Because it works.

  • It allows targeting
  • It is data driven
  • It drives direct sales
  • It builds relationships, loyalty, and trust
  • It supports sales through other channels

Most virtual assistants, coaches, internet marketers, and other small business owners know the importance of keeping in contact with not only their customers, but reaching out to people who may be interested in the products they offer. E-mail is an affordable and effective way to reach customers and/or clients and establish a list of contacts who may not need you today but may need you in the future.

Keeping your name and services or products in front of these people on a consistent basis builds that personal contact that is needed in any business relationship. It encourages trust and cements loyalty. It provides a way for you to impart information, give advice, share knowledge, inform your readers about specials and promotions, and keep in touch. This ezine is an example of email marketing!

Now comes the hard part — how to manage the beast! E-mail marketing programs require expertise to set up the opt-in messages, follow-up messages, welcome notes, and broadcasts. Most of these programs can also accommodate a newsletter, which may require HTML coding to make it look just right.

How can you get started with your own newsletter?

First, select an e-mail marketing service. There are many to choose from. Constant Contact is a great ‘newsletter’ only program. It offers very stylish newsletter templates, but it does not offer autoresponders  (which you will need if you want to set up automatic response messages, teleseminars, or workgroup programs – must have’s for most everyone these days).

Aweber is one of the more popular autoresponders programs. Aweber provides unlimited autoresponders and eNewsletter/ezine delivery. It is very user friendly and is relatively inexpensive. It is also easy to integrate with Paypal so you can take payments as well as add subscribers to your list at the same time. Great for those workgroups or coaching programs!

There are other high-end programs that include a lot more features, such as 1ShoppingCart and Infusionsoft. Both offer a shopping cart, newsletter/ezine distribution, e-book digital delivery, unlimited autoresponders, affiliate program, coupon and upsell features – – everything you need for your marketing program. Of course, both are pricier than Aweber or other autoresponder-only programs, but if your immediate business plan includes selling products it may make more sense to purchase one of these programs from the beginning. As anyone who has changed their list program can tell you, it’s not a happy day when you switch your list manager program – it could result in an 80% loss of your subscribers.

Second, define your message and your format. Creating a newsletter is not very hard, take a look at the current ezines you now receive. They usually contain a brief introduction, feature article, maybe a section for ads or new products and/or services.  The GOAL of your newsletter is to provide your subscribers with relevant content, inviting them to get to know and like you. One thing you do not want to do is send one broadcast after another advertising your own products or promotions, it will hurt your credibility and drive them away.

Third, select a name for your publication.  This is one of those things that may seem easy, but people usually agonize about the publication name for days or weeks. If you’re having trouble coming up with something, check out Wordlab.com.  These folks can help you with a name and slogan for free, just sign up in their forum and post your question.

Copyright 2010, Lisa Wells.