A Newsletter Adds Value to Your Opt-in List

A thing of value

As the owner or possessor of a given item the one thing you would like to have happen to that item is its appreciation in value, in the same or similar way that your home appreciates in value. Well, consider for a moment that when you subscribe to a list the subscription, in and of itself, is something you share ownership in along with other subscribers, and you get an opportunity to increase its value. You would welcome such an opportunity, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.

And although the appreciation here is not in $Thousands as it would be in real estate, but rather, in increased knowledge and helpful information which you might be able to use in your own home or business to increase cash flow, the fact still remains that your subscription would become a more valuable commodity. My point here is this: If you, as a subscription owner, would welcome the opportunity to enhance its value, wouldn’t you also provide such a value enhancer to YOUR subscribers or list members if you had such a list? Of course you would because you know they would benefit from it.

Such a value enhancer to any opt-in list is a newsletter which, when provided to your opt-in list subscribers, provides many benefits, one of which is sharing your expertise and knowledge about a given topic – preferably the one in which you’re most adept – as well as industry news, trends and other informational pieces that may be beneficial to them. Providing such a newsletter will be helpful to you/your business also, since it will give you an opportunity to put your expertise on display, thereby making a positive impression on your list members, who in turn might respond with positive feedback.

Subscriber-to-customer conversion

One benefit you/your business might derive from this entire process is the conversion of your list members from subscribers to actual buying customers; and another is the probability that these newly converted customers will recommend their friends, colleagues and family to you based upon their satisfaction with your knowledge, expertise and other ways they’ve benefited from your newsletter. In fact, all of them could very well be future customers.

But there are indeed other ways in which you/your business could benefit from a newsletter that you publish and send to your subscribers, not the least of which is driving traffic to your website, which often results in boosting the sales and profits of your site and company. It has been said that sending a newsletter to a subscriber list is merely a marketing ploy that will not make a huge dent in the sender’s marketing budget since it does not require many man-hours to develop; but my response is, such an important value enhancer is much more than a mere ploy. It is an integral part of your list maintenance and servicing program.

Ask yourself this question about sending a newsletter: If I could inform the my subscribers – and through them, the public – about my company, products and services, while keep them informed with valuable info, market data and industry trends, would I do it? If you answered yes then you are certainly in agreement with “78 percent of respondents” to a Content Marketing Institute study who said that they used newsletters; and 90 percent of respondents to a Nielsen Norman Group study who, when asked “how they preferred to receive company updates,” cited newsletters.

Theme-specific consistency

Of course it is entirely possible that you are not currently publishing a newsletter or having one sent to your list of subscribers on your behalf; and if this is the case then you may have to start doing a little research so that you can be as well informed as possible about how to have one published, if not publishing it yourself. I must admit that this task is not as easy as it may seem, but if and when you get an idea of what the process entails, the difficulty of such a task will be greatly reduced. So try to take the time to learn what you need to learn and get the work started on a newsletter that will add value for your list members’ subscription and enhance your credibility at the same time.

Contained in the following paragraphs are a few suggestions you can take into consideration when you decide to start your/your company’s newsletter.

First – Make sure that the content of your newsletter pertains to, and is closely associated with, your business or the theme of your website; and even when you divert from your main theme make sure not to stray too far from your field of expertise. Obviously you’ve started a website and your theme for that site will always be a topic you are knowledgeable about, so make your newsletter content based on that topic as consistently as you can, even if you have to include content about your company, your own origin and that of your staff.

Remember that visitors to a given website are there because they are interested in the content offered by that website, and if they sign up for a subscription via an opt-in list or for a newsletter, it should be interpreted and understood by the business/marketer that they want to be updated and informed about the same subject. So be sure that when you publish your newsletter you are providing information that meet the needs, and satisfy the interests of your subscribers.

Professionalism throughout

Second – It is of the utmost importance that you create well written, informative, content rich articles. Articles will be the body (main attraction?) of your newsletter, so they must be written in a clear, concise and – when possible – compelling manner so that your readers can understand and appreciate the content and feel a sense of gratitude to have received them, while they look forward with some excitement to your your next issue. Make sure to fact-check articles and spell-check them for spelling and grammatical errors to keep them looking professional and believable. The trust of your client to you and your newsletter is at stake here.

Third – Make sure to provide fresh, new articles that consist of new information that subscribers can use and appreciate. If you publish stale and rehashed content in a newsletter that your subscribers have probably read and known about already you will lose their interest and they won’t get to read what is most important to you, the offers you are promoting. In most cases they might not open or read any of your subsequent newsletters which will result in erosion of your own credibility in their eyes, and the trust they placed in you, thereby defeating the whole purpose of the newsletter.

Plagiarism is taboo!

