No matter how you name it: email advertising, email marketing campaign, newsletter, ezine. The medium is already worn out. Overused. Abused. This means you have to make extra efforts to make people get involved with whatever you do for making a living online.
I don’t want you to believe I’m one of the self made Internet gurus out there. No need to mention I’m not a real Internet guru either 🙂 . I’m just an ordinary Internet user, happy to share some routine experiences and thoughts about editing newsletters.
By all means, know your purpose!
Some newsletter editors think that, if last week I was interested in email marketing, the next week I could be interested in some songs they have just written down after being involved in a ‘Release Your Creativity’ – like seminar. I know you probably won’t believe me, but it happened just this way. Ok, you online marketing fellow, I may want to hear about your songs, but don’t make them a main topic. I know what I subscribed for, and when I don’t find what I expected in the message body, I feel somehow deceived.
Think rather community than emailing list
The next paragraphs may seem not to have anything to do with editing newsletters. But instead of lying in your comfortable shell, headphones on your ears, beautiful posters in your eyesight, trying to produce more and more ‘words that sell’, what about a bit of real communication?
Have you ever been told ‘it’s all in the list’? Ever wondered what they mean by that?
The reason you edit your newsletter is (probably & primarily) because you want to sell something. Try to forget sales for a moment. You are online to give somebody something that he or she could use. You gather in a list persons that have something in common (including yourself). Maybe they like cars. Or coffee. Or sleeping late. Let them share that with you. The first step is to encourage feedback. You can create a discussion list and a forum.
I know what usually happens. You create a discussion group, post a topic and wait for opinions to poor in. This may never happen. It takes time to create a strong community. Many people might subscribe to the list just for reading other opinions, and never post a message. This shouldn’t bother you. They are a step closer to you than usual newsletter subscribers.
Remember that in a community, your promotional messages are beeing red as (hopefully) friendly advice. However, they are not beeing perceived as agressive email ads.
A community is about trust and transparency. Allowing competitors to post messages (as long as they are respecting the netiquette) makes you more credible. Moreover, you can be the first person in the list to post links towards other competitors’ websites. All you need to do is always insist on your USP (unique selling proposition). You’ll always offer something that no other competitor will. If you don’t, you’ll soon be out of business anyway, so why bother with email marketing? Whatever you do, your customers & prospects will appreciate the sincerity in the first place. Become a member yourself in other communities. Have you thought about starting with your best competitors? If they kick you out, remember to post a thank you message on your own list (no kidding).
Publishing in targeted discussion lists is a powerful way to reach thousands of prospects. And they’re already ‘filtered’.