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Online newsletters may not be as popular as God and country. But some days, it seems that they are close.

Enter “God” into a Google search box and 7,030,000 hits are returned. “Country” is even more popular with 10,100,000. "Newsletters" are just a notch below God with 5,040,000 hits.

Every online marketing guru and guru-in-training writes about how to produce, create, write, edit, distribute, manage, track, and delete newsletters. Newsletters have been glorified, vilified, amplified, beatified, and mystified. They can be modified, crucified, cut-and-dried, country-fried, city-fied, and--almost always--justified.

In the go-go late ‘90s, electronic newsletters earned a bad name as every “snake oil” salesperson began using them for dubious communications. With the heady days of the Internet bubble behind us, it's time to get back to newsletter basics.

Just as in the olden days, trust builds relationships, and relationships build sales. Used properly, newsletters can help build business relationships based on trust. And the key word is trust--trustworthiness in content, subject lines, mailing lists, regularity, and ability to quickly subscribe and unsubscribe.

Coming Attractions

In the upcoming six articles get the details on how you can find, acquire, and retain customers by following six business-relationship building steps.

Step 1 - Demonstrate Value – Deliver valuable information that solves the day-to-day problems of your readers, helps them stay on top of industry trends, and saves time by distilling practical information such as real-world best practices and industry advances from many sources. Learn how to determine your true value to your readers.

Step 2 - Build Trust – Become your customers' trusted information source on business problems by knowing your audience (you'll get tips on how to do that), positioning your company as a credible source, and speaking from integrity by being honest and respecting your customers' boundaries.

Step 3 - Show Stability - Deliver accurate and timely information that is vital to the success of your readers' business at regular intervals over time. We'll help you define this process and give you tips on becoming a stable and respected key industry information provider.

Step 4 - Getting and Keeping Their Attention – Ever dread going into the office and facing your e-mailbox jam-packed with junk e-mail? You can be your customers' All-Star Player in the “in-box attention getting” game and reinforce your value to the reader with each e-newsletter issue. Stay tuned for these tips.

Step 5 - Capturing Prospects – This article will help you get from suspects to prospects by delivering a two-way street of communication, deepening your relationship with potential customers and making it easier for them to buy your products or services.

Step 6 - Closing the Sale – Not only do e-newsletters make it easy for potential customers to contact you, they also let you harvest the relationship built around them and simplify sales for your sales team. The sales team dreams of knowing about their prospects' hot buttons prior to making that first call. See how this can happen.

Newsletter Benefits

The benefits of this type of marketing are many. They enable you to... 

1) Learn what types of information interest your readers through tracking and reporting.

2) Provide more leads for your sales team.

3) Increase the number of customers you have by building trust and loyalty.

4) Develop more traffic to the right places on your Web site through this marketing vehicle with easy-access links.

5) Decrease your cost per qualified lead.

Next week, we'll focus on demonstrating value to your readers through e-newsletters. We hope you find this new series to be thought-provoking, interesting, and valuable to your work life.

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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.