Grab a blank sheet of paper and a pen. On it, draw a donut (if you’re eating breakfast as you read this, feel free to draw your donut).
If all went well, you’ve now got a piece of paper with two circles on it, one inside the other.
Although I admit it’s a bit of an oversimplification, when it comes to using an E-Newsletter as a business marketing tool, this donut illustrates how I view the world (now you know why we consultants get paid so much money).
Here’s what I mean:
• The inside of the donut — the donut hole — represents your clients and/or customers. The people with whom you are currently doing business.
• The outside of the donut represents the world at large. The “strangers” who have had no previous interaction with you, your coworkers, or your company.
• The donut itself (stay with me, here comes the important part) represents your “non-client relationships.” From your hottest prospect to the guy you just met this morning at a business meeting, and everybody in-between. Colleagues, resellers, partners, information requesters, investors, newsletter subscribers, your daughter’s first grade teacher, etc. They’re not clients, but they’re not complete strangers either.
In terms of your E-Newsletter, it’s with this third group — the donut dwellers — that the magic happens.
What about the other two groups?
An E-Newsletter is not effective with group #2, the strangers. We all delete a ton of spam every day, and in terms of helping your cause, sending your E-Newsletter to strangers has a much greater potential for damaging your firm’s reputation than it does for bringing in incremental business. Please don’t do it.
As for group #1, your clients, the newsletter is certainly effective as a retention and cross selling tool. But since you’re already doing business with this group, and since you therefore already have a number of other opportunities for interacting with them, the E-Newsletter is just one of several tactics in the mix.
No my friends, it’s with the donut dwellers that the miracles happen. Some examples . . .
• Your E-Newsletter is the perfect tool for letting “future clients” lurk in the background, anonymously reading what you’ve got to say month after month, until the day comes that their need and their trust in you both grow strong enough, and you get a phone call asking for assistance.
• Your E-Newsletter is the perfect tool for keeping in front of the, “Can you send me some information?,” folks, or the “vanishing proposal requesters” who take an initial step forward and then seem to disappear. With an E-Newsletter you don’t need to make those awkward and unproductive, “I’m just checking to see if you got the information and wondering if I’ll be hearing from you again before the end of time,” calls. If they’re getting your newsletter, they’re hearing from you, and you can just let it go and know that they’ll be back when the time is right.
• Your E-Newsletter is the perfect tool for colleagues to use in passing your name along to someone who might need your services. It’s so much more effective for them to forward your newsletter to an associate than to attempt to explain who you are, what you do, and what makes you different. Your E-Newsletter does the job perfectly.
Bottom Line: Your newsletter works magic for the folks who live in the zone between client and stranger. Your job is to invite (invite, not assume) as many of these people as you possibly can onto the list. Do that, and you’ll get maximum results from the E-Newsletter that you work so hard on.