The printed newsletter; neglected for years, resurrected at last.
Rubbish bins, the world over used to be full of them.
In fact, if there were ever a competition to judge the most self-indulgent of all business communications, the newsletter would have serious competition from only the corporate video for first place.
A tragedy, when you consider that the newsletter has the potential to be by far the most valuable communications tool any company can invest in.
Certainly, for most Innovation Corporation clients, printed newsletters are the backbone of their marketing programs
Our newsletters generate a steady flow of new customers, unlock the ‘lifetime value’ of existing customers and position our clients as leaders in their fields.
This article explains both why and how you should establish a newsletter as the backbone of your marketing program.
A Relationship Marketing Program
We like to say that there are two types of customers in the world.
One type of customer buys a product. (they focus on product attributes and price),
And the other type of customer buys a relationship. They are less interested in a transaction, and more interested in a long-term relationship.
Most small-to medium sized business would be wise to focus on this latter type of customer. Certainly, small business have a natural advantage when it comes to ‘customer intimacy’. Furthermore, relationship-focused customers are prepared to pay a premium for the relationship – insulating smaller business from the inevitable ‘margin shrinkage’ that efficient markets (read; their larger competitors) inflict upon them.
Smaller businesses tend to recognise this. But few have any idea how to attract, to service, or to profit from relationship focused customers.
The solution is to turn traditional marketing mythology on its ear and build a relationship rather than a product focused marketing program.
Selling a relationship
If you’ve decided you’d rather be in the business of selling relationships than (keenly priced) products, here’s an introduction to the relationship marketing model.
Take your focus off sales. If your customers aren’t transaction-focused – you certainly shouldn’t be.
Create a valuable communications program. Because the key ingredient in any relationship is ‘communication’, this system should provide your customers with regular points of contact with you. Designed to maximise customer’s lifetime value, not individual transactions.
Identify potential customers and introduce them to your communications program. Rather than establish a relationship with people after they have made their first purchase (as is normally the case) you should establish a relationship in advance. If your potential customers are those who will buy on the basis of a relationship, doesn’t it make sense to deliver this relationship in advance?
Enter the humble newsletter
Well, that’s the theory out of the way – and the stage set nicely for the newsletter.
Step two of our relationship marketing model involves building a communications program, and as you already know, your newsletter should be the backbone of this program.
The purpose of the newsletter is to provide regular points of contact. Of coarse your newsletter can be augmented with other types of customer contact such as outbound calls, face-to-face visits, workshops, and so on. But the newsletter is likely to remain the most important component of your communications program. This is because a newsletter allows you to provide your customers with a considerable amount of value, for a fraction of the cost of face-to-face or even telephone communications.
Now, for the newsletter to make an effective contribution to the quality of your customer relationships, it must be genuinely meaningful. Remember, if you emulate the self-indulgent style of the old corporate businesses, than yours will end up stuffed beside it in a waste bin.
The best model for the editorial style of your newsletter is a magazine, it must be a publication that your customers and prospects want to read. We suggest that your newsletter should be a ‘mini-magazine’ to appeal to a finely targeted group of individuals – your customers and potential customers.
…just add people!
Once you have a newsletter, you have your communications program – the backbone of our relationship marketing model.
Your next step is to introduce people to this communications program. These people should come from three sources;
Customers. Obviously your customers have the highest prospective probability of spending money with you compared to strangers, that is, unless you are doing something dreadfully wrong.
Prospects. These are people who have both the reason and the ability to become customers of yours. More importantly, they are people you feel are likely to be relationship rather than product-focused.
Centres of influence. This is a person who is in a position to refer customers to you.
Introducing people to your newsletter communications program is as simple as adding their details into your database.
Not just a newsletter. A total marketing solution.
Your newsletter is now the backbone of a coordinated program that identifies potential customers, develops a relationship with them – perhaps even before they need your product/service – and than manage that relationship to exploit their lifetime value.
The good news is that producing your newsletter shouldn’t consume a lot of resources – financial and time. Writing and production can all be outsourced to us at the Innovation Corporation. Your newsletter should only cost you $2.55 per contact. That’s probably less than the cost of a phone call.
Why newsletters are so effective.
