Whether your business is experiencing good times or bad, it’s important to maintain and increase your profile, and one cost-effective way to promote your business is to communicate with your clients and prospects by way of a newsletter. Your database is gold, and emailing a newsletter is a subtle way to ‘fly the company flag’ and remind people why they should do business with you. Before you begin there are several things to consider: Who are you writing to? Just like any form of sales and marketing, it is imperative you understand your target market. Make sure your newsletter is industry-specific and relevant to them. Commenting on a current news story affecting your industry can be worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to express your opinion; after all you are an expert in your field. Of course information about your latest products or services should be included, but don’t be too pushy as this will turn people away. A case study showing how you helped an existing client is a good way to build credibility and demonstrate where you add value – a customer testimonial will support this. Keep it brief Nobody likes to be bombarded with too much information. If you don’t want your newsletter to suffer the ignominious fate of being consigned to the recycle bin, keep it brief and to the point. Remember the reader is probably busy and may only have time to scan the document for items of interest. Include web links to other articles that cover the subject in more detail. Make it fun There is no need to be too serious. Including a ‘quote of the day,’ a funny cartoon or a link to a humorous website is a great way to keep things light-hearted. Making your newsletter interactive by requesting the reader submit his/her opinion is also a way to make them feel included. Be consistent It’s poor form to send a three-page newsletter one month, only to follow it up with a couple of paragraphs the next. For example, the first section may cover industry news, the second new products or services available, and the third could include articles of interest. There may be several contributors to your newsletter, but for a cohesive result, it pays to assign one person to put it all together. A good newsletter offers something of worth to the reader. It can educate and entertain, but above all else needs to be easily understood, so keep it simple.