Question: Our company has built a large following for our subscription-based monthly newsletter. How can we use this forum to generate more sales?
Answer: I'm a fan of direct mail and e-mail newsletters, particularly ones rich in content. To maximize this communication, why not encourage readers to go to your Web site? There, you could offer to e-mail them a special free report. This lets you perform valuable market research as you learn which topics are most enticing to clients and prospects.
Auto-responders can be incorporated into products on your Web site to continue conversation with interested parties. 1ShoppingCart.com, for example, allows you to preset e-mails to be sent to visitors one, three or seven days after they buy or ask about a product. This is an effective practice that lets businesses up-sell related products to new customers.
You can also save money and build your database by offering the newsletter online with a viral component, so visitors can send friends a copy- an automatic online subscription form.
Finally, create a separate pullout section of the printed newsletter for folks who may be interested in buying your product or service. If they're not interested, they can pass. If they are, give them a way to contact you in the medium they prefer, such as fax, phone or e-mail.