Friends and Family Happy Hour Tuesday January 27, 2009

Ever wonder what my company, Flat World Media,  does?  You’re not alone.  Most of my friends and family don’t understand it, either.  So Kathy and I will be hosting a happy hour on 1/27 at The Rack in South Tampa to mingle and evangelize.

Very casual.  No sales.

You don’t even need to talk to us if you don’t want to.  But if you’re interested in learning more about online marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, web analytics and everything else, then come on down.  We’d love to have you.

Tuesday January 27, 2009
The Rack
1809 W. Platt St.
Tampa, FL 33606

Online Newsletters Can Help Your Home Business Grow

If you think your company or Web site does not need an online newsletter, think again! People are online, and reaching them through the Internet is both smart and profitable for businesses of all sizes. Just consider how many people are online. According to comScore, an Internet information provider, in 2006 it was calculated that 694 million people worldwide were using the Internet.

And if that is not enough to get you thinking, looking at the online purchasing statistics from this past holiday season just might. For the 2008 holiday season, comScore reports that consumers spent $24.71 billion online. Using a professional newsletter to promote your business could have brought you additional business. When making e-mail marketing plans, however, it is important to keep in mind that not all newsletters are created equal. Knowing how to use one to reach your audience will make determine whether it is immediately moved to the trash bin or whether it brings welcome traffic and sales to your business.

Why It’s Necessary

Whether you are running a home-based business or one that is located in the biggest building in town, you can benefit from having an online newsletter. When someone reads a company newsletter, if it is done properly, they will not know how big your business is. Online newsletters are great for putting your name in front of customers on a regular basis. It helps build name recognition and gives you a reputation as an authority or expert in a given area. It can also drive traffic to your site.

In addition, online newsletters are ideal because they are green, since they do not use any paper, ink or other resources. Because of this, they require very little overhead to start and maintain, making them a cost-efficient tool that can yield a great return on your investment. But do not just start typing away to create your own newsletter. In order to be taken seriously and not marked as spam, you need a plan as you set out on this mission.

What to Include

Think about any of the newsletters that arrive in your e-mail inbox. Which ones do you read? Which ones do you immediately delete or unsubscribe to? Start there – that will give you a good idea as to what works in a newsletter and what does not. Also, check out the newsletters that any of your competitors may offer. See what they are including in theirs, and what you like and do not like about the one they have distributed. Additionally, keep the following areas in mind when creating your online newsletter plan:

  • Design. When it comes to reaching out to your customers, you want to make sure your newsletter always looks professional. It is easy to learn to create one on your own, but if you would rather not, you can outsource this for a small fee.
  • Writing. Each issue, it needs to be free of grammatical errors, to look professional, and to have strong headlines to grab the reader’s attention. You can either hire a writer to do this or, if you do it yourself, at least have someone else proofread it before it is sent out.
  • Focus. Your newsletter should have a new focus each time it is sent out. For example, find a holiday or event to target. Try to make it humorous, if possible. Your newsletter should also tease the reader, so they get a glimpse of information in the newsletter but then need to click to go your site to read the full details. Aim to keep it interesting and relevant to your business or product. Also, always try to have a call to action, such as a coupon or discount code, as well as inviting them to forward the newsletter to friends.
  • Frequency. Decide how often you will send out the newsletter, and stick with that schedule. Avoid the urge to send it too frequently, because that will most likely just annoy the subscribers. For most businesses, once per month is ideal, although having an additional extra issue occasionally for special purposes is fine, as well.
  • Simple. Keep your newsletter simple for the subscriber. Providing everything from having a link or button on your site to subscribe to having a link to easily unsubscribe is important. And avoid sharing your subscribers’ e-mail addresses with anyone. This will only lead them to distrust you.

Online newsletters are the future. Increasingly, magazines are also taking their issues online, leaving paper behind. Newsletters are right there with them. It is easy and cost-efficient for any company to take advantage of an online newsletter as a way to reach their audience. Use it to your advantage to reach your customer base with ease, especially if yours is a home-based business.


Online E-mail Marketing

Online newsletters are simply another form of e-mail marketing. Used correctly, this tool can be highly beneficial to your company. The following sites can be helpful in creating and sending out an e-mail newsletter to keep you in contact with your clients. For a small fee, they help keep the process easy and professional.