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Word Up

You may have heard the expression "Word up," which likely originated in hip-hop. Looking at its meaning — which is to convey agreement, acknowledgment, and approval with enthusiasm — gives us pause to think What about our word? In reality, when it comes to communicating who we are, all we have is our word.

So what power are we giving it? What placement? How are we delivering our word through our businesses? We've all experienced a disconnect between the words we want to convey to our clients and customers and the words that reside inside of us. In the simple but profound book "The Four Agreements," author Don Miguel Ruiz reminds us to be impeccable with our word, using its power for truth and love. Our challenge becomes finding the best means to express and deliver our message in our "voice," while also making sense, keeping ourselves visible, and creating value among those with whom we share our words.

Consider the newsletter as a tool to achieve that goal. More and more in our work/life we see the need for relationship-building, networking, sharing news, and building community. Businesses from sole proprietorships to established corporations are using newsletters as a marketing tool to accomplish those ends. A newsletter keeps you in front of clients, prospects, and colleagues; gives you a platform for sharing your focus; and helps you clarify your point of view. Newsletters also work to get employees, distributors, sales reps, and news media excited about your service or brand. Add to it the fact that newsletters are easily forwarded and archived, interactive, and have low variable cost. Done right, newsletters are a perfect and inexpensive way to market your business.

Granted, carving out the time to create a newsletter may seem difficult and the actual task of writing them may appear daunting. So don't go it alone — look to the experts. Joan Mansbach, an award-winning writer/marketing consultant with consumer lifestyle expertise, writes newsletters for clients and provides an easy, one-stop solution. You can take care of both the writing and distribution to your database of the complete package.

Thanks to technology and a variety of creative templates, newsletters can be created to graphically reflect our businesses and services in color and design. Dianne Coles, a leading New York image consultant, had this to say: "Newsletters gave me the opportunity to connect with my clients. In turn, they shared my wardrobe tips and motivational excerpts with their friends, which resulted in several new clients for me. The newsletters actually became an effective networking outreach opportunity."

Michael Katz, author of "It Sure Beats Working," heads up Blue Penguin Development, a service that provides customized, electronic newsletters for professional service companies. Constant Contact, an email marketing solutions resource, distributes newsletters and creates online surveys, and Published Daily is a new provider of pre-written articles and distributor of newsletters.

While it's difficult to quantitatively measure the direct results of newsletters as a marketing vehicle, those who use them and receive them attest to the results. When you decide to cultivate customers via a newsletter that you are going to stick by, the seed you plant will germinate and its value will blossom in your customers' response. In these times when mega-marketing budgets are scarce, the newsletter has become the little engine that could, chugging along, building credibility, garnering trust, and delivering the goodwill of your word, as well as relevant information your clients will appreciate.

Think of your newsletter as a form of networking. When your recipients choose to share it with their colleagues and friends, the viral chain begins leading to expansion of your customer base and increased referrals. The key is to keep it both succinct and helpful by sharing concise advice, thumbnail industry updates and trend data, quick tips, and other wisdom.

Let your newsletter speak for you. Think too about the words of Henry David Thoreau: "Be true to your work, your word, and your friend."




Julie Sue Auslander, M.Ed, WPO, WBE

President / Chief Cultural Officer

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