In today’s economy, it is harder than it has been in a very long time to get the customer to open up his wallet and give you his credit card information. Due to this, small businesses that fail to innovate or, worse still, fail to connect with their existing customer base, simply fail. One of the simplest ways to make this vital connection with an existing customer base is to produce a monthly e-newsletter.
In addition to the obvious benefit of making the customer base feel appreciated and “in the know,” a monthly e-newsletter allows for experimentation within that group of people. By taking the core of your consumer base and subjecting it to things such as new schemes for sales, you are given a quick and dirty look into how well this new idea will fare with the cross-section of the population with the highest response rate toward your personal product. This high response rate also extends to the ability to leverage your existing customer base to provide free product reviews, free general marketing information, and free off-the-record critiques by simply asking them. People are often quite pleased when they learn their opinions not only valued, but specifically asked for. Use that impulse.
For those with very small businesses, the production of a monthly newsletter is just another regular cadence that can prove to the IRS that you are a business and not just a hobby. Remember, hobbies don’t pay the self-employment income tax, but cannot offset losses with deductions to anywhere near the same extent as a business. For those who are transitioning to a larger, more stable business, having as many sources of proof that you are serious about this as you possibly can will help enable you to classify yourself as a business.