(originally published in The
Jerusalem Post, June 2004)
Starting an E-Mail Newsletter
Building a credible, smoothly functioning Web site and successfully
attracting your target audience to it is nice. But it's not
enough. To beef up the impact of your site, add an effective
e-mail newsletter to your marketing campaign. This tactic
is rapidly becoming the norm -- and for good reason.
A Web site can be considered the equivalent of a handshake
at a networking function. You've introduced yourself -- and
since you prepared carefully you know that there was no virtual
spinach-between-your-teeth. But meanwhile, many of your competitors
have also introduced themselves to the same prospects. And
with a Web site "introduction", you haven't even
been able to pass your business card as a tangible reminder
of the meeting. You’re likely to be forgotten unless
you make it easy to maintain contact. So how do you transform
a quick "how-do" into a lasting relationship?
You send out a newsletter. At least once a month present
your contacts, both new and established, with information,
and perhaps special offers, that can interest and benefit
them. As with your Web site, adapt the tone and content of
the newsletter to the preferences of your target audience.
And if you use HTML mail, keep the appearance of the newsletter
consistent with that of your site.
Don't know what to send? Here are a few ideas:
- If your business is a professional service,
give general advice to prospective clients. Dentists
or orthodontists can outline (using illustrations)
how to properly floss, describe the benefits of regular
checkups and cleanings, and even (if they get legal permission)
show before & after pictures. Accountants can
advise on how to collect and file papers during the year,
give tips on preparing for an audit, and offer definitions
of professional terminology. An architect or interior
designer can give tips on how to plan and budget for
a remodeling project, explain the psychological ramifications
of color schemes, and outline the benefits of contracting
professional help for design decisions.
- Artists can announce showings, notify
about new additions to their virtual galleries, and offer
links to monitor-size images that can be used as desktop
- Retailers can list specials, highlight
specific products with extra photos and information, and
send coupons. Always include your phone number, address,
and a map that includes driving directions and information
about the availability of parking.
- Restaurants can advertise new dishes,
send coupons, and provide some recipes. Even with a minimal
amount of text, a mouth-watering photo can work wonders.
These ideas just skim the surface. Once you begin writing,
new topics will present themselves faster than you think
Hate to write? This isn't an obstacle. Some successful newsletters
are compilations of links to articles on other sites with
short blurbs. Just choose links carefully, bearing in mind
the interests and needs of your subscribers. A few introductory
words, a list of links, a brief reminder of who you are with
a link back to your site -- and you're set.
One of the bonuses of a newsletter is that it effortlessly
opens new marketing avenues; as long as your information
is solid and your offers attractive, it's likely that your
contacts will forward the letter to their own colleagues.
Another side-benefit is that you're creating more high-quality
content for your site. Archive all newsletters on your site.
Search engines give ranking preference to "deep" (many-paged)
sites that consistently add fresh material.
Okay, so now you're convinced that a newsletter is a great
idea, right? And you're all fired up to get to it and send
it to everyone you know? Not so fast! The next installment
of this article will outline some of the potential pitfalls
-- and ways to avoid them.
Not surprisingly, the best sources of information on publishing
newsletters are…newsletters. Here are some good ones:
Part 2 of this article
Do you have any questions? Contact
me and I'll try to answer them in upcoming articles. Also,
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