Wednesday, May 28, 2008

E- Newsletters: A Business MUST!

By Thomas Ossa
Rockland Web Design
May 28, 2008

There are plenty of reasons to not create a newsletter for your clients on a consistent basis. I hear plenty of excuses: "I don't have the time", "It takes too long to compose", "My customers will get annoyed", "I don't have a good list", etc. etc.

While I readily admit that many of the above concerns are valid points, the negatives in this case most certainly do not outweigh the positives. I can think of no other targeted message that can legitimately reach a mass number of people in a short span of time for the price. In other words, taking 1 hour to compose and send a newsletter to your clients once a week, bi-weekly, or even once a month is quite a valuable practice. In order for it to be effective, however, it needs to be done right.

Here are some tips for reaching your client base in a more effective way through newsletters:
  • Have a message, not a sales pitch: When you send out a correspondence, make sure your intent is not solely to sell. Your job is to educate. Rewards come later as a result, but they are quite beneficial.
  • Keep it short and sweet: If you are spending more than a half hour composing, editing and sending your newsletter, you've lost half your audience. Ask yourself this question as you write: "Is anyone really going to read this much?" Keep asking until you reach the answer "no", and then wrap it up. Use bullet points, like I am. They are much easier to read.
  • Don't oversend or undersend: There is no set standard for newsletter frequency. Each client list is different and unique, and each writer needs to feel out what is an acceptable and useful rate. A good rule of thumb is "no more than once a week, no less than once a month."
  • Get permission and feedback: Probably the most overlooked aspect of newsletters is finding out what your clients want to hear about. If they are interested in skin care products, and you are sending them tips on auto repair, you might see your client base shrink over time. A good opening newsletter would be "Welcome...what do you want to hear about?"
  • Create a call to action: Simply put, a call to action is an incentive for your readers to do something. It could be answering a survey, singing up for an event, or purchasing a product. While you don't want to sell stuff in the body of the newsletter, you certainly want to offer something that might be of value to the client. So add a little incentive, offer or otherwise, to generate interactivity between you and your people.
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