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Superior Service: How to Blast Your Way to Customer Loyalty

Superior Service: How to Blast
Your Way to Customer Loyalty

Brought to you by the Cisco Innovators Program [LINK:]

Every business is a brain trust. Are you using your company's intelligence to build customer confidence in and reliance on your business?

If not, you may be missing out on one of the best - and least expensive - way to serve and influence customers: the e-newsletter.

WHY Publish an Email Newsletter?
Using an e-newsletter to share your expertise, tips and tricks, and advisories allows you to:

  • Surpass competitors by building strong customer relationships, "touching" customers frequently without spending a lot of money. A steady pulse of useful communication keeps you top of mind.
  • Increase leads and sales. According to a 2009 Forbes study, the most effective digital ways to generate sales are search engine optimization, email, and e-newsletters.
  • Easily measure the effectiveness of your efforts, using real-time metrics.

Following are best practices that can help you avoid squandering your or your customers' time.

DO NOT Be a Spammer

  • Comply with the anti-spam legislation of your country, and of your recipients' countries.

WHO to Send It To

  • Identify the target audience. It may include customers and prospects. It may focus on specific demographics or purchase behaviors.
  • Build your list. If you already have a "house list" of people with whom you have a business relationship, you may be permitted to email them, encouraging them to subscribe; be sure to include your privacy policy and an unsubscribe link. Add more names by promoting subscriptions on your website, in your social media, and at events. You can also promote to rented opt-in lists.

WHAT Content to Include

  • Make it relevant, meaningful, and useful to your target audience. Give subscribers information that can help them. Avoid merely promoting your products or company.
  • Provide unique, timely information that is hard to find or unavailable from other sources. Talk about what you know best, and keep it up to date.
  • Deliver a friendly design. Use a layout that is easy for subscribers to view on their laptops, smart phones, or other email devices. Make it easy to skim. Subscribers spend an average of 51 seconds reading the e-newsletter in their email inbox, and an additional 33 seconds on information found by pursuing its links to websites, according to a Norman Nielsen Group report.
  • Include a way for subscribers to opt out, and a physical address in the footer; these are two requirements of the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act.
  • Use smart headers. Write a short, enticing "subject" line that impels subscribers to open the e-newsletter and read the content you've promised. The "from" line should be a name that is familiar to your audience, reflects your brand, and has a straightforward address.

WHEN to Blast

  • Send your newsletter on a regular schedule, whether monthly or bimonthly, weekly or biweekly. Sustain the frequency to keep your connection; don't become a disappearing act.
  • Before sending any issue, send tests to a variety of email accounts (such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! Mail) to see how and when the newsletter will appear to subscribers.
  • Test sending on different days and times to see which produce the best responses.

WHERE to Do It

  • In-house: You can do everything internally. A range of e-newsletter applications can help. At a minimum, draft the content, create the initial email list, monitor the list and ensure its security, promote subscriptions on your website and in customer interactions, solicit and respond to readers' feedback, and use metrics to evaluate your newsletter.
  • Outsource: You can contract services to design, edit, produce, test, and blast the newsletter; promote it; securely manage your subscription list; and report performance metrics such as delivery or bounce, open, click-through rates, and conversion rate or other measures of customer sales and loyalty.


Next Steps

Discover how you can use your network to manage an e-newsletter. Find a Cisco® Certified Partner [LINK:] in your area that can help you with your network connectivity and security needs.

Join the Cisco Innovators Program [LINK:] to continue receiving small business-related articles, videos and offers. Already a member? Refer a friend [LINK:]

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