“The top reason customers quit doing business with a company is their belief that the company is indifferent to them,” says TeleDirect International, a call center specialist.

Not only can an e-newsletter demonstrate value to your customers, but also it can change your customers' perception of your business. By including timely articles solving current business problems, you show your customers that you understand them. This repeatedly reinforces their importance to you. While attracting new prospects and sustaining their interest over time, you're building their trust in your company.

Step two in this seven-part series, How e-Newsletters Find, Acquire, and Retain Customers for You, is Building Trust. In this article, we'll show you how to become your customers' trusted information source for the daily business problems they face. This trust will keep your existing customers comfortable doing business with you and encourage business from prospects.

Know Your Customers

Before marketing through an e-newsletter, take steps to know your customers, prospects, and their industry.

How is the industry doing? What are its biggest challenges? What issues do they face on a daily basis?

First, rely on what you've learned over the years. You may already share the same kind of pain as your customers or, at least, know what they are facing. If you don't know your customers, get to know them. Become a better listener. Talk with trade associations and sales people. Proactively seek customers, find ways to be more accessible to them, and listen to their dilemmas.

For potential customers, there are many ways to better understand them. See what the competition is doing and what type of customers they have. Use the Internet as a resource for finding information on competitors, potential customers, and experts in your field. Learn from these experts by reading their columns, e-mailing them and asking about a solution to a problem customers face, or calling and interviewing them about industry trends and challenges.

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Hank Stroll (Hank@InternetVIZ.com) is publisher at InternetVIZ, a custom publisher of 24 B2B e-newsletters reaching 490,000 business executives.

Tamara is a writer at InternetVIZ and is available for freelance work.