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They've Got Mail

Want to power up your marketing plan? It's cheaper than you think. Send your business to the next level (and save some trees) with an e-mail newsletter.

Are you ready to increase awareness of your business, enhance your company image and boost your sales--all without breaking the bank? Try adding an e-mail newsletter to your marketing mix.

An e-mail newsletter is a document you put together yourself and distribute via e-mail, usually free of charge. E-mail newsletters are either text-based (without art, photos or fonts) or HTML-based, which requires a more complex design process.

Gary K. Foote's two-person Webbers Communications, a Web site development agency in North Conway, New Hampshire, has grown substantially as a result of its e-mail newsletter, The E-Marketing Digest. "When we began e-mail publishing," says Foote, "our business customer base came 90 percent from offline contacts and 10 percent from online contacts. Today it's more like 30 percent offline and 70 percent online."

Any business whose customers regularly use e-mail can benefit from this marketing method, says Leslie Speidel, a marketing coach in Raleigh, North Carolina, who has launched four e-mail newsletters.

You don't need to be a tech or writing whiz to publish an e-mail newsletter, but you do need energy, motivation and dedication. While e-mail publishing requires some time on your part, the result is worth the effort. Consider the following investments you must make:

  • Time to research the technology you'll need
  • Time to write content or find writers
  • Creativity to come up with fresh, useful content
  • Time to maintain subscriber files
  • Time to read and answer mail

Producing your newsletter should take from two to six hours per issue, depending on the length and how much you write yourself. Also, plan to devote about two to four hours the first time to setting up a template. Finally, expect to spend about five hours per week marketing your newsletter. The following steps will maximize results:

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: They've Got Mail.

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