Newsletters are so darn effective because they can do what other forms of advertising cannot:
They can provide more substance than other forms of marketing, and newsletters tend to be read as being informational, as newspapers or magazines are, rather than as ads or other marketing materials. Since your audience is generally receptive and relaxed, you can tell your story and readers don't feel as if they're being sold anything.
Maximizing Your Return on Investment: If you maximize your newsletter's exposure, you'll maximize its results. I strongly encourage you to mail your newsletter to all current and past customers, as well as to prospects who might have requested information about your company. Your salespeople should hand out copies when on sales calls and place a stack of newsletters at businesses wherever customers visit. Give out your newsletters at trade shows and exhibition booths, and put a PDF copy of your newsletter on your company's Web site. Frequency is also a key element of success with most company newsletters. The best way to increase your repeat and referral business is to mail to your customers monthly.
How to get your newsletter read
The key to a successful customer newsletter is to write it with your customers in mind. Think about what they will enjoy reading, not what you want to write. Successful newsletters are not all about your business. You need to have a balance of content that informs, educates, and entertains! If your customers feel entertained and enjoy reading your newsletter, they'll look forward to it, issue after issue. And guess what happens if your customers read your newsletter issue after issue? You'll build credibility, increase your reputation as an expert in your industry, and increase name-brand awareness.
Your customers will remember you, will do business with you again, and will refer others to you as well. Newsletters should be written in a conversational tone; you should avoid the use of technical jargon. In addition, make your newsletter fun to read by including trivia, humor (being careful not to include anything offensive), and general interest articles about health, home, and life issues and some leadership or management tips.
Tell them what else you do.
Many customers initially engage with a business by purchasing a single product or service. Over time they may do repeat business, usually reordering the same product or service, unaware of the other products or services that the company has to offer. How many times have you heard a client say “I didn't know you did that," or, "I didn't know you also sold that"? These are all missed opportunities to increase your revenue.
Tell them what's new.
As business owners, we are always coming up with new products and services. A newsletter is a great way to get the word out to people who already trust you and find value in what you sell. This can often be done quite effectively by way of customer success stories or testimonials.
It's not about you.
This is very important. Your newsletter is not about you or how many industry awards you have won. Your newsletter should be about what's important and interesting to your customers and clients. Inform, educate, and entertain them, and they will look forward to your newsletter.
The difference between print and e-mail newsletters!
Many people ask me whether they would be wise to save the printing and postage costs of their newsletters and instead send their customers e-mail newsletters. My answer is typically very short: no.
While various types of e-mail marketing can be effective and enhance your printed newsletter, they are in no way a replacement. Printed newsletters have many proven benefits that you simply cannot gain through e-mail.
Printed newsletters are convenient and portable -- your customers can read them at home, while traveling, in an easy chair, or in the bathroom!
Printed newsletters are easy to read and make notes on, and they can be passed around to others, increasing readership. Printed newsletters are also not subject to spam filters or delete buttons.
A few final thoughts on newsletters
Did you know...?
Newsletters have four times the readership of a traditional ad.
Readers find newsletters to be more credible and believable than ads.
A newsletter allows you to give more in-depth information to readers than a regular ad does.
Newsletters have a longer shelf life than ads and are more likely to be read by multiple people.
You can attract more readers -- and more potential customers -- by featuring articles that give free, helpful tips related to your company's area of expertise.
You can generate sales leads by promoting free subscriptions to your newsletter.
Don't forget to...
¨ Add customer testimonials to make your newsletter more impactful.
¨ Mail your company's newsletter to all former and current customers.
¨ Give your salespeople copies of the newsletter to hand out on sales calls.
¨ Send newsletters to all potential clients who may have a strong interest in certain articles.
¨ Place a stack of newsletters at your places of business, wherever customers visit.
¨ Give out newsletters at your company's trade show and exhibition booths.
¨ Put your newsletter and its back issues on your company's Web site.
Subscription – from ONLY $637.50 per issue
That’s right, I’ll produce your 4 page newsletter for you for only $637.50 + GST.
For non clients, the cost is $750+GST and still represents a real bargain.
How many customers would it take to make a purchase to make this investment pay off?
Only $637.50 + print & distribution costs
You might say a real “No Brainer” and no hassle
Please contact us if you are ready to get started, or if you have questions you would like to have answered. Done-for-you product page