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How to Promote Your Online Business with Newsletters

by Nina Menezes

So, you’ve got your web site high up in the search engine rankings and there’s a steady flow of traffic – what do you do now? How do you keep the flow of people coming and attract new visitors? Newsletters and e-zines.

Many businesses both on and off-line use newsletters to help stay in touch with their current customers and entice prospects. However, the work it takes to create a newsletter can be overwhelming, and they’re often dropped because business owners don’t have the time or resources to keep them going.

But newsletters and ezines are not only valuable marketing tools, but go a long way to develop trust between your business and your current customers.

Traditional newsletters were usually delivered through the mail, but today many businesses are taking advantage of the immediacy and the low cost that the Internet provides.

Email Newsletters

Email newsletters provides online businesses the opportunity to capture email addresses, which gives them a solid number of people who are interested in the business.

Email newsletters can be sent either in HTML, plain text or as an attachment. Plain text is easy to produce and doesn’t take up as much file space as an attachment. However, plain text isn’t very interesting to look at and isn’t very flexible when it comes to inserting graphics.

Using HTML gives you more options when it comes to layout, graphics and links to products or important information. HTML newsletters can be set up like print newsletters and are usually easier to read than straight text. The downside of HTML is that, unless you know what you’re doing when it comes to coding, you can end up with a real mess.

Another way to distribute your newsletter via email is through an attachment; usually a PDF format works best. A big advantage of this format is that, with simple programs like MS Word or a dedicated page layout program and a decent eye for design, you can make a pretty sharp newsletter that can be viewed on almost any computer.

The downsides of the attachment are: large file sizes, which can take a long time to download on slow connections and getting past certain spam filters can be a challenge.

Producing a newsletter

So, we’ve established that a newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with your customers and is useful for building trust, but just how do you go about making a newsletter?

The first thing to do is plan the issue out by making a blueprint. Sit down with a piece of paper and decide what you want to put in the newsletter. You can try making a newsletter about one topic or can cover several in each issue.

Once you’ve completed your list, go through it and ask yourself, how each item benefits your customer. If you can’t come up with something – toss it out. Articles or stories that talk up your business are great for boosting your ego, but providing your clients with something they can actually use and benefit from should be the only goal for your newsletter.

That’s not to say you can’t recommend your products or services in your newsletter, but the focus shouldn’t be tooting your own horn.

Now’s also a good time to think about the frequency of your newsletter since you’re going to have to fill it with roughly the same amount of content every time it’s published. Some newsletters come out twice a month while others come out weekly. As a rule, I wouldn’t go any longer than once a month. Anything longer and people might just forget about it.

By now you’ve no doubt realized that a regular newsletter can serve your business well. It can help maintain customer loyalty, build trust and is a great way to increase your revenue. But you’ve also noticed that it can be quite a bit of work putting something together every month.

If you don't have a newsletter, I recommend you start one today! If you need help with creating a newsletter, contact me at nina@interdream-designs.com

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