One of the best ways to promote your business, build long-term customers – as well as keep your existing ones – is by producing a top-quality newsletter.
Why do you need a newsletter? Because of the “Rule of Seven.” This marketing adage states that on average, a prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message seven times before they take action.
The exact number may vary – depending on your industry – but the basic truth remains the same: it is unlikely a prospect will become a customer the first time they hear your name.
Why? The prospect may not need your service right now, they may not be sure of what you or your company does, or they may be worried about the price.
But the most likely reason is they are unsure of you. They are asking: are you reliable, knowledgeable, trustworthy? Does your product or service perform as advertised?
So how do you reach your prospects seven times and prove yourself without wasting your time and money or becoming annoying? By sending a newsletter. A regular newsletter that is heavy on helpful content and light on sales messages will grab your prospects’ interest and allow them time to get to know you.
Newsletters that offer the latest information in your field or tips that help the reader increase your credibility. If the information provided is useful, the reader will spend more time reading your newsletter than they would a brochure or sales letter. The reader may begin looking forward to your newsletter.
At this point you are no longer an anonymous firm selling your product or service – you are a familiar name who has provided useful information for free. They know you, like your newsletter and hopefully have come to trust you. An added bonus: according the Chicago’s Sales and Marketing Executive Report most newsletters are passed on to an average of three more readers.
Now it doesn’t take a math whiz to see that producing a newsletter will quickly bring your costs over $100. Even if you design and print the newsletter yourself, the cost of postage will get you. However, there is a way around this – send it by e-mail.
Online newsletters – called e-zines – are an inexpensive and effective way to spread the word about your business. You can collect email addresses yourself but for as little as $8 per month you can sign up for services that automate the entire process. They’ll give you a sign-up button for collecting email addresses from your website, maintain your list and send the e-zine.
These services offer templates that allow you to create attractive and professional e-mails with colour, graphics and photographs, even if you are something less than a computer whizz. And since these services allow your readers to automatically unsubscribe, you don’t have to worry about accidentally running afoul of Spam laws.
They key to a successful e-zine is to include well written content your audience finds useful. Don’t make the mistake of using your e-zine as one big sales pitch. If your readers don’t find value in what you send them, they’ll delete it unread – or worse, unsubscribe.
What should you include? Tips, information and news that will help your readers solve their biggest problems. If you are a handyman, seasonal home maintenance tips are a natural. A coach can include guidelines for getting organized. An accountant can write about ways to improve on the shoebox method of sorting receipts.
Now I know some of you are asking, “Why on earth would I tell my prospects how to do things I want them to pay me to do?” Because you are building trust. By giving your readers useful information you are proving you are knowledgeable - an expert even – and that you are here to help.
True, a small number of readers may take your content and do it themselves. But the majority won’t. They don’t have the time, ability or desire to do it themselves. And when the time comes to get it done, who will they call? A stranger from the yellow pages or you, the trusted advisor whose interesting e-zine they’ve been reading?
Tomorrow I’ll tell you how to increase your credibility even more – plus attract free publicity – by providing a free report or white paper.
Andrea J. Stenberg