Publishing a free newsletter is an effective and inexpensive marketing strategy with several business benefits. Here are some of those benefits:
1. Increases sales
Prospects only become paying clients when they know, like, and trust your business. Publishing a free newsletter is a way of making your readers get more acquainted with your business. As a result, this will increase sales. You'll find that when you convert your readers into paying clients, they'll repeatedly buy more of your services as they get to know you more, like you more and trust you more.
2. Positions you as an expert in your field
Experts can charge more for their services, and they often get more media exposure. By providing helpful tips to your readers, a newsletter is another vehicle for demonstrating your expertise, and showcasing your knowledge and skills. This will enhance your credibility in the marketplace and therefore attract more clients.
3. It's cost-effective
Publishing and distributing an electronic newsletter is inexpensive because it is delivered by email, and there's zero cost on printing and postage. Of course you can choose to publish in hard copy format, but that will defeat the cost-effective advantage of an electronic format. With the magic of technology today, you don't have to own a web site to be able to publish an electronic newsletter and distribute it via email. There are several companies that provide templates you can use to publish and distribute your newsletter. All you need is an email address to send it from and a subscription method.
Also, as it takes five to eight contacts for a prospect to say "yes" to buying from you, a newsletter is a cheap and easy way to "warm up" your prospects.
4. Nurtures relationships with clients and prospects
As long as you're in front of your clients and prospects on a regular basis, you'll be at the top of their mind when they're ready to buy the kind of service you offer. Unless you do this, they'll forget you. Publishing a newsletter is an effective way to stay in front of them without being a pest! As they read each newsletter issue, your subscribers will get to know, like and trust you more (that's if you're not bombarding them with just promotions). You'll be viewed as a valuable resource, rather than an aggressive salesman. As a result, you'll convert more prospects into clients, and turn more one-time clients into repeat buyers of your service.
5. Spreads the word about your business
Some of your subscribers might not be clients, but they may be groups that have influence and credibility with your target market e.g. the media, staff at trade associations, training companies and so on. Such groups are called "the centers of influence" of your industry. Keeping in touch with them via your newsletter can lead to paid speaking engagements, referrals, tons of media exposure and profitable joint ventures.
6. Helps you build an in-house mailing list
Many businesses spend thousands of dollars on list rental for direct mail campaigns. Offering a newsletter is one of the cheapest ways to get people's contact information, allowing you to market to them over and over again. This also means you'll have qualified prospects on your database? the more qualified your prospects are, the higher the chances of a sale.
Tips For Smooth Sailing:
? Don't publish a newsletter that is filled with promotions and nothing else, or that goes on and on about your business schedule or staff party or recent media exposure. Your readers don't care about these things. They only care about "what's-in-it-for-me" so make sure at least 80% of your content focuses on helpful tips for your readers.
? While you should focus your content primarily on information that is of use and interest to your subscribers, you should always include a subtle promotion for your services. Your readers wouldn't mind this, as long as you're providing valuable content. About 10-20% of your content should tell the reader how your services can solve their problem i.e. the problem you've just addressed in the newsletter article.
? Your newsletter shouldn't have so many pages. We're in an era of busy schedules and your readers probably subscribe to other publications. If yours takes more than 15-20 minutes to read and digest, you run the risk of having your readers delete it without reading or they may unsubscribe.
? Include a subscription box on your web site so that visitors can sign up to receive the free newsletter. Make sure the box is easy to find. If you don't own a web site then you can spread the word about your free newsletter by printing a "blurb" about it on your invoices, receipts, brochures, and other marketing materials.
? To build momentum fast, publish your newsletter at least once a month. In some industries, it is better to publish twice a month or weekly.
? Be consistent with your publishing schedule. If you've decided to publish once a month then do so consistently, otherwise a "here and there" schedule will undermine perceived reliability
? As with any marketing strategy, test and track to determine what works best. Variables to test include how often you publish, the length of your newsletter, the writing style, electronic vs. hard copy format etc.
Copyright ? 2005 by Habiba Abubakar and Emprez. All rights reserved.
Note: You are welcome to republish this article as long as you do so in its entirety and the "about the author" bit at the end is included fully and unaltered.
Habiba Abubakar, a.k.a. The Profit Diva, specializes in helping small business owners who are struggling to increase their client base and are tired of earning mediocre profits. Her FREE business-building newsletter covers proven, low-cost, and immediately usable marketing strategies. Sign up for your FREE copy at http://www.profitdiva.com