No more hard sell! Four steps to make your newsletter create a dialogue with readers.
I made a presentation at last week’s ClickZ E-Mail Strategies. I’ll share part of it today for those who couldn’t attend the event.
My talk focused on how newsletter publishers can avoid being just another interruption in a prospect’s day by providing content the reader wants, needs, and seeks out. In doing so, not only do you let your prospects sell themselves, you’ll also demonstrate you’re prepared to participate in their lives in a meaningful way. For we newsletter publishers, this means changing our communications philosophy -- what we say and how we deliver information. The result is a dialogue of equals.
What does a dialogue of equals mean? It means going beyond the one-way communication most marketers have adopted in e-communications. It means tuning into behavioral differences, into how prospects react to the online marketing that flows into their lives and how it affects their overall online experience.
Most online marketers continue to use a one-way methodology. They throw something out there and wait for the sale. Prospects want to be sold right off the bat, but one-way communications just won’t get the job done. Building trust and confidence a customer can rely on will.
I’ve shared many of my thoughts on this topic already, but to make the point in my presentation, I came up with a very good test I think all publishers should take from time to time. Take it yourself now. You might be surprised by the answers.
Are you holding a one-way e-conversation with your readers?
If you answered "no" to more than just a couple of these questions, admit it: You’re a one-way marketer.
Understand you’re not listening, not responding. You’ve not yet aligned yourself with your readers’ online behavior, experiences, and expectations. You most likely still send campaigns rather than manage email conversations.
This is getting you nowhere fast, isn’t it?
Change Your Ways
The quality of listen-and-respond communications can take an email dialogue far beyond selling, advertising, and marketing. With a very customer-focused approach to messaging, content, frequency, segmentation, and metrics, you can begin to create a dialogue of equals. You will truly understand where the prospect is in the buying process. This will demonstrate you’re listening to readers, not just to the sound of clicks.
Another huge benefit of dialogues of equals is your newsletters will be less spam-like.
Ways to start a dialogue of equals with your readers:
In future columns, we’ll explore segmentation more, including the importance of psychographics. Meantime, email your thoughts!
Meet Kathleen at ClickZ’s Weblog Business Strategies in Boston, June 9-10.
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Kathleen Goodwin is the former CEO of IMN (formerly iMakeNews), specializing in customer acquisition and retention through permission-based e-newsletters. For nine years, she was vice president of marketing for Ziff-Davis' publishing division, where she oversaw the marketing of all print publications and their early online siblings. She also serves as an advisor to early-stage companies and has been responsible for several successful new-business launches.
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