E-mail newsletters form the centerpiece in the marketing arsenal of smart businesses today.
The underlying motivation for many e-newsletters is their instant sales generation power, though the benefits are far more wide reaching.
An e-newsletter is primarily a nurturing tool – for nurturing potential customers, repeat customers and alliance partners.
No matter what you sell, you need to ‘nurture’ your business relationship with your customers and potential customers. An e-newsletter is the most cost effective way to do this - as the costs involved are very low. By following a few simple tips you can generate a steady source of income from this one marketing technique alone.
e-newsletters are best used to gently remind people about your business, your product quality and good customer service record. If you consistently prompt and reassure a person about your business, they will instantly think of you when the time is right for them to buy your product. This will give you a significant advantage over your competitors and go a long way to winning the sale.
e-newsletters are also the perfect way to capitalize on the existing goodwill in your business. Sales from repeat customers are the easiest sales to generate and the most profitable. For example, every time we send a Gillett’s Jewellers e-newsletter we generate at least one thousand dollars of sales within 24 hours from repeat customers.
What content to include?
Unlike their print counterparts, with e-newsletters it’s easy to click on the delete button. A person may only spend 20 seconds looking at your e-newsletter so you need to grab the attention of the reader very quickly.
The opening paragraph of most good e-newsletters is often a short personal introduction by the editor. Ideally you want the reader to imagine what it would feel like to be standing in your store at that very moment. You can do this by painting a mental picture by focusing on the senses – sight, taste, smell, touch and sound. Talk about the colour of the new shop displays you just installed, how the flowers on your Italian restaurant tables feel to touch, how the cinnamon rolls in the oven smell…. These should be positive thoughts to uplift people.
It’s important not to treat your e-newsletter as a sales catalogue. If you do, you will instantly loose the interest of most readers. You can certainly incorporate pictures of new products, special discounts or information about unique product features – though don’t make that product information the focus of the e-newsletter.
When choosing the content for your e-newsletter you should only use relevant information, (ie. information relevant to your readers, not you). Include a feature article about topics relevant to your industry. For example, let your readers know about upcoming industry events. If a complimentary business has released a new product, let your readers know how they can find out more about it. By providing interesting and relevant information, your customers will appreciate the value added service that you are providing and look forward to the next edition of your e-newsletter.
The overall length is best limited to the equivalent of one or two pages.
Building your e-newsletter
A monthly or bi-monthly e-newsletter is usually the best option for most businesses. It is important to try to make the broadcast of the e-newsletter consistent whenever possible, for example, the 2nd week of each month. The best time to send an e-newsletter is mid-morning on a Tuesday or Wednesday. The worst times are Monday morning or Friday afternoon.
The task of compiling an e-newsletter can often seam daunting and time consuming. It doesn’t need to be that way if you follow these simple time saving tips:
1. To make it easier to compile your e-newsletter, simply keep a file with ideas and content for future articles.
2. You don’t have to write all of the content yourself. Add good articles from other organisations or complimentary service providers (make sure you acknowledge the source of the material and seek permission when appropriate).
3. Ask industry specialists or other people to write articles for your e-newsletter – they will get some free publicity for themselves, it’s free and reduces your preparation time!
Growing your e-newsletter subscribers
You need to create a list of people to send your e-newsletter to.
You can start with your existing customers, suppliers, alliance partners and potential alliance partners.
You can approach relevant industry associations and offer to send your e-newsletter to their members for free. You can also offer to send your e-newsletter to businesses that provide complimentary products and services.
You will need to provide people with the opportunity to unsubscribe from your e-newsletter list. You should include instructions in your e-newsletter that show people how to unsubscribe and you must ensure that remove requests are actually removed.
There may be a temptation to buy e-mail lists. It’s best not to buy lists of e-mail addresses. First, you don’t know how the e-mail addresses were obtained. Secondly you may not know the demographic of the people on the list so your e-newsletter message would not only be wasted on some people, it may irritate them.
e-newsletter creation tools
A wide range of affordable e-newsletter creation tools are now available. These tools are often included in contact and content management systems.
You don’t need to purchase specific software though, you can simply start by adding names and e-mail addresses in an Excel spreadsheet and using your e-mail program.
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