We have talked about the importance of sending an email newsletter and building a mailing list of your customers previously. Here are some more reasons to send a regular email newsletter out to your existing customers, and interested parties.

The idea of the newsletter is to:
a) inform customers and potential customers as concisely as possible of new products, special offers, price changes, new address or whatever
b) attract people to your website for more info and to order
c) build a relationship with customers through regular contact

Probably the most important of these is to attract targeted visitors to your website. By signing up to your newsletter, they have already expresses an interest in receiving more information about your products. However, the value of developing strong relationships with your customers must not be underestimated.

Your newsletter should be sent regularly. This does not need to be daily or weekly; it could be monthly or quarterly, but ensuring it is written and delivered regularly should be important to your business.

The beauty of e-mail newsletters is that they can be quick and easy to produce and distribute; they provide an opportunity to attract customers to special deals, as well as developing a relationship, gathering feedback, and interacting with your customers.

Emails can also be forwarded by your loyal customers to others, who they think may be interested in your products, and this ‘word of mouse’ marketing often proves extremely valuable, with friends and colleagues endorsing your products and services.

You also get a great chance to develop a brand and “personality” through the writing in your newsletters. For an excellent example of this last, check out Innocent’s weekly newsletter. http://family.innocentdrinks.co.uk/newsletters/archive/

If you feel that you are not a competent writer then hire a copywriter to do the job. Quite often, they can be worth their weight in gold, and freelance copywriters can generally be found for very reasonable prices.

It is wise to use a Customer Relationship Management tool such as Sugar CRM (free and open source) to manage all of your contact details for your mailing list. It has far wider applications too, and every business should be using CRM in this day and age for leads, customers, contacts, suppliers and so on.

The newsletter can become a useful tool to gauge the success of a particular advert, slogan, offer, price – the world is your lobster on this one! You can trial special offers on your ‘focus group’ of subscribers, making that offer only available to them for a limited time, and thereby rewarding existing customers for their loyalty, before using the most successful ad in PPC campaigns, banner ads, offline marketing, and so on.

All your email newsletters should include trackable unique links so that you can see how people responded to the articles in each issue. This will allow you to judge the response rate to different offers, and act accordingly.

It is important that, just as you monitor your website traffic stats carefully (don’t you?!), you also measure the success of your newsletter too. This can be how many people clicked on a particular link, how many people read the newsletter, how many people unsubscribed, how many people subscribe through the site, or through a sign up within the newsletter (showing it has been forwarded) and more.

Internet marketing is all about Test, Measure, Change, and you will learn to do it over and over again!

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.