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Traditional Approach Produces Quality E-mail Newsletters, Speaker Says

NEW YORK — E-mail marketing through newsletters is not much different from traditional direct marketing — content and packaging are still important. The only difference is that e-mail newsletters are a much cheaper form of marketing.

According to Andy Sernovitz, CEO of GasPedal Ventures, marketers should employ traditional direct marketing techniques in order to produce a good response to e-mail newsletters.

“It's about content and quality,” Sernovitz said during a session at the DMD Marketing Conference here. “The newsletter has to be about the recipient. No one wants to read about your company. Think about what will move your prospective customer.”

Sernovitz noted that sending e-mail newsletters is one of the cheapest forms of marketing and holds the possibility of large response rates. As long as the content is interesting, marketers can throw an ad into the newsletter without upsetting potential customers, he said.

GasPedal Ventures, based in New York, is a consulting firm that works with e-mail newsletter publishers.

“You're trading interesting information or content for the right to stick in a few ads,” he said. “The format matters a lot. You don't realize how easy it is to hit that delete key.”

Sernovitz said e-mail newsletters should be short and interesting. Four or five three-sentence paragraphs are ideal, he noted. Putting an ad between the first and second paragraph will get the ad noticed.

“You make the sale in the footer,” he said. “You can put as much as you want there. It's out of the way and doesn't interfere with the enjoyment of the content.”

He noted that the easiest way for marketers to build their e-mail lists is to barter ads with other e-mail newsletter publishers. Most newsletter publishers are in the same boat when it comes to ads, Sernovitz said.

“Ad barter is the number one way to get subscribers,” he said. “The best place to get subscribers is from someone who has e-mail newsletters, too.”

One of the most overlooked forms of promotion for e-mail newsletters, Sernovitz pointed out, is offline guerrilla marketing. Marketers should take every opportunity they can to promote their newsletter, he said.

“There is no other form of marketing that is this cheap,” he said. “Any place you have contact with your prospective customer, offer them your newsletter.”

Sernovitz suggested that marketers can promote their newsletters by issuing a press release, taking advantage of viral marketing and getting their employees to mention the newsletter each time they talk to a potential customer.

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