Monday, March 02, 2009

 

Win Free Customers Tip #4: Start a Newsletter

This is the fourth in a series of recommendations focused on helping small businesses win more customers for FREE, largely using the resources you already have.

This tip focuses on newsletters.


Many of your current and prospective customers will visit your Web site and blog often. Many won’t. But that doesn’t mean you’ll lose touch with them.

Take your content, and put it in a newsletter! Email is an ideal medium to communicate with people you already have relationships with. It keeps you top of mind, and will generate new business on a regular basis. What’s more, emails are easily transferable, meaning they’ll quickly be passed along to friends & family if your content is good.

Even better, starting a newsletter doesn’t mean writing new content. It just means repurposing the content you already have!

Take my newsletter, for example. You can check out a sample, and sign up directly, right at http://www.heinzmarketinginsights.com. This newsletter is populated largely with content I’ve already written on my blog. Each month, when I prepare a new issue of the newsletter, I simply go to my blog and choose the content I like best, then put it into my newsletter.

Sound hard? Not at all (if you have the right tools).

For your newsletter, I highly recommend a company called Constant Contact. There are many companies that will create and send newsletters for you, but for the price and impact, my money is with Constant Contact.

Constant Contact offers a wide variety of email and newsletter templates to choose from, and makes it very simple to cut and paste your content and links directly into their templates.

Once you send out a newsletter, you can see how many of your recipients read the newsletter, how many clicked (and what they clicked on), and much more.

Constant Contact even creates a newsletter sign-up form for you, so you can generate even more newsletter subscribers directly from your Web site and blog.

If you already have a database of customer email addresses, then you’re ready to start creating and sending newsletters today.

If you don’t yet have customer email addresses, you’re still closer to starting a newsletter than you think! Here are a few tips for getting more email addresses:


For each of these tactics, it’s important that you get the person’s permission to send them email. If you’re just collecting emails without permission, then you’re only spamming people – no way to build a business. But if you get permission, you also get anticipation - anticipation for the information you’re about to send via email, and better readership and action on that email as well.

Despite changes in email laws and consumer behavior in recent years, email can be one of your most powerful marketing and publishing channels back to consumers. Make sure you’re using it to its full advantage to get a wider audience for your content, and driving more traffic back to your business.

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