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Edition 15

Converting casual readers to big fans

I have to tell you about one of the people I trust most in this world - it's my best friend Melissa (name changed to protect the innocent).

I trust her because she trusts me enough to let me know those little things about her that no-one else does.

I know she loves chocolate so much she'll resort to eating a frozen chocolate cupcake just to get her fix.

I know she snores when she's pregnant, that even though she's happily married her wedding day was close to the worst day of her life and I know she won't eat custard, cream or yogurt - not because of the taste - but because of the texture (?!).

Yep, there's a whole lotta love and a whole lotta trust between me and Mel.

Now if you're in business, you would know that trust is THE critical element to making a sale. But here's the thing - earning someone's trust takes time.

Confessing her bizarre eating aversions was not something Melissa shared with me the first, second or even the third time we met.

So how do you go about building a relationship with a hot new prospect?

Well, I'm surprised you had to ask. An E-newsletter of course but let's be clear - you've got to treat it nice!

If I had a buck for every time someone told me they'd tried marketing with an E-newsletter and it didn't work, I'd be a bit less cranky and very rich.

The fact is, E-newsletters do work.

  • They do allow you to stay in touch with strangers after they visit your website;
  • They do allow you to demonstrate your expert knowledge and unique perspective on your work;

plus ...

  • They do allow people to get to know and like you and warm up to your style so that by the time they pick up the phone to call you for the very first time or (click through to your website), they are red hot ready to buy.

The following phenomenon started about eight months after I started publishing a regular monthly E-newsletter.

People I had only ever seen as a name on my open list would ring me and start chattering away like they'd known me for years.

"How's the kids?", "How's the weather over there in Binningup?"...

The thing is, I know these callers first need to feel like they know me before they will take that next step to trusting me and then that last baby step of hiring me.

So how can you turn the E-newsletter you're about to dump from your marketing mix because it's not playing the game into a trust-building, profit-growing machine?

Here's some very simple tips:

Give some consideration to your FROM field. It's the first thing people check before deciding whether to open or delete. Think about what is most recognisable to your audience - your name, or your company name?

Set a publication schedule and stick to it come hell or high water. This is where many, many E-newsletter publishers fall down. Arriving on the same day and time every time builds trust.

Imagine if you went to buy your weekend paper and the corner store told you it would not be available until Wednesday because the printers are too busy!

Use a HTML format so branding can be included. Your branding helps communicate who you are. Use HTML format for your E-newsletter so your branding can be accurately represented.

Include a photo of yourself. People want to buy from other people. Being able to see what you look like allows your readers to make a connection with you more easily.

Talk like a human. Dump the corporate speak. Write the same simple way you speak which again, allows people to connect with you more easily.

Use stories. Nothing communicates a point or makes is more memorable than personal stories. These bring your newsletter to life, make it entertaining and build trust like nothing else can.

Always answer responses in a timely fashion. This is where I stamp my foot so listen carefully. Sending out an E-newsletter and then ignoring people's emailed responses, feedback or comments is about as polite as ringing them, waiting for them to say "hello" and hanging up! Successful E-newsletters generate discussion between their authors and their audience so giving them the cold shoulder the moment you pique their interest is really bad form.

Here's the bottom line: If you're using an E-newsletter as a tool for building trust, the first thing you need to do is trust your E-newsletter. It will work, it will generate the results you want it to. But you have to know if you treat your E-newsletter (and its readers) like a one night stand instead of an enduring friendship, you will probably get the inbox door slammed in your face.

Brown Mouse Communications helps small business owners build trust and win sales through high quality, individualised email newsletters.

© Copyright 2008 Brown Mouse Communications

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