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Top 5 reasons to use email newsletters

Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Email newsletters have been getting some well-deserved attention in recent months. Previously the domain of online clubs and cash-rich dot-coms, today Mom and pop companies, small business, and large enterprise alike are reaping the benefits of having regular, uninterrupted access to customers and customer prospects. This column will focus on the top five reasons for having email newsletters.

5. Inside the "inbox" access to customers. Long regarded as the holy grail for online marketing, the inbox continues to be a remarkably effective point of contact with the customer or prospect. Customers are especially sensitive to unsolicited email, but most have developed good filtering techniques: it's a good bet that if a customer requests a newsletter, he or she will give it undivided attention.

4. Regularly scheduled broadcasts. Newsletters provide a way for you to get your brand and your message in front of customers on a regular basis. Web users come and go as they please. With newsletters, you can control the frequency of the interaction, and make sure that your brand and your message stays in front of the people you're doing business with.

3. Opt-in equals higher open-rates. While an unsolicited email campaign can quickly turn into a public relations nightmare, "opting-in" makes a customer or reader many times more likely to open an email newsletter when it lands in the inbox. Making sure that the reader continues to subscribe will be the subject of a future column -- but suffice it to say that the best way to keep a reader coming back is to provide real value in each and every newsletter.

2. Build brand/rapport. By carefully mixing real content (real value) with your company's brand and message, you rapidly build credibility and trust with your audience. Newsletters are also a great way to build rapport through an informal "conversation" with customers and prospects: the tone need not be as formal as other marketing vehicles, and the two-way nature of the web can allow instant reader participation (through polls and editor feedback, for instance).

1. Spend less, get more. And the number one reason to launch an email newsletter: it is incredibly inexpensive. Because distribution costs on the web are so low, sending emails to 10,000 readers costs only fractionally more than sending to 500.


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