How to Save Money & Time by Marketing Your Small Business with a Newsletter
What would I put in my business’s newsletter? People probably won’t read it anyway and I would waste my money! Heck, I don’t have the time to create a newsletter anyway!
Sound familiar? These are most of the considerations I hear from small business owners and managers who really would like to publish a newsletter, but are faced with what amounts to be a void consisting of the know-how and technology needed to produce a newsletter.
These business owners and mangers are smart people and who know their business inside and out, but publishing a newsletter—while seemingly should be a simple endeavor once started—becomes evident to them that there is a specific marketing technology and know-how that goes into creating and publishing a newsletter.
First of all, the cost issues. With the advent of full color digital printing, it has never been more affordable to create and print a newsletter for your business and there are ways we can get your postage and mailing cost way down. But, having said that, what would be the benefit to printing and mailing a company newsletter? Wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier to just send an email newsletter out?
You are correct in that it would be cheaper to send an email newsletter. But would it be more effective? Email marketing has its place, but for most businesses it should not be an either/or proposition. You should do both!
A well designed printed and mailed newsletter has very few drawbacks:
- Postage cost can be a drawback for some small businesses. There are ways we can get a reduced postage rate for you. The results possible by publishing and mailing a newsletter far exceed the cost of postage. For some service industries you can send your newsletter out via Every Door Direct Mail and get postage rate down to 17 – 21 cents per piece.
- People change mailing addresses less frequently than with email addresses. So you can effectively reach more people.
- Everyone you mail the newsletter to will SEE your newsletter. Direct mail has an almost 100% delivery rate. The United States Postal Service delivers the mail consistently and reliably—fact. And, there are no spam filters on the mailbox.
- A well-designed and printed newsletter has a long shelf life often hanging around and being read for several weeks after delivery and maybe read by multiple people.
- If planned and designed correctly printed newsletters have a high open and read rate.
- Publishing a newsletter allows you to become more familiar and better known with customers and prospects. People always buy from a business they know over one they don’t know.
- Publishing a newsletter allows you to stay in front of your customers. Remember your competitor’s best prospects are people who have bought from you. The few cents you spend on printing and publishing a newsletter far exceeds the cost of having to re-acquire a customer who strayed to one of your competitors.
Two ways you can make your company’s newsletter more readable and effective:
The 80/20 rule. 80% of the newsletter content needs to be what I call fluff or entertainment and 20% technical information. Consider that your company newsletter should be formatted more like a magazine. You can include product offers in the form of ads, and articles with interesting information but not too much. Themore entertaining the more your customers will look forward to getting your newsletter. The more they will read it. The more business you will get from it and the better the relationship you will develop with your customers.
Do not cause their eyes to glaze over by being too technical. Keep the industry specific terms to a minimum. And if you use a technical term you have to define it for the reader. Don’t assume your reader knows as much about your industry as you do. It is always a safe bet to explain products and services as benefits to the reader. Demonstrate how does your product or service make life easier for the reader?
What to put in the article section of your newsletter can be difficult. The following are 9 Simple Ideas for article content for your company newsletter:
1. How-to’s or tips: There is no better way to establish yourself and your company as experts in your field than by providing free advice. You want to market your business as a resource. If you have how-to videos on your website, then direct people to your website. This is a great way to drive traffic to your website and to increase your sales.
2. Current events: This an area you have to be careful of. Again you don’t want to cause their eyes to glaze over by getting too technical or by using terms that you don’t define for the reader. We created an newsletter for an Estate Planning Attorney and she used her newsletter to help her clients keep abreast of hot news topics and changes in tax laws and then let her readers know how they were affected by these events. Her articles presented information with examples and defined terms for the reader.
3. Employee profiles: Introduce your staff to your customers. This type of article should be informative about your employees and their qualifications. It should inspire confidence in your staff and your company overall. You want to build a sense of familiarity and family with the newsletter and readers love this.
4. Testimonials: The backbone of every word of mouth advertising campaign is testimonials. Testimonials allow you to do two things: one, to back up your business claims, they can add a fresh tone to your newsletter, and two, the use of testimonials can provide insight into new or innovative ways that your products are being used.
5. Community service: Public Relations are an important part of marketing and sales. The essence of PR is in making good works well known.Good corporate citizens give back to the communities they serve. This can be in the form of donations or employee volunteers. Make your company’s good works well known by spreading the news about how your company is involved in making the community a better place.
6. Product or service profile: This is a great way to introduce new products or services and it can also be used to educate your customers about your products or services. The rule here is the same as above—don’t use technical jargon and if you do, define it for the reader. Also present information in the form of benefits to the reader. Demonstrate how the product or service makes life easier for the reader.
8. Before and after stories: Before and after stories are a great way of showing your company and business in a positive light. Highlight successes by providing concrete examples of the situation and how your product or service benefited the client. Use photos and combine with testimonials to create impact.
9. Specials: Newsletters can provide a forum for direct marketing. Make sure you include special offers and have a call to action. If you were keeping with the magazine format, specials would be presented in the form of ads. You can also slip specials in articles and testimonials after you presented the benefits include what I refer to as a buy now, which is simply a reason to call you now to buy the product.
The other consideration people have about creating a newsletter for their business is they think it takes a lot of time to create. To be honest, it can take a lot of time if you try to save money and go at it on your own. If you hire a company like Wilson Printing USA to help you, we take about 85% of the time and headache out of creating a newsletter for you.
Our designers will help you format and design your newsletter so that it will make your business look professional and generate sales for your business.
A newsletter should be sent out monthly and at the least, quarterly. The more consistent you are, the more familiar your customer will be with the newsletter and the more it will be read.
©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved