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* Email Techniques: Newsletters & Acquiring New Leads
Posted Nov 02, 2003 - 07:57 AM
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Pillars of Internet Marketing

Home / Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 / Chapter 3 / Chapter 4 / Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12 / Chapter 13 / Chapter 14 / Chapter 15 / Chapter 16

Chapter 10: eNewsletters
Acquiring New Leads, Growing Your Opt-In List, Establishing Credibility, Maintaining Top of Mind Awareness.

eNewsletters are an excellent way to capture leads, educate leads and customers about your business, establish credibility, and to maintain top of mind awareness with your Opt-In email list (See Chapter 7, Email and Auto-responders). If you have your own Newsletter and bulk-email software (See Chapter 7, Mailoop) then you can create a text based newsletter using any word processing software and send it to your list. You can also create HTML email by using an HTML editor such as Microsoft Front Page.  Furthermore, you can convert your text, word-processing, Microsoft Publisher, HTML newsletter, or other into an Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) File and send it as an attachment to your list. For converting files into Adobe, I recommend Instant PDF Generator or The 5 Minute PDF Creator. If you don’t have your own eNewsletter or bulk-email software, you can use online third-party software, such as My Email Manager or eNewsletter Pro. Another excellent resource, which creates the best-looking eNewsletters, is Imake News. Imake News allows you to create true virtual newsletters. You input the stories and brief descriptions and it automatically creates a cover page with a table of contents. The stories themselves reside on a server, and only the table of contents is emailed to your email list. When the recipient clicks on the headline of the story they want to read, it launches their web browser and loads the story (Note: your newsletter can be password protected or unprotected). Another advantage of Imake News is that it collects statistics, such as which stories were most read, which readers read what stories, and so on. The only disadvantage to Imake News is their service is rather pricey, but if you have a large list and professionalism and functionality is the utmost of importance (rather than budget) than this is a system to consider. In all instances, however, using any of these systems are much, much less expensive than print newsletters. To get the most use of your eNewsletter, it is a good idea to have an archive of previous newsletters on your website for visitors. Lastly, eNewsletters, or articles, have offline benefits and can be printed out and used for customer follow-up and educational detailing of clients and prospective clients. 

The advantages of digital or virtual eNewsletters over print newsletters is the deployment cost is substantially less than print newsletters and they provide the opportunity to statistically analyze readership and response and to use that information to tailor and improve your newsletter. Also, the statistical information that can be gathered from digital newsletters can be used to create targeted follow up messages (for example, everyone who read the article on web hosting can be sent a follow up message about specials you are having on web hosting, etc. . ). And unlike print newsletters, the eNewsletters can be created more quickly, deployed more quickly, and responses gauged more immediately. I have designed print newsletters for companies and even in small companies, you can expect to budget $5,000-$10,000 per issue -- when you add up design costs, layout, editorial costs, staff time, mailing costs, paper, etc. . . Print newsletters, in my opinion, are for established businesses with established revenues, a large customer base and a decent marketing budget. The advantage of print newsletters is they look more professional and are more likely to reach the recipient and be read. The disadvantages, already mentioned, of print newsletters, are their cost. 

Virally growing your Opt-In list: “Viral Growth” is an internet marketing term given to the virtual phenomenon of exponential growth due to referrals (see Chapter 7, Email and Auto-responders). It’s when you start acquiring new customers or leads without ever contacting them. It is when customers come to you, not you go to them. Examples of “viral growth” on the internet over the last few years have been Hotmail, ICQ, Blue Mounting eCards, etc. . . Regardless of what system you use to create and deploy your newsletter, always put a “Recommend this article to a friend” link on each article and a “subscribe” and “unsubscribe” link on each article. Also, always put a "subscribe to our newsletter" link on your webpages (the link could be in the form of a Pop-up when users exit your site -- see Chapter 2, Banner and Display Advertising). These things help to encourage viral growth (Note: Viral Growth can only occur with a product of high perceived or actual value, so don’t skimp on content). This will help your Opt-In list grow through referral, and, if a member no longer wishes to receive your information, can easily Opt-Out. Don’t be offended or alarmed if some people unsubscribe from your newsletter. The whole point is to build a list of Opt-In subscribers that want the information you are providing, because, these are the ones most likely to buy from you. Be happy when someone unsubscribe because they have “weeded” themselves out, and making your list more targeted and "pure."

Promoting your newsletter: To aid in your eNewsletter marketing efforts, you may wish to join the Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Association. Here are some other eNewsletter promotion ideas, as well:

  • Send a post-card to all your customers, or a portion thereof, announcing your eNewsletter. For post-card marketing secrets, I recommend the Marketing with Post-Cards System.
  • Put a post-card in all orders and send an email to all current customers. 
  • Use a pop-up or auto-responder message to up-sell new customers to subscribe to your eNewsletter (See Chapter 2, Banner and Display Advertising). 
  • Provide your distributors with the right to use and distribute your newsletter or the files so they can brand it to themselves (more product sales of your products through distributors ultimately means more sales for yourself). 
  • Use Newsletter Promoter to gain more Opt-In subscribers.

Virtual newsletters (eNewsletters) represent the transformation of a proven offline marketing strategy to the internet. eNewsletters provide distinct advantages over print newsletters, at a lower cost. The key to successful eNewsletters is to make your customers aware of them, to focus on quality of design and content, and to make subscribing and un-subscribing convenient and accessible.

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