Why E-Newsletters are (Still) Worth Doing (with a nod to Michael Katz) . . . .

I’ve long been interested in the format of electronic newsletters, with their capacity to share knowledge and insight with one’s prospects, and so indirectly lead people toward one’s services. After all, who doesn’t love reading a short, informative e-newsletter?

E-Newsletter specialist Michael Katz has pioneered the format over the past 15 or 20 years for professional services’ firms. In two recent interviews with AWAI, he argued that email and email-based newsletters are not “dead,” despite the many recent developments in mobile technology. In fact, the e-newsletter format continues to influence prospects’ knowledge and buying decisions. If you have an opening rate of 25 to 30%, that is likely significantly better than consumer response rates to traditional newspaper ads, direct mail or unsolicited phone calls.

After consulting Katz’s brief but powerful book, E-Newsletters that Work (Xlibris, 2003), I’ve added e-newsletter creation, writing and editing to my list of available services. Here’s why: the following are some reasons why e-newsletters are very much worth creating for small- and medium-sized business owners, like you:

  •   With many professional service-type companies, prospects can’t measure your services upfront, before they buy them. But by publishing an e-newsletter, you can easily earn the respect and trust of new prospects
  •   E-Newsletters are low-cost, convenient ways to “stay in front of people” over and over (month by month), so that you become seen as a “likeable expert” in your field. When a prospect thinks of that field, you will come quickly to mind
  •   E-newsletters really are simply extended email messages, and are a systematic version of “word of mouth.”  (And everyone knows how valuable word of mouth can be . . . . )
  •   E-Newsletters are easily forwarded from one reader to another, including over social media
  •   As a client, you may not feel that you are an expert. But most business owners have lifetimes of knowledge and expertise that I can leverage, for content
  •   E-Newsletters are meant to be conversational and interactive relationship builders. They invite readers to reply to a particular story or detail that resonates with them
  •   Although they focus on the needs of the prospect, e-newsletters have a distinct voice, point-of-view and authentic (not salesy) content that convey the identity of the service provider
  •   E-Newsletter content does not need to say wholly original things, but should instead share simple content in the form of a single powerful insight, told from a clear point-of-view, with a lay audience
  •  A strong format for B2B marketing, e-newsletters are not about a hard-sell. 80% of them should share knowledge and only 20% should promote a good or service
  • E-Newsletters should not be more than two pages, or they will not be read
  •  You can re-purpose e-newsletter copy in the form of webinars, books, special reports and other content-rich formats
  •  Since about the year 2000, vendors for newsletters have grown more sophisticated and easier to use, so that now one doesn’t need to know HTML programming, in order to create a successful newsletter. Numerous good programs in North America exist, some with complimentary trial periods, training and support
  •  The quality of the subscribers’ list is more important than its size.

Katz observed recently that e-newsletter clients like you should not be afraid of “giving away” your expertise. He observed: “If you can give away your business in 12 monthly newsletters, you don’t have a business in the first place.”

What ideas or questions do you have about electronic newsletters? Do you see a need for one in your business? Please share your thoughts — I’d be delighted to hear from you.



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