- Start by collecting email addresses ASAP. Whether it's by phone, when signing a receipt, browsing the store, prospecting or collecting other specific contact information - always ask for an e-mail address. It's also a good idea to have a sign-up box on your website.
- Decide what items you would like to include in your e-newsletter. Do you have frequent sales? An upcoming event? Selling a new product? Did you win an award? Do you provide expertise on a certain subject? All of these are great ideas for inclusion in an e-newsletter communication.
- Decide upon frequency. How often do you want to reach your customers? How often do you think they want to hear from you? I go back the good old lesson of planning ahead. How often do you want to touch your customer and even more importantly how much time do you have to prepare your content? Layout a calendar by month adding in which times are most important that you to communicate with your customers.
- Find an e-mail service. If you Google e-newsletters, you'll see many different applications and they are all very similar. These companies offer good template based tools for you to enter in your information, graphics and company specific messaging.
Just like any "first", your first e-mail is a big deal! I have helped clients get their first communications off the ground and taught them how to "take it from there". I also have clients that I work on their communications consistently so they have time to focus on their business.
I guarantee that your competitors have moved or are moving in this direction - so now is the time to get your e-communications going!