Monday, 26 November 2007

When is a Newsletter not a Newsletter?

In the (nearly 10) years since I've been in business, email newsletters or e-zines aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs have been both a lifeline, and an endless source of information and inspiration to me.

My own newsletters (I used to write three!) have always had the primary intention of sharing knowledge, resources and tips with their readers. Today, 'Competitive Advantage' is aimed at the owners of small business owners and entrepreneurs, many of whom I meet at various networking events.

When working with coaching clients looking to grow their businesses, I encourage them to keep in touch with their clients and prospects via an e-zine. It's a cheap, efficient and easy marketing tool, and can be incredibly effective if used correctly.

Unfortunately many companies confuse the term 'newsletter' and 'promotion'. I get emails that are 100% promotions - for cars, villas or holidays in warmer climates. Not a mention of '10 ways to stay safe if you break down' or 'The 5 questions you must ask before buying your villa abroad', nor even 'How to select the holiday of your dreams'.

You see, I've been spoilt by some excellent newsletters and have based my own on them. I strongly believe that a newsletter imparts information and tips and isn't just a blatant promotion. Of course it's expected that the sender will refer to a product or service - but such promotion should form just a small part of the whole.

What tends to happen is that, after the first or second promotional email, more people will unsubscribe if they're not looking for a new car, villa or holiday at that moment. With an informative newsletter, relevant to their business, this is less likely to happen.

I shall write an article for my own newsletter 'Competitive Advantage' with some suggestions on how to write ezines that get read.

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