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Steven Strauss Column: All About E-Newsletters

October 20, 2011

Do you know much about advertising in e-newsletters? I receive one that I like a lot and see ads in there. Do they pull? Is it worth the money? And that also got me to thinking that maybe it is time to finally start an e-newsletter for our business, but again, is it worth the effort?

OK, so let’s talk a little bit about e-newsletters. I love e-newsletters for lots of reasons:

•    They are a fantastic way to stay in touch with your customers.
•    Because people have to opt in, it is permission-based marketing. Customers are allowing you to contact them.
•    People who do opt in like getting them.
•    They can go viral as people forward them on to their network.
•    They are easy and affordable to create.

And that is just for starters. Indeed, one other great benefit of e-newsletter advertising, especially, is that, unlike a lot of advertising that is expensive, e-newsletter advertising is typically very affordable.

Let’s say you sell products for golfers. Sure, you could advertise in some expensive golf magazine or do a pay-per-click campaign, but the results may be iffy, especially for risk and related cost involved.

Consider this alternative: Research the most popular golf websites out there. Find one that you like and which seems to target your desired demographic. Then check out what sort of e-newsletters the site offers; many of the big sites offer more than one. Find the e-newsletter that contains ads and that you like, and buy ad space in that newsletter.

But always remember – make a commitment when advertising because, when it comes to advertising, repetition is the key to success, repetition is the key to success, repetition is the key to success, so buy a month or more of ads. (Quick quiz! What is the key to success? See?)

Advertising in that e-newsletter should be very effective, and inexpensive, too. It works and is affordable because you are buying a self-selected group interested in what you are selling – after all, these people have opted in to take the newsletter and probably look forward to getting it each week. These are qualified leads. Even better: Because you will be associated with this site, you will have extra credibility.

Now, what about creating your own e-newsletter?

At my website,, we have an e-newsletter that is one of our most popular features: Small Business Success Secrets! Visitors like it because it offers great small business insights and tips on a regular basis for free (or at least I hope it does!) I like it because it allows me to build an email list of potential customers.

Almost any website can offer a free e-newsletter. They are great way to not only capture email addresses and build a list, but actually build your business in a variety of ways:

•    E-newsletters help you communicate with and convert prospects into customers.
•    E-newsletters develop credibility.
•    They build awareness of your brand.
•    They can be a money-maker—if your e-newsletter becomes popular enough, you too can sell ads.

There are two requirements for creating a great e-newsletter. First, you must offer excellent content. Either it needs to contain insightful articles by you or your staff, or articles by others which you have permission to use, or it could contain articles and tips submitted by people who take the e-newsletter.

A bit more on that last idea: I subscribe to a great e-newsletter for speakers (SpeakerNetNews) that contains tips by other speakers for building their business. The publishers of the e-newsletter are also the editors, but never have to write too much because their subscribers create the content. This particular e-newsletter is also so popular that it sells plenty of ads.

The second requirement for creating an e-newsletter is having a system to manage the names of the people who sign up for the newsletter. A good system will also give you templates to use for the e-newsletter. I am partial to Constant Contact, the leader in the field, because they really do a great job of making your e-newsletter easy and professional, and I know how committed they are to small business.

So with a little elbow grease, some great content, and a good system, away you go!

Today’s tip: Want to jump on the app bandwagon, but not sure how, or how expensive it would be? Here is solution. Magmito is an affordable, easy-to-use online platform that lets anyone create mobile apps for any mobile platform. With it, you can easily create an app for your content, or that promotes products and services, announces events, etc. You can publish the app free with advertising or $99 without ads.

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