Compared with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, a newsletter can seem so old fashioned, at least by internet standards. However, it remains a powerful way to reach potential customers and partners. Still the Killer App Despite the rapid growth of all of the many social media tools, email remains the dominant online application. There are 4 times as many emails sent each day as Facebook posts, tweets, etc. combined (excluding email marked as spam). Nearly everyone who goes online has an email account, and they check it regularly. If someone accepts your email into their inbox, you are a welcome guest and not a pest. If you can persuade them to open your email, then you have their attention much more than with a Facebook post or a tweet. So, email remains a great way to regularly "touch" potential customers. Building Your Email List The CAN-SPAM law has made it much more difficult to buy a list. However, this is a good thing in the long run. We need to have some type of relationship with a prospect or customer before adding them to our email list. Email services, such as Constant Contact and iContact, police this rather ruthlessly. A client of mine tried to add a list of attendees from an event they sponsored (the email list was offered as a benefit of sponsorship). Too many emails they sent were marked as spam (a little over 1%) and the email provider forced them to delete the whole list. So, it is critical that you build your list only with people with whom you already have a relationship. This can be existing customers, prospects you have had a conversation with, and potential partners. For those who do regular networking, you can also add individuals with whom you exchange business cards. However, you must communicate regularly for the contact to remain "warm". You don't want them to forget who you are before they receive an email from you. Creating a Newsletter Some people are overwhelmed by the idea of a newsletter. However, it does not need to be fancy. One of my clients sends out bi-monthly emails about IT issues to prospective clients. He simply talks about an issue that many business owners are facing and some things to consider when looking for a solution. There is no fancy template or design. It is just useful information. That should be the basis of any newsletter. You want to show prospects that you are an expert in a specific area. And, you want to make "deposits" in their emotional bank account, before you ask for a "withdrawal" in the form of business or a referral. You want to give before you get. Just remember that it does not need to be fancy. It just needs to be informative. Don't Like Writing? In the not too distant past, it was hard to create a newsletter without decent writing skills. However, the web makes it easy to post videos. So, if you like talking to people more than writing, then you could choose to post a video rather than writing a newsletter. However, you should use email to help distribute the video. Have Questions? Feel free to contact me here or call me at 858-220-0202 if you have any questions about developing a newsletter. Of course, we would also be happy to help you develop a newsletter plan appropriate for your business.
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