It's a mystery–-much like trying to solve a crime in a large mansion filled with wealthy debutants, intriguing associates, international guests, family members, maids and butlers. Everyone who had “opportunity” is considered a “suspect.”

In an e-newsletter community of your customers and targeted prospects, every e-newsletter recipient is also seen as a “suspect.”

Unlike those at the crime scene, however, your mailing list members are not suspected of foul play. Your readers are suspected of being interested in buying your product or service. The mystery to solve is how to identify which ones are prospective buyers, so your sales team can spend their time wisely.

Your Suspect Pool

Like the suspect in any good mystery, a suspect is one who just shows up. Suspects are those who continuously subscribe to your e-newsletter. As mentioned in the article Online Newsletters: Building Trust, these readers are not from a purchased mailing list, they are carefully chosen and connected to your organization. They expressed some interest in the business problem addressed in the newsletter. They appreciate the value that is discussed in Online Newsletters: Demonstrating Value, from the same series.

If a suspect unsubscribes to the e-newsletter, he or she is no longer visible to your organization. This lack of interest means one of two things: 1) either the reader does not have a business problem that you can solve, or, 2) the newsletter does not deliver good value (information) related to the business problem.

In the first case, this is a good thing. No time or money needs to be spent on those who disqualify themselves. It's too expensive pursuing those who have little or no interest in the value you offer.

In the second case, you have a problem. You are losing suspects, not because they are no longer interested in the business problem you solve, but because the e-newsletter is not delivering high quality information about the business problem.

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Hank Stroll ( 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.