If you don’t send out an email newsletter from your site, you should.
A web site resides at ‘your place’ — and is seen only if and when customers and prospects choose to visit.
A newsletter goes out to ‘their place’ — and arrives in the subscriber’s in-box with a frequency determined by you.
But most importantly, in my view, a newsletter gives you the opportunity to speak one-to-one in a more relaxed voice — and within a more relaxed atmosphere.
Can you create a relaxed atmosphere online, on your site? Not really.
At a commercial web site you have a lot to achieve within a small space. You’re cutting back on words. You’re cutting back on images to achieve faster download times. You’re cramming the important stuff within the first screen. You’re minimizing the number of clicks between the homepage and the moment of purchase. You’re desperate not to lose visitors.
Your homepage, in particular, is likely a high-stress environment.
And you can’t build a ‘stressed structure’ without some of that feeling being sensed by your visitors.
When was the last time you visited an e-commerce site that gave you an overwhelming sense of calm and relaxation?
Can’t think of one, myself.
Trouble is — a stressed shopping environment is not a great place in which to create relationships.
In addition, the content of your web site has to be viewed online, while people are logged on, right now — before their next task of the day. Or before another family member wants to use the phone line. Hurry, hurry!
Whereas, a newsletter can sit quietly in the in-box and be read at any time that suits.
Within a newsletter, you can create an entirely more calm, relaxed and conversational atmosphere.
Lest we forget, one of those Holy Grail things we all strive for is at least the semblance of a relationship with our customers. And you can’t create a relationship by being pushy and stressed.
“For crying out loud, Cindy, will you please hurry up and fall in love with me! I have a plane to catch!”
So… do most big sites send out newsletters that are calm and conversational in their style? Not really.
But I think they should. I think there’s a missed opportunity here.
Far too often, I receive email from e-commerce sites that try to pound me between the eyes with the same high-impact, high-stress approach that is used on their web sites. Or worse.
In fact, even where I have opted-in, I’m often barraged by the email equivalent of a hard-sell direct mail program.
I think these sites might have done better to take advantage of the medium a little more carefully.
Use your newsletters to talk in a style that is one-on-one.
Don’t sell and push from the first word. Be a person, have a voice, let your personality show through.
Better still, use a newsletter to start a conversation. Encourage feedback. Use that feedback to alter the pace and tone of your next newsletter, and so on.
Make friends first. Then make more sales.