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Running a customized Internet newsletter production company for the past year has taught me the following lessons about Internet newsletter marketing.

There is a rhythm to a prospect's movement into customer that can be controlled through newsletter production. Because newsletters are developed at a steady interval across time, they allow the company to continually distribute a constantly evolving marketing message. This provides a perfect framework for utilizing multi-step marketing principles.

Multi-step Marketing

Multi-step marketing begins with a single focus. Have the prospect engage in an immediate response to marketing efforts in order to screen them in to marketing programs. Once they "show up," they are pre-qualified and you can consider them ready to do business sometime in the future.

Sometime in the Future

The idea is to have people come to you rather than you to them through the incentive of your company newsletter. When people voluntarily come forward and ask to receive your free newsletter, you've isolated the true "prospects" from your suspects. Then, if they want more information or want more of what you've got, they're now "qualified leads" (people expecting to do business with you).

Internet newsletters enable you to avoid shotgun marketing and provide you with an endless stream of self-qualified and self-screened leads. People who request your newsletter will eventually want more because you. A small portion of these will generally turn into immediate customers. The more important fact, however, is that you have now have possession of a real-time marketing engine and database enabling to you to continually move prospects along the buying path.

A Successful Formula

It is important to note that readers can be led to particular links within the newsletter and that this is within the marketer's control. In this way, Internet newsletters are no different from print newsletters. Unlike print newsletters, however, Internet newsletters provide instant feedback enabling companies to adjust marketing messages in real-time.

When companies take advantage of this and push self-selected individuals along the buying path, newsletters are transformed from marketing vehicles into powerful sales tools.

Understanding Internet Newsletters

Internet newsletters allow prospects to self-select themselves. Furthermore, they provide a means through which the company can overcome skeptic attitudes and discover hot button interests.

When they are incorporated into a broader marketing effort, they are very powerful. They increase conference and seminar attendance. They deepen partner relationship. They enable outreach into the journalistic community. They do all this, and more, while providing real-time feedback on reader behavior.

The Prospect to Customer Progression

Once a prospect (i.e. a subscriber) is part of your database, you have control over how well the newsletter can used to transform him into a customer. By dividing the sales process into three distinct periods - find, acquire, and retain - newsletters can help control customer behavior.

During the period in which prospects are delaying the satisfaction of a need, they want to establish trust, value, and feel stability. Newsletters that successfully do this will accomplish the two primary goals of Internet newsletter marketing. These are to maintain and increase newsletter readership.

Maintaining and enhancing newsletter readership, by itself, will bring demonstrable ROI. However, when care is put into developing a newsletter campaign, the results bring extraordinary benefits.

The formula for a successful newsletter is the following:

1. The marketing message needs to be delivered in a subtle way.
2. There needs to be a clear call to action that offers value.
3. A landing page needs to be developed to continue the buying behavior.
4. It is at the landing page, and over time, that prospect will be in the buying attitude to become a customer.

If you follow these multi-step marketing principles by using a company Internet newsletter, your marketing and sales department will see immediate data with which to refine their efforts.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Kassel is a founding partner in InternetVIZ (http://www.internetviz.com), an Internet marketing firm helping companies find, acquire and retain customers through email newsletters. He can be reached at jason@internetviz.com.