The secret is out – electronic newsletters are the best marketing tools to come along in a long time for small businesses
For many in business the Internet represents uncharted waters. If you are not particularly computer literate it can all seem a bit overwhelming. Yet we keep hearing reports that the Internet is the way of the future and deep down we feel we need to get on board.
As a first step many businesses invested time and money in creating websites. Despite the hype of what this would do for business many were disappointed at the return they received for their investment. As a result many companies are a bit gun-shy of spending more money on Internet-related products or strategies.
Yet the fact remains that business to business (B2B) marketing is increasingly being done via the Internet.
For B2B e-marketers, electronic newsletters are fast becoming critical revenue-driving initiatives. A major reason is their high response rate. E-newsletters, particularly in combination with companion Web sites, can deliver a 30-50% response – dwarfing the average 10-15% rate produced by text-based e-mail, and the 1-2% rate for traditional direct mail.
The secret is out – electronic newsletters are the best marketing tools to come along in a long time for small businesses. They
- Generate leads
- Increase sales
- Open up a two way dialogue with customers
- Position your company as an industry leader
- Provide an instantaneous means for communicating with the outside world
What is an e-newsletter?
An E-Newsletter is basically a glorified email. You write a message, stick it in an email, and send it to a bunch of people who receive it (as an email) on the other end. There are three pieces to an e-newsletter – content, layout and delivery. You take these three pieces, mix them together, and you’ve got an E-Newsletter.
Why start an E-Newsletter for your business?
If you already send printed material out to your contact list – whether as a newsletter or in some other format – one of the quickest, most tangible benefits you will see, is a saving in printing and mailing costs.
There are other benefits that may not be quite as obvious. Taken together these will contribute far more to the success of your business than even the significant expense savings that switching from offline printing to online emailing represents.
Specifically, an E-Newsletter will
- Increase lead generation and cross selling – keeps you top of mind with customers and prospects, and provides an ongoing mechanism for highlighting your full range of products and services
- Increase customer lifetime value – competitors can buy their way into your market by matching your pricing, matching your products and even matching the look and feel of your company. What they can’t buy are your relationships. Every newsletter that you send serves to solidify the connection between your company and your customers.
- Provide a low cost, instantaneous channel for sending messages – you can send at low cost alerts, advisories and messages as frequently as you wish.
- Position you a thought leader and innovator – your newsletter gives you a voice in the market, a podium from which to articulate your company vision and demonstrate your leadership.
- Open up a two-way dialogue with customers and prospects – e-newsletter allows recipients to easily and immediately interact with you.
- Hypercharge your existing marketing efforts – your newsletter leverages your website, print newsletter and existing marketing materials.
Is it really worth the effort?
Look at other ways you spend time marketing your business. You take clients to lunch, you send holiday cards, you attend trade shows, you ask for referrals, you make cold calls and you attend business meetings.
All of this you do with the hope of gaining visibility, meeting potential clients and reinforcing existing relationships. It’s a necessary part of running a small business, but if you think about it, it’s very much a hit or miss approach.
An E-Newsletter on the other hand, offers all the benefits of these other approaches, but in a much more cost effective and targeted way. Why wander around business meetings hoping to stumble on a new client, when you’ve got existing relationships with customers and others that you’re not really nurturing?
Taking one day per month to connect with your universe of contacts is well worth your time, and in terms of ROI, your E-Newsletter may quickly become the most systematic, most effective marketing activity your small business is engaged in.
How could you use an e-newsletter for your business? We invite readers to contact us with their ideas. The person with the most original idea will receive 6 months free subscription to our e-newsletter called thinkezines. To see how easy it is to create your own professional-looking e-newsletter visit www.thinkezines.com. Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Derek Brown is an Internet marketing consultant who specialises in assisting home-based and small businesses create a professional high profile image.