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Why You Should Offer An Email Newsletter

For some reason, many business people don't see newsletters as important. However, I've seen newsletters have major impact on the effectiveness of a Web site, if they are properly used.

Today's advertising environment is crowded, so a typical visitor to a Web site is literally bombarded with advertising messages all day long. Of course, we know that television brings its own advertising that we see constantly as we watch, and as we drive and listen to the radio we are bombarded. And as we drive, we see signs on vehicles all around us, we see ads on signs along the road, and we pass businesses with signs on them. We get ads in the mail; we even get advertising over the phone. Each day we may get hundreds of exposures to advertising.

Naturally, we develop a certain insensitivity to these messages; if we didn't, we would be overwhelmed. But because of this insensitivity, a visitor who makes one visit to a Web site is not likely to remember much about it, and may not remember the URL. A common view is that a person needs to see seven exposures to a new proposition before that proposition begins to be taken seriously.

So the visit to the site counts as that first exposure. But now we've had just one sxposure - not enough to be taken seriously - when the visitor leaves, what will bring her back? A few visitors will be so enthusiastic that they will be committed and send us an email, or even buy now right from the site. Some others will bookmark the site, and a few of those will even remember to come back to the bookmark. But the rest? They may have liked the site, thought that they might buy, but it's just one proposition out of many that they see that day, and they pass on....

Unless we get the visitor's email address! Once we have that address, then we can get back to the visitor regularly, and if once a visitor has stayed on our mailing list for the next six newsletters, then we have our seven exposures and the real possibility of a purchase begins to exist. So the reason to have a newsletter is to extend our selling ability past those enthusiasts who buy on the first exposures and the systematic people who set a bookmark and come back, so that we can sell to the people who otherwise, although they liked us, would have gone on and forgotten about us.

But on the Internet we don't want to just say "give us your email address," we need to motivate the visitor by providing some incentive for this behavior that we seek. But what can we offer? Of course the term "discounts" comes to mind - offer special offers, future discounts of some sort. "Sign up for our newsletter and learn about special Internet deals" may be OK for your business - but think about this. These "specials" are potentially reaching your current customers and may affect your pricing for everyone, including people who are now happy to pay full price!

So my suggestion is to put a newsletter signup box on the page for those how are ready, and then in small text something like "Three reasons to sign up" for the visitor who needs to be convinced. Clicking on the reasons link brings up a popup with a quick presentation of three reasons to sign up.

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