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Better Websiting: Super Site Promotion

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Make a Great Newsletter

Mailing list, ezine, members' update, newsletter -- call it what you will, it is essential for your website to have a method of contacting your interested visitors. It can be an invaluable asset for a variety of reasons.

Even if subscribers have never bought a single item from you, once they give you permission to contact them, they provide you with a resource which is useful in several ways. The first aspect is obvious: Instead of being a random person who stumbles onto your site and bounces away again, someone who joins your update letter gives you the opportunity to increase your brand recognition and market your products and services to them, letting them know when the hottest and newest items appear. Having your name in mind makes them more likely to return to your site or brick-and-mortar store.

Besides simply being another sales ad, the interactive nature of mailing lists can be used to your benefit for research purposes. Your list of subscribers becomes a free, targeted focus group you can use to determine your customer demographic, what your customers want and need, suggestions from users about how to improve your business, and much more important information.

There are a number of free mailing list services available which you can use to maintain your subscribers with ease. One that I've used to good effect is offered by Bravenet. It has a small ad at the bottom of each mailing, but the list system works quite well, providing an easy way for visitors to join or leave and a simple newsletter creation template. They also have a number of other services, from guestbooks to counters and more, most at no cost whatsoever.

Use your mailing list wisely, always include content your readers will find interesting -- not just what you want them to buy -- and respect the fact that they've trusted you with their personal information. Don't break that trust. Done correctly, your newsletter can be a great contribution to your site's success.