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Entrepreneurs Can Use Newsletters to Grow Their Business
Published on Mar 6, 2013
Read our article, 'Entrepreneurs Can Use Newsletters to Grow Their Business' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Company newsletters provide small business owners today with a tremendous opportunity to position themselves for long-term growth after incorporation.
The fact is, the Internet has been flooded with information and much of it is useless sales jargon. Prospects and customers receive thousands of emails a day. How can a newsletter stand out from the crowd?
The first step is to develop the newsletter so that it’s an indispensable read. Unfortunately, this concept flies in the face of the typical corporate newsletter, which typically contains press releases and sales pitches. Increasingly, such newsletters will be deleted to the trash folder on sight.
To become a must read, the company’s newsletter should either contain analysis that the reader cannot get anywhere else, or aggregate a narrow slice of information that’s being reported in a variety of other sources.
An example of the former is a bi-monthly newsletter produced by Troux Technologies Inc. called Architecture & Governance. The newsletter provides leadership articles in a narrow area — enterprise architecture and IT governance. It builds community around these professionals, while subtly highlighting its value proposition.
An example of the latter is a newsletter that Apogeenet.net once published called Resnet Alert. When the company, which provides networking services to colleges and universities, was first starting out, it created a newsletter that would deliver a menu of articles that would be relevant to its prospective customers – chief information officers at colleges and universities. Apogeenet.net also included articles and press releases about its own company, which helped build trust and name recognition.
These publications can also be a powerful tool from a business development standpoint, since the entrepreneur can offer editorial exposure to a partner and perhaps receive something in return.
Two key questions should be addressed before embarking on such a project.
First, does the company want to blatantly brand the newsletter as being published by the company? The simple answer is typically yes if the company is in a mature or crowded industry. The answer is no if the company is pioneering a niche, such as what Troux is doing in the enterprise architecture space. The company need not be deceptive with this, but should be subtle.
Second, does the company have a professional in house who can oversee the success of a publication? The answer may be yes if the company has a marketing person with journalism experience and plenty of bandwidth. If the company is too small, then some public relations firms may possess the skill set for publishing such a newsletter.
Newsletters and magazines remain a fertile ground for establishing rapport with customers and prospects. But publishing a newsletter that offers little benefit to that audience is a costly exercise and should be avoided. Unlike many other marketing tools that leverage the Internet, companies that choose this route are best off producing a quality must-read newsletter, or none at all.