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Think You Don't Need an E-mail Newsletter? Think Again
If you're looking for a low-cost, fast, and easy way to communicate and strengthen your business relationships with colleagues, suppliers, partners, and customers, you should be looking at publishing an e-mail newsletter. Here are seven powerful ways that publishing an e-mail newsletter will bring high value to your most important business communications:
1. Easy access: Thanks to the near-ubiquity of e-mail, there's hardly a person in the business world today who can't receive your newsletter. Every office worker, from the secretary to the CEO, now has their own PC equipped with e-mail. On-the-go road warriors can also read your e-mail newsletter from their wireless PDAs, high-end cell phones, and Blackberries. Trying to reach consumers? Free e-mail from Microsoft, Yahoo, and others makes that easy, too. Even my 75-year-old father and 10-year-old daughter have their own e-mail accounts.
2. Scalability: E-mail newsletters are as effective for communicating with a group of 10 people as they are with a group of 10,000 or more. At cell-phone maker Nokia, for example, one marketing group publishes two e-mail newsletters, one for independent software developers, the other for its own marketing professionals. The first newsletter goes to 200,000 subscribers; the second, to just 300. Yet in both cases, Nokia uses the same format, same technology - and enjoys the same, powerful impact.
3. Low Costs: Publishing an e-mail newsletter is inexpensive, and the costs can be easily justified. E-mail newsletters incur none of the high costs associated with printing, binding, and shipping paper-based publications. Also, because statistics on e-mail newsletter readership are easily available, justifying the costs becomes a simple proposition. One of my clients considered discontinuing an e-mail newsletter until their e-mail service bureau showed that the rate of click-throughs had doubled in just three months. You could almost hear the opinions reversing themselves!
4. Ease: Writing, editing, and producing an e-mail newsletter is quick and easy. The articles are short and simple, typically no more than 250 words (by contrast, a typical magazine article runs about 3,000 words). The design is straightforward. Illustrations are few, and when used, basic. As a result, staffing needs are minimal, further controlling costs.
5. Speed: E-mail newsletters arrive on subscribers' desktops anywhere in the world within minutes of being posted. By contrast, print publications take days, even weeks, to reach subscribers. Because e-mail newsletters are so speedy, they're a great way to alert subscribers to new, time-sensitive articles, seminars and other content on your Web site. Many newspaper and magazine publishers -- including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Crain Communications -- use e-mail newsletters this way. But so do usability consultants Nielsen Norman Group, office-supplier Staples, and sporting-goods specialist Colorado Cyclist.
6. Flexibility: An e-mail newsletter can be used to communicate effectively with any kind of intra-company group, whether a project team, executive panel, functional department, or even the entire company. E-mail newsletters can just as effectively be used to communicate with external groups, including customers, investors, suppliers, partners, even the media.
7. Community-building: Unlike quick-hit Web sites, newsletters create powerful relationships with their readers. Subscribers enjoy receiving their newsletters, and they look forward to receiving their next issue. By publishing an e-mail newsletter, you create powerful, enduring relationships with your most important colleagues, customers, suppliers, and others.
For these seven reasons, if you're looking to create a community - whether of coworkers, customers, suppliers, partners, investors, or anyone else - then an e-mail newsletter should be an important component of your communications strategy. E-mail newsletters are an efficient, affordable, and powerful. They work.
PETER KRASS is the president of Petros Consulting (, a firm that helps clients improve written communications to attract, nurture, and develop excellent customers, quality suppliers, committed employees, and long-term partners. Call or write Peter at 718-398-5811,
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