November 20, 2002

Issue 3.1

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Building Relationships Takes Time

Overcoming the overnight "surge urge" and following our own advice

by Meryl K. Evans, Editor

Whenever we talk to a new or a "we hope to land soon" client, we are careful to stress the relational aspect of newsletter marketing. In fact, we go lengths to tell people that it takes time to build a list, time to develop trust, and time for people to feel comfortable enough to make the contact to initiate a purchase.

We say this because we believe it. Wholeheartedly and without reservation. We also believe this is the only way to be truly effective. (Well, another way is to have tens of millions of dollars of VC and ..... wait, that didn't work well, eh?)

We take the time to advise people how to start newsletters, get the list rolling, and begin building the relationships with prospects and customers and, over time, they are rewarded.

Since we spend most of the time doing this, you'd think we are calm folks, sipping caffe lattes while waiting patiently (yeah, right) for our brilliant marketing strategy to work. Right?  Unfortunately for our poor stomachs, the answer is a resounding, "nope!"

Hey, the truth is that finding new clients today is a rough ride. The end rewards of newsletter marketing are great after taking the time to get the ball rolling to see the effects. We like to say, "It's like a locomotive. It can take a while to get rolling, but once it does, it can pull a lot of weight."

The knee-jerk response to moments of slow sales, or prospective sales, is to renege on the principles behind newsletter marketing and hunt for prospects rather than maintain the farming system put into place. Occasionally, we become tempted to throw our own advice out the window and, in a knee-jerk reaction, hunt rather than farm.

Here's how we cope with those moments and get our minds back into gear, where we can pay attention, once again, to our own logic:

Look at the number of new subscribers: Nothing makes you feel better than to look at the number of new subscribers. It gives you a warm, all-over feeling to know that people are responding to the message and are choosing to opt-in to the newsletter. We think that every new reader is also a potential client.

Look at the statistics on reading patterns: Next to new subscribers, nothing gets us juiced like checking out how people are reading the newsletters. This tells us that we have done our jobs properly and people do find the newsletters valuable. (We give each other high-fives at this point.)

Look at the statistics for our Web site: In the final analysis, the only stat that matters is new orders. But farmers know that 'you reap what you sow.'  We look at the total number of visits to our Web sites, see if people are visiting the "right page" (the page with our free offer), which other pages they look at, and, my personal favorite, which continents from which they hail. (Last week, we had 92 visitors from Asia and over 200 from Australia. No one from Africa, though.)

Plan a strategy of attack for the next wave: One thing we are never short on is ideas and energy. Actually, that's two things. We have them both in good supply and we are constantly putting our ideas out there and suggesting new ways to bring clients on board. This is always a positive because, at a minimum, it distracts us and gets us working on something. Always a good thing.

Review our current client list: This is fun, because it confirms that things works and more good things will come.

We also go to lunch together, discuss the ups and downs of the day, and try to help one another focus and remain positive. Tasks like these are the keys to building and maintaining your trust in the newsletter marketing philosophy. It's not quick and easy. It's not a marriage proposal on the first date. But, over time and through repeated contact, it does work and relationships are built and deepened.

Lesson: When you believe something is true, and you advise others to act in accordance with that truth, make sure you walk the talk.

P.S.  Have some thoughts or an opinion?  Please drop me a line.


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