June 29, 2009

eNewsletters Part 2/4: Overcoming Your Three Biggest Objections

Last time, we looked at why you need an eNewsletter now. You'll agree that email newsletters improve contact with your clients, prospects and centres of influence. Yet you probably worry about the details. Here are the three biggest questions that advisors ask
  1. where do you get the content?
  2. where do you get readers?
  3. how do you find the time?
The answers to these objections are simpler than you think.

Getting The Content
Getting content is fairly easy. While original content sets you apart, you don't have to write every single word. Instead, link to quality free content that's available online. Create Google Alerts to track what matters to your target readers. Look for articles in publications you read online. Check out Twitter feeds like @mActuary and @riscario for ideas.

You simply write a short catchy summary and link to the source material. That can be your newsletter. Your approach will evolve over time as you find your voice.

Getting Readers
We're in a permission-based world. Add your current clients to your distribution list. You can add others who give you permission. Violate these rules and you risk termination by your Email Marketing provider. New readers can subscribe via links in your newsletter or through a signup form that your Email Marketing provides for insertion on your own website.

You probably want two lists
  1. clients and prospects
  2. centres of influence
with one email to each group each month. You can refine over time. You may eventually want clients and prospects in separate lists. Or a separate list for your top clients.

Finding The Time
You can send eNewsletters from Microsoft Outlook or other email applications. You can even get fancy and personalize each email with the recipient's name (e.g., Dear ). This chews up time and requires that you be at your computer at the right time. Your email provider may limit how many emails you can send in a day as protection against spammers and to prevent their service from slowing down. Many little things can go wrong, Your computer might freeze. Do you reboot or wait? How do you restart an interrupted mailing? Removing those who want to unsubscribe takes time. You can easily get frustrated and distracted.

Instead, copy the professionals: use an Email Marketing application.

Here are the key features I'm looking for:
  1. web-based: nothing to install or backup on your own computer
  2. segmentation: to send emails to a portion of your list (e.g., clients who already bought critical illness insurance)
  3. autoresponders: to send a preprogrammed sequence of emails (e.g., for new subscribers)
  4. adding addresses without requiring opt-in: for including existing clients who gave you permission earlier (use carefully or your service can be terminated)
  5. integration with Google Analytics: for tracking
  6. scheduling: to have emails go out at a specified future time
  7. attachments: to send files (when appropriate) rather than links to files (e.g., for a free special report to reward new subscribers)
  8. social networking plugins: so your articles can be spread via Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etc
  9. video: so you can embed more than just text (will become more important over time)
  10. surveys: to interact with your readers
  11. CAN-SPAM compliance: to follow the latest anti-spam laws
In Part 3, we'll at different Email Marketing providers and I'll pick one. Finally, in Part 4, I'll send out an actual eNewsletter and share the results with you. In the meantime, continue getting your email addresses ready for your own campaign.


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