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Financial planning, Investment and Self Managed Super Fund Article
An Effective and Easy Mode of Client Communication
By Helen Bairstow
1st September 2004
This article may be out of date.
Also called e-zines, eNewsletters, eNews or even email marketing… email newsletters are fast becoming an effective marketing tool.
Whether you want to keep your customers or clients informed and up-to-date, establish your brand, be seen as the authority in your industry, increase sales, or encourage word of mouth (WOM), an email newsletter is the answer. Why? Here are just 17 good reasons!
Cost. Email newsletters are an inexpensive, yet effective, form of advertising. With email newsletters big companies and small are competing on a level playing field. Often, smaller companies even have the advantage as email newsletters are a more personal ‘one-on-one’ communication which people don’t really believe is ‘the real thing’ when coming from a large company.
Money for extras. Reduced costs compared to traditional direct mail hard copy newsletters (no printing costs, postage, etc) means extra can be spent to produce a more professional communication. Using a copywriter, graphic designer and outsourcing your list management will often cost less than a traditional hard copy newsletter or direct mail campaign.
Environmental reasons. No paper wastage. People like the fact that “No trees were injured in production of this eNewsletter”.
Encourage WOM. The ease of forwarding emails encourages WOM. How many times have you forwarded interesting emails to colleagues compared to how many times you passed on hard copy newsletters? There really is no comparison.
Relationship building. Regular, relevant and informative communication with your email newsletter subscription list will build a relationship. This can lead to credibility and trust so when the buyer is ready, you will be ‘top of mind’.
Added value. An email newsletter or report can be an ideal follow-up for a sales call, especially if there is a valuable offer in the email newsletter, i.e. “annual subscription 20% off”. If you do this, ensure that your email newsletter is of value and not just a selling tool.
Customer retention. Your next customer is often your last customer. Email newsletters help you stay in contact with customers who have already purchased, or who know something about your product or service and may be interested in knowing more. Customers who buy a second, third and fourth time are highly profitable.
Measurement. Unlike a print newsletter where it is difficult to measure if your publication was received, you can determine whether your email newsletter is getting through and more importantly, being read.
Keeps your list clean. Recent surveys indicate 30 percent to 50 percent of email addresses change each year. An email newsletter bounce report will help to keep your list current and follow-up key people.
Know who isn’t interested and why. Unsubscribe rates provide a warning you may be falling out of touch with readers. Make sure your system doesn’t simply delete cancelled subscribers but records who they are and why they unsubscribed.
New subscribers. New subscribers are an indication that people have forwarded your newsletter – make sure there is an easy and quick way to subscribe on every newsletter. Follow-up a new subscriber with a welcome message – automate this if possible.
Interactivity. Surveys and competitions that people can enter directly from your email newsletter provide interaction and show people are reading your newsletter. Market research from these surveys is invaluable and response rates are higher – I have received up to 28% – as it is easy for people to respond. Responses can also give you a reason to contact the receiver, such as when a prize is offered.
Increased customer service. If people need to contact your company it is very easy for them to send a reply email to you, particularly if they are unhappy – people are more inclined to complain via email than in person.
Fast preparation time. Lengthy and costly delays can sometimes occur during the preparation of printed material. Email newsletters are often quick to create and may arrive in the customer’s inbox immediately.
It’s what people want. A June 2004 survey I conducted indicated 76% of people prefer email as their method of contact with merchants they have dealt with online. Also note that about the same percentage of people want to receive HTML email newsletters – the ones with all the colours and pictures. Make sure you have an option for the smaller percentage that prefers the plain text version.
Quick response. Great for the impatient…no need to wait days or weeks to get your return on investment. Responses from recipients usually arrive within 48 hours.
Higher response rates. It is easier and quicker for someone to respond to an email message than to pick up the phone or mail a response card. Take the information to them and provide a link to your website for further details.
How many other reasons can you think about unique to your business? Feel free to share them with me.
Helen Bairstow, Great Look Pty Ltd. Contact Helen on 07 4053 1873, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website www.greatlook.com.au.
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