Marketing with Newsletters

Add ImageStaying in contact with customers and prospects helps generate new business while strengthening the relationships with current customers. Many organizations, from office supply companies to book stores to banks, use newsletters as a means to communicate with these groups. If you watch your mailbox, you will probably find several newsletters from your current vendors and those that would like to be your vendors. Here are some ideas to help you evaluate whether a newsletter should be part of your marketing strategy.

Timeliness and frequency

A newsletter keeps your name in front of potential buyers. Most purchase decisions are made on the customer's timetable and if your company has had a presence leading up to that period, you are more likely to be considered. In addition, a consistent stream of newsletters helps to build awareness of your business with potential buyers so they remember your company when they are ready to make a buy decision.

Content

The newsletter's content should be relevant to the reader. A newsletter filled with promotional messages is perceived as just more advertising. But a newsletter that includes the kind of information that will help the reader accomplish his/her goals is perceived as useful and educational. The most effective newsletters are a combination of the sender's marketing message, information helpful to the reader and general interest segments. An example of this format would be a newsletter from a local bookstore announcing a book signing, reviewing a few new books and making observations about the use of electronic books.

Form

Newsletters do not have to be glossy, four color, eight page documents. They should look neat and professional, but the content should be the focus. Many software programs have templates that can make the preparation easy. You may find that a single two-sided page can be very effective. If you need a more polished newsletter, you may consider hiring an advertising agency or freelance designer.

Distribution

Getting the newsletter in the right hands is an important step. Certainly you should include your existing customers and any prospects you have. You may want to consider buying a mailing list to supplement your contacts. Search online or in the Yellow Pages under "List Brokers". You will be able to buy a list based on segmentation such as demographics, industry affiliations, past purchase activity and many other criteria. Another source of names can be trade association lists if you primarily sell to businesses in a certain industry. If you have a retail business, you will want to ensure copies are available for shoppers to take.

If you have a large list, you may want to use a mailing service and have the newsletter sent using bulk rate postage. Usually you need over 300 to qualify for the lower rates and many mailing services want at least 1,000. You can probably save about 15 cents on postage with bulk postage rates. You should compare your postage savings with the cost of the mailing service.

Summary

A newsletter marketing effort takes planning and time. The effectiveness of this type of marketing will improve the more you do. You may want to consider committing to four quarterly mailings to give it time to work.

If a newsletter marketing program seems like a good idea, start saving newsletters you get from others. You should be able to see what makes sense and what does not.