Tech companies, it's true: your customers care. They care about how you treat them and about what you're doing to help them. They care about working smarter with you. They even care how other customers are using your products and services. But especially, they care about you, because they depend on you. In many cases, their businesses won't run nearly as well—or at all—without your product.

More than any other kind of organization, a technology company must forge strong relationships with its customers. There's no better way—in addition, of course, to making sure your product fills their needs and it works—to strengthen your customer relations than by providing a content-rich newsletter on a regular schedule. Here are the top 5 ways:

1. Manage Tough Spots. Software development and other tech companies have unique points of contact with customers that many businesses never face:

1. Ongoing R&D

2. Beta testing

3. New releases

4. User group meetings

5. Ongoing support

6. Translating tech-talk for non-techies

Each of these is a touchstone for you to show your customers you care. A newsletter helps by keeping customers informed (explaining how a new release will make their lives easier, showing the benefits of attending a user meeting, etc.), or by easing a process (giving tips on how to use a product more easily, how to access support more quickly, etc.)

2. Offer Security. Many software customers have been burned. They may once have invested in a product similar to yours, only to have the developers stop improving the product, or worse, go out of business. It's a big investment when customers choose to do business with you—an investment in time, money and credibility with their bosses, colleagues and staff members. They want to feel secure about you.

Nothing makes customers feel more secure than receiving regular communication from you. A newsletter full of information about your company showing up regularly on their desks makes customers feel you're in this with them for the long run.

3. Foster Belonging. Software customers develop a feeling of camaraderie with others who use the same products. There's a sense of shared purpose and the “in-group” feeling everyone enjoys. A good newsletter encourages the feeling of belonging by keeping customers in the know about what's going on with their software product.

4. Give Recognition. Most people enjoy having their contributions recognized. Your product or service may be offering them a unique opportunity to give their best efforts—technology challenges us all to think harder and be more creative. Why not let your newsletter be a showcase for giving your customers credit? Interview them and share their stories. While you're at it, ask them why they like you! (N.B. Make sure prospects receive your newsletter, too. Credibility skyrockets with positive customer comments.)

5. Improve Sales. Your customers are businesspeople, too. They know that as long as you're making sales, you'll be around to support them. Salespeople love to give newsletters to their prospects. And when you send prospects regular communication from and about your company, they begin to develop strong positive feelings about you—even before they've made a decision to buy. Feelings that you care about your customers, you're in it for the long run, and your customers love you, so you must be good.

Happy, secure customers who feel good about you. If a newsletter can give you all that, what are you waiting for? Start one today, or revamp the one you've got if it's not doing the job.

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Barbara Payne is managing principal of <> . Read her blog at