Secret 1: Focus on the Content
In an e-mail-fatigued world in which business people scan their inboxes, ready to press the "delete" key, your e-newsletter must be engaging, relevant, and a must-read.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to write about the questions your customers and prospects ask you about most. Keep a notepad by your phone and when people call you, jot down a list of their most common inquiries. Your answers are your e-newsletter content.
These frequently asked questions should be answered in the same friendly, practical manner you would use over the phone. While we all want to be considered thought leaders, that doesn't mean articles have to be lengthy, academic treatises. If you talk from your own experience about what works in your business, people will immediately get that you're an expert. Once your expertise is established, you're on your way to forging a productive, professional relationship.
That leads us to the second secret...
Secret 2: Focus on the Relationships
As Katz says, "The primary reason that e-newsletters are so powerful is because they provide a systematic means for growing and maintaining relationships. It's not because they're cheap or trackable or clickable or forwardable, although they certainly are all those things."
Your e-newsletter gives you a vehicle for connecting with your customers or potential customers month after month.
He goes on to say, "If you write your company newsletter with a focus on enhancing the relationship between you and your readers, you will stand head and shoulders over your competition, most of whom are missing this point entirely and who (whether they say it out loud or not) view their e-newsletter as an inexpensive way to send direct mail to their house list."
Secret 3: Be Genuine
Your e-newsletter should sound like it's written by you.
If you are a Fortune 500, your e-newsletter should either sound like it's written by your CEO or reflect your corporate culture and brand. It should speak to your customers and prospects just as if you were sitting across from them at a conference room table or, better yet, a restaurant table.
Katz says, "Your newsletter should give potential customers a sense of what you're like, who you are, what you believe in, what you know about your industry, and what doing business with you is all about. For existing customers, it's an ongoing reminder of all things."
What's beautiful about this approach is that it also weeds out the clients who would have been a bad fit. I guess they read the e-newsletters that coincide more with their own point of view!
Katz reminds us, "Relationships happen between people (not between organizations) and the more you can write in a genuine, spoken manner, the more it will feel to readers like somebody (i.e., you) is really on the other end. Turn out something that breaks down walls between your company and your customers, and you will be just fine."