Fourth – Avoid plagiarism by never using copyrighted material (content created by others without prior written authorization) such as photos and articles. Engaging in plagiarism will get you into a lot of legal trouble, which often results in financial loss. You can lose your business and get sued over copyright infringement. So if you do not have the time to write your own articles, there are many professional article writers who are ready, willing and able to do it for you at reasonable rates. Such an investment in writing and publishing articles by capable professionals will be well worth it when you see your list-building pursuits paying dividends in increased traffic, profit and value.

Key to Building a Subscriber List: Trust!

Trust earned begets loyalty

Let me begin by saying that there are many elements of a home-based business that are specific to that business type in the same way that there are those elements of a Web-based business that are specific to that business type; but there is a set of elements shared by both business types in today’s business landscape and many of those common elements have been discussed in many of the posts of this site. One such element is trust.

While the rest of the world have developed many barriers and protections to keep their email accounts spam-free, there are also those who subscribe to emails that promote their products, services and websites because this particular group of subscribers want to know more about what these sites are offering that may be beneficial for them. They subscribe because they wish to be kept informed about marketplace aspects that interest them as well as new trends and developments in the field they’ve chosen.

Most businesses would be fortunate to have this type of subscriber as representative of their customer base; but attracting and cultivating such subscribers would require the business to demonstrate the one basic element needed to do so. That element is trust. However, it is a known fact – offline as well as online – that before consumers will entrust a business with their time, information and money they must first know and like that business. Only then will consumers trust the business, after which they will reward it with their loyalty.

Enhanced security steps

This is evidenced by the fact that many internet users have gone to great lengths to protect their email accounts from spam mail, supported by the steps taken by some free-mail internet providers and internet service providers (ISPs) to offer spam protection while others incorporated the added step of screening the incoming emails of their users. These considerate and well meaning steps taken by the free-mail providers and ISPs have led businesses and email marketers to adopt guidelines set forth by the CAN-SPAM Act and require anyone wanting emailed information to authorize such emails by providing their name and email address via an “opt-in” (subscriber) Web form.

An opt-in or subscriber email list therefore consists of members who have agreed to receive email sent by the business or email marketer which might contain promotional material such as newsletters, catalogs and marketing media which should be permitted through by ISPs (although some are still held up). When intended recipients are able to read and view email sent by the business it is considered a successful transfer of information; but it starts with securing the trust of internet users not previously known to the business, and vice-versa.

Credibility begets trust

The entire process of getting consumers to know, like and trust you and your business is no doubt a huge accomplishment and, in the realm of Web marketing, major achievement; but it is worth every minute spent in doing so. That having been said the following paragraphs provide a few suggestions as well as some steps a business – both Web-based and home-based – can take to gain the trust of potential list members.

Although described above as a process it does not mean that getting the trust of website visitors should not be too difficult a task, especially if you have a legitimate business; because part of getting your customers’ trust is undoubtedly based upon your expertise, and people tend to rely on professionals who know what they are talking about. So demonstrating credible knowledge, trends and industry norms about the business you chose is a good first step in getting consumers to pay attention to your business; and if you are not yet in an established business, a display of such know-how and industry savvy could go a long way toward that objective.

Put another way, show your prospective subscribers and customers that you know what you are talking about by provide them with helpful hints and guidelines that pertain to what you are promoting and/or selling. Talk about how to install a roof if you’re into hardware products, or provide articles on insurance settlements if you’re a settlement lawyer. You don’t have to be a big corporation to make use of an subscriber list. If your customers see you as someone who knows what s/he is doing and saying, they will trust you quicker than otherwise.

Trust builds reputation

Be true to your customers in the sense that if you want to hype your products/services it enhances your credibility to provide guarantees, because the more satisfied your customers are the more of a probability that they will recommend you to others; and those recommendations and referrals would help to build your reputation in the marketplace since it is a known fact that most people tend to trust someone they know and when that someone recommends you there is a greater probability that you’ll be more of an acceptable choice. Some of these recommended folks will go to your site just to check it for themselves and others will go to make a purchase.

Another tip in getting a customer to trust you quickly is to provide them an escape out of any agreement or contract they signed with you. This shows them that you are not there to trap them into something they really don’t want. A good example of how to do this is by providing a link at the bottom of each email you send that would enable them to unsubscribe anytime they want. In addition you can modify your web form by providing information on how to unsubscribe from the list. Guarantee them that they can let go of the service whenever they want to, thereby removing any reason for them to be wary (leery?) about signing up in the first place.

It may help to keep in mind that when you get the trust of your website visitors and potential customers and clients you must do everything within your power to keep that trust, because if you don’t cherish (place the highest value) on it, chances are you won’t have it for too long. For example, if you do anything with their email addresses like sell them or farm them out to others who should not have them, you will lose many members of your list as well as members of your customer base. The quickest way to degrade the quality of your subscriber list and collapse your customer base is to disappoint those who have recommended others to you. So keep the trust.