Washington DC: E-newsletters

Washington DC is now my home town. My friends and colleagues did not disappoint with a wonderfully spirited exchange of ideas and questions.

One question was posed regarding the use of Constant Contact for e-newsletters. Robin Thieme, owner of Kensington Business Solutions, gave a great summary of the guiding factors in choosing a system of e-newsletters:

  • Constant Contact is probably the leader due to their large market share and aggressive marketing. Because they specialize in this area they are able to create an inexpensive, easy-to-use system for creating and distributing online newsletters.
  • The difficulty with these separate email services are that they are not integrated with other customer databases which can require tedious (and eventually inaccurate) reconciliation of lists. If you find that you are selling online and communicating regularly with customers, you should think of investing in a list management system that is tied to the sales part of your website. Since your installed base is the true gold of your company, this is worth the extra time and money when you get to a certain size.
  • The other important must-have consideration is an easy way for recipients to opt in and out of your list. Besides fear of spamming. you can also quickly create customer ill will which no one wants. Services such as Constant Contact have an easy way to unsubscribe built into their process.
  • To measure ROM (return on marketing), look at the original size of your list, the percentage of those who open your newsletter and the percentage that do not subscribe. Don’t forget to ask new customers, “How did you hear about us?” to see if this is an important piece of your business development.

What are your best practices for e-newsletters?

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