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7 reasons you should
Publish an e-newsletter

by Mark Levit

You probably already receive E-Newsletters from some of the companies with which you do business, just like ADVantages™ from Partners & Levit. And while there’s a tremendous amount of variation concerning what constitutes an E-Newsletter (or "electronic newsletter" or "E-zine" or "email newsletter"), they do have certain elements in common.

First and foremost, E-Newsletters arrive in your prospects’ and customers’ inboxes as email messages. The sending company writes the newsletter, drops it into an email format, and sends it to a list of people who receive it. There’s a fair amount of technology that runs in the background to do this efficiently and effectively, but when you boil it all down, it’s just an email sent to many people at once.

Think of an E-Newsletter as an electronic magazine, with three principal components:

  • Content. The words themselves�what you write and the way you write it.

    Formatting and Layout. Like a magazine, an E-Newsletter has a consistent look from month to month for organization and layout of the content. Fonts, graphics, sections, headings, links, etc., all come together to create the design and layout.

    Delivery and List Management. Once the newsletter is assembled (content and layout), a "machine" is needed for sending it to a predetermined list of people (your subscribers). The machine handles the logistics behind delivery. In addition to distributing the newsletter, logistics include items such as adding/removing names; managing bounced emails; sending automated messages to readers as they come on the list or make changes to their personal information; and collecting and reporting on data regarding reader behavior and preferences.
  • All together, these three elements make up an E-Newsletter.
  • Why Publish an E-Newsletter?

    • "The cost of acquiring a new customer can be as much as 5 times the cost of keeping an old one." (source: Peppers and Rogers).
    • "A 5% increase in retention yields profit increases of 25 to 100 percent" (source: Bain and Co.)
    • "Permission e-mail campaigns are ten times more effective than direct mail campaigns." (source: IMT Strategies)
  • The results of this research and dozens of other studies add up to a simple conclusion: It’s a lot more cost effective and profitable to grow your business by increasing revenue and referrals from existing customers, than it is to keep chasing strangers. If you’ve got a "house list" of business relationships, you’ve got an extremely valuable asset. An asset for which a quality E-Newsletter is perfectly suited.
  • There are 7 powerful reasons you should publish an e-newsletter:

    • An E-Newsletter Increases Lead Generation And Cross Selling. As your newsletter arrives month after month, it keeps your brand top of mind with customers, prospects, partners and other stakeholders and provides an ongoing, low-key mechanism for highlighting your full range of products, services and expertise.
    • An E-Newsletter Increases Customer Lifetime Value. Competitors can buy their way into your market by matching your pricing, products and even matching the look and feel of your company. What they can’t buy are your relationships. Every newsletter you send serves to solidify the connection between your company and your customers.
    • An E-Newsletter Provides A Low Cost, Instantaneous Channel For Sending Messages. Your database of email addresses gives you instant access to your customers and prospects. Once the machine is set up, in addition to sending an E-Newsletter, you can send alerts, advisories and messages as frequently as you wish.
    • An E-Newsletter Opens Up A Two-Way Dialogue With Customers And Prospects. E-Newsletters allow recipients to easily and immediately interact with you. Comments are made, information is requested, an exchange of ideas between you and your customers flows easily in both directions.
    • An E-Newsletter Hypercharges Your Existing Marketing Initiatives. Your E-Newsletter doesn’t compete with your web site, advertisements or existing marketing materials. It leverages them. It creates a steady pulse and focus that ties your other marketing initiatives together.
    • An E-Newsletter Provides Instant, Measurable Results. Advertising, sponsorships, and many other traditional marketing tactics offer few options for measuring the return on your investment. E-based tactics on the other hand, are instantly trackable. With each E-Newsletter you send, you’ll know how many people opened it; how many links were clicked on; who clicked on which links; and more. You get fact-based, real time metrics.
    • An E-Newsletter Provides Your Brand With Next-wave Imagery Delivering your E-newsletter enhances your brand image. It tells your prospects and customers you’re modern, up-to-date and you take advantage of the tools and technologies available to you.

    If you already send printed materials to your contact list � whether as a print newsletter, brochure or by some other method � the most immediate and measurable benefit of switching to an electronic format is a savings in time, printing and mailing costs. With a variable cost per newsletter of nearly zero, you’ll never have to weigh the benefits of printing more materials or agonize over whether or not person X is "worthy" of the cost of sending information again.

    SPAM and Privacy Concerns.

    The hottest topic in email marketing today is SPAM. As corporations and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) work to control the amount of unsolicited email entering their systems, they may inadvertently filter out legitimate emails, including some E-Newsletters. In industry lingo, this type of error is known as a "false positive," and the result is that some emails sent to people who have requested them don’t ever reach their destinations.

    But put that into perspective. Even with SPAM’s impact, a good E-Newsletter sent to your house list will still be opened by over 40% of the people to whom it’s sent. Given typical response rates to traditional marketing tactics, that’s as much as 40 times better than the percentage of people who read your magazine advertisements; respond to your direct mail; or return your unsolicited phone calls.

    The fact is an E-Newsletter represents the first time in history that marketers have ever been able to cost effectively communicate with our entire customer and prospect base over and over and over again.

    And so, while SPAM has certainly reduced some of the effectiveness of
    E-Newsletters in recent months, this powerful tool is by no means past its prime.

    Time And Cost

    By now you’re probably convinced of the value of an E-Newsletter for your business. The next logical question, of course, is how much does it cost in time and dollars?

    The answer depends on a few things.

    • First, there’s the content. The more you write by yourself from scratch, as opposed to compiling from other sources, or farming out to other writers, the more time it will take. Although it’s less expensive to write original content, you’ll want to assess whether you’ve got the resources in-house to put it all together each month.
    • Next, consider design. For maximum effectiveness, your E-Newsletter should reflect your brand’s unique style. While you can send out a group mailing, your best results are attained by creating a look and feel that’s just for your brand. You’ll probably need an agency to do that.
    • Finally, there’s monthly production: formatting the content and getting it out the door on a regular basis. Here too, you’ll want to weigh the benefits of doing it yourself (less expensive) vs. hiring a firm such as Partners & Levit to manage the details for you (less worry and error).

    As a rule of thumb, if you do the work yourself, you should figure on four full days of work per newsletter, two days to develop the content; two days to manage the layout and delivery logistics. You should also count on the first newsletter taking an additional three or four days to develop the format and style.

    Pound for pound, an E-Newsletter offers marketers an opportunity to reach out to customers and prospects in ways that were not possible a few years ago. Whether you do it yourself, outsource the entire process, or strike a balance in-between, this new tool is well worth adding to your marketing mix.

    Explore the benefits of an e-newsletter to your marketing mix. Contact our managing partner Mark Levit, at 212.696.1200 for more information now.

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