In terms of building trust, newsletters are your best bet. With a little research and an insightful message, you have a much better chance of connecting with your target market. A well written, informative newsletter will help to establish yourself as an authority, instilling confidence in your readers and in effect prompting them to want more. Asking readers for feedback, getting them involved, will make them feel part of the community, and they will be more open-minded when you eventually guide them towards your product. Don’t try pushing the sale too quickly in a newsletter replete with ads and product info, or you will destroy the delicate web of trust you’ve spun with your content. Bloggers need a huge fan-base before any ads appear on their blog, not the other way around. Newsletters can be a double-edged sword, however, when it comes to establishing a relationship with a prospective client or reader. On the plus side, you are sending information directly to their inbox. They don’t have to wander the net since you’ve basically dropped it on their laps. The negative side is that your email will have to duck and dodge the dozens of filters and firewalls set up to eliminate spam. Anti-spam filtering is the number one reason why e-newsletters don’t get delivered, and once your email address has been flagged and your server blacklisted, it becomes a real pain to get them reinstated. So if you choose newsletters as your main form of e-marketing you should hire a professional company to manage your emails.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds are an extremely effective method for amplifying your marketing campaign, as they completely bypass the whole spam firewall obstacle. People have already decided they want the information, so instead of trying to “get your foot in the door” with your newsletter, people are essentially “inviting you in for tea” by subscribing to your news feeds. Once inside, your website can earn a 500% increase in click-through rate over traditional email marketing. Subscribers are automatically kept up to date on any changes you’ve made to your website, a task that would drive people crazy and would surely get you flagged as spam if the updates came as a constant barrage of emails. In the same way that newsletters have their pros and cons, so do RSS feeds. Despite the risk of getting blocked as spam, when sending out emails you are more or less in control of who gets what information and when. RSS feeds places the control in the hands of the reader, and pro-activity can be as much a curse as a blessing. People can be lazy and forgetful, so unless your content is extremely compelling and memorable, there’s a good chance your information will never get read. An RSS subscription means nothing if people don’t choose to read the feeds.
For bloggers and businesses alike, the more diverse your marketing campaign the better.
While every website should have an RSS feed, well-written newsletters should still be sent out. The key to success begins with quality content. Once your newsletter has impressed a reader, there’s a chance they’ll subscribe and will most likely visit your website. If they are impressed by your website, there’s a chance they’ll subscribe to your RSS feed. So while both have their pros and cons, when used effectively, they can work together to create a loyal, ever-increasing foundation of interested visitors. And the more people you have in your store, the better your chances of making a sale.