for professional development. This might inspire others to do the same.
- Run a contest for best picture of ____.
- Produce content for specific groups of people. Most newsletter software will allow you to customize content to specific lists. For instance, your women’s group may get pertinent info about resources for women.
- Create a quiz. It can be a serious one about your town or something more fun like which fairytale character would be the best fit for your business.
- Turn your newsletter into a video. Keep in mind your audience may enjoy watching your content more than reading it.