A great number of e-newsletter and e-zine programs fail every day, no matter how much time and money is spent on attempting to make them work. Perhaps they don't reach their target audience, or they don't make their sales goals. For some reason or another they simply didn't work. The majority of times however, it comes down to the fact that they simply did not pass the "so what" test. Instead of trying to solve the reader's problems, the failed newsletters attempted to sell products or services.
It is a natural progression that when your readers trust you, they'll buy from you, it's just that simple. However, one cannot develop a trusting relationship with a customer by shouting "buy, buy, buy" at them. A newsletter must pay attention to what the customer wants and needs, and it must speak to those issues. The reader will make the conclusion to buy on their own, and since they have built up a trust for you through your informative newsletter, they'll choose you first.
E-newsletter marketing is a less intrusive form of communication than traditional advertising. It is much more appealing to readers and, in turn, is a great deal more effective, as it delivers value to your customers on a regular basis. Additionally, newsletters make it easy for you to track which articles are most read, and therefore what information is most interesting and important to your customers.
The thing is, advertising doesn't have to look like advertising. It can be an article chock full of interesting information that revolves around your product or service, without specifically mentioning your product or service. People don't want to read ads - but they do want to find out how to make their lives easier or better in some way. This is illustrated through the 1%-3% of readers who open a direct mail piece and request further information, in comparison to the over 50% of recipients who click on newsletter articles to seek more information.
People want to learn how to solve their daily problems, to stay informed of industry trends, to learn critical information, and save time. So how do you do this and still get your message across? Write quality articles about the value and benefits of the types of products and services that you offer. Make them look just like the type of article you'd see in a quality newspaper. People don't care as much about the fact that Andyhairdryers.com has come out with a new hair dryer, as they care that this new dryer can cut their morning prep time in half. See the difference? Stating the benefit of the new hair dryer answered the "so what?" question concerning the new product. This made the product relevant in the reader's life and therefore prompted the reader to continue learning, and perhaps even buying the new product.
Whenever you write a newsletter, "So What?" should always be at the forefront of your mind. Every statement you make has to pass the "so what" test, or your newsletter simply won't be maximizing its potential with your readers.
To look at another example: certainly you could tell your reader that eBay sells many different products and services, but this would suggest very little unless you told the reader that this means that people with exactly their kind of business now have access to an entire new realm of opportunity by selling goods and services to the whole world through online auctions, that are easy to access. Simply telling the reader that a business has done something is much less interesting than knowing how to take advantage of that fact in order to increase business and profits. If you've managed to make the reader think about how he/she can improve his/her life through what is written, your newsletter has passed the "so what?" test and it is getting the message across. Now, if you happen to be selling a service that has to do with helping business owners with online auctions, the newsletter has worked just like advertising, while creating a trusting relationship with your reader and inspiring your reader to take action. Since the company they trust for online auction advice is yours, as you've been providing them with all of their information, they will naturally be inclined to ask you for help first!
The "so what?" test is the most simple and effective method to ascertain whether or not your e-newsletter or e-zine is doing all that it can with your potential customers. Why not take advantage of every second of your time with your customer's attention and ask yourself this simple question to make your newsletter work for you?
About the Author
Robert Moment, Author and Business Coach. Author of bestselling e-books "27 Powerful Networking, Branding, and Prospecting Tactics for Your Business" and "The Truth About Winning Federal Contracts".
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