The Value of an ELetter or Newsletter

During a recent conversation with a client, while talking about her new web site and ways to use the site to interact more with prospects and clients, she recalled that I had recommended an eletter at one point. But, she admitted that she really didn’t see the value of using a tool like that for her audience (and that may well be true given her communication goals and specific market).  Still, the conversation made me reflect on all of the reasons that I feel that eletters (or even the old, traditional, print newsletter) can be very useful communication tools for marketers and why it’s worth the bother to create one on a regular basis. The number one reason, in my opinion, is simply the ability to stay in front of your audience on a regular basis. Your interactions with prospects, customers and especially former customers can be sporadic, with months– sometimes years–passing before your paths cross. A newsletter can be a great way to stay in touch by providing gentle (and, hopefully, valuable) reminders that you’re still out there.

An eletter also allows you to build a list of people who are interested in what you have to say. Maintaining that list, monitoring it, learning about the individuals on the list and their interests and preferences is valuable not only in terms of sales (which should actually be considered a “bonus”), but also in terms of market research, customer insights and contacts that can provide you with useful information and insights.

An eletter can also serve as the basis for the development of other, related, collateral materials that can be used for blog posts, tweets, media pitches and a myriad of other communications. The key is to multi-purpose your content in as many ways as you can to save your time and reinforce your key messages.    Eletters can help to establish yourself as a thought leader. Using your unique area of expertise as the starting point for the information you share in your eletter can position you as an expert, reliable source in your particular field. You don’t need to turn to the media these days to share your thoughts and opionions–you can do that quite easily yourself.  And there’s another big benefit to the use of eletters (even over the use of traditional newsletters): the ease and cost of producing and distributing information in this format is significantly lower than it was in the old “print and mail” days. Printing and mailing still have their place (in fact, my upcoming book Direct Mail in the Digital Age focuses extensively on this). But, but for cash-strapped businesspeople, entrepreneurs or those who just have information they’d like to share, nothing beats eletters.

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