Why should a company or small business publish a printed marketing newsletter?

Newsletters not only provide valuable information about your business and the benefits of doing business with you, they can be used in may other ways other than mailing.

They can be used as a handout at trade shows, networking groups, meetings and seminars; and as a tool to power partner with others who are in non-competing businesses who work the same markets.

For example, I'm in the newsletter publishing business. I mail out about 550 newsletters every quarter, but I distribute about 300 more by placing literature racks with my newsletters on the countertops of printers, graphic artists and my chamber of commerce. In return, they are prominently mentioned in my newsletter.

Printed marketing newsletters:
Demonstrate the permanence, reliability and consistency of your firm.
Are relevant, timely and remind your clients that you are concerned about their interests.
Are a very classy way to promote your business.
Present a professional, winning image to current and potential clients.
Display your willingness to serve others by providing useful information as an value-added service of doing business with you.
A great way to reward clients by featuring them in stories.
Say something good about your company on a regular, frequent basis.
Give your company added exposure, thereby increasing your chances for new business.
They're not canned and impersonal like junk mail.
They greatly enhance a company's reputation.



What's the difference between external and internal newsletters, and what content goes into each?

External newsletters are used as marketing pieces; internal newsletters are used strictly for employees

A major mistake companies make is they send their internal newsletters to their customers, who couldn't care less about who got promoted, who got married and/or who gave birth.

In general, follow these content guidelines:

External Newsletters
These are for your customers and potential customers. They're interested in how your new product or service can save them time and money and make their businesses more efficient.

The most important thing to remember is to serve, not sell.
Information that is useful to the reader - but also sells.
A few ideas they can implement immediately.
Updates on trends in your industry which may affect them.
Articles that help them save time and money and make their business and personal lives more meaningful.
Introduce new products and services, STRESSING THE BENEFITS to the customer of each.
Include information that will increase their bottom line.
“How to” information so they can do things themselves (you can't expect your customers to buy EVERYTHING from you).
Honor a customer by highlighting them in your newsletter. This not only creates good will between you and the customer you're writing about, but shows others that you value your business relationships.

If you do this, you'll not only position yourself as an expert, but as a caring human being. People love doing business with knowledgeable people who care about them.

Internal Newsletters
What do employees want to know? A survey conducted by the International Association of Business Communicators yielded the following results:
Organizational plans for the future, e.g., company goals, expansion, etc.
Job advancement opportunities.
Job related “how to” information.
How local, state, world events or changes in the business climate affect your employee's jobs, your company and your customers.
Introduce new staff, products and services
Productivity improvement.
Human Resources policies and practices.
Staff changes and promotions.
Benefits information.
How you're doing vs. the competition.
Recognize employees for their achievements
Human interest stories about employees/customers.
Celebrate employees' lives (birthdays, marriages, anniversaries, births, etc.).
Customer of the month, quarter, etc.
News of what's going on in departments/divisions.
Financial results and how profits are used.
Advertising and promotional plans.
Company's community involvement.
Marketing trends in the industry and how they affect us and our customer



What's the most frequent problem you see in printed marketing materials?

A lack of focus on benefits. Most concentrate on the person sending them it rather on the person receiving them. They're usually all about the seller, with little to convince the buyer to buy. No one cares where you went to school, if you're married and the names of your children. They want to know what's in it for them if they do business with you.



What's the one step companies can take to make their marketing newsletters more effective?

Concentrate on the benefits to the customer rather than the features of your products or services. Your customers want to know how you can solve their problems, save them money, improve their bottom line. PEOPLE BUY BENEFITS.



How can a company maximize the use of its printed newsletter on-line?

Putting a well-designed newsletter on your web site can be an extremely effective promotional tool, and can save you a lot of money in printing costs, which can be considerable with large press runs.

It's more effective than sending a text-only version - or e-zine - to a subscriber list. Many e-zines are not even opened, in part because there are so many of them.

An attractively designed newsletter can be posted on your website in either a JPEG or PDF format - or sent as an attachment in a PDF format to your database. You'll retain the design and colors and your customers or prospects will have the option of printing it out.



What's some basic, start-up advice you can give to people who do their own newsletters?

I've developed a successful newsletter checklist:

Your customers want solutions to their problems. Provide solutions.
SERVE...DON'T SELL: Give your readers useful information, not a sales pitch. Educate and inform.
KEEP STORIES SHORT: Don't overwhelm your readers with lengthy stories. Make them short and interesting.
AVOID CLICHES: No expressions such as “a good time was had by all,” or “needless to say.”
FONT USAGE: One font for headlines and another for text. Too many typefaces make your newsletter look cluttered.
LEARN BASIC DESIGN: Focus your readers' attention with creative graphic elements - photos, clip art, boxes, screen tints. No long columns of gray type.
PRINT WITH THE READER IN MIND: Print on easy-to-read paper. No colored ink for text. Use a second and/or third color sparingly.

The Newsletter Guy 1517 Buckeye Court, Pinole, CA 94564 ... 510/724-9507 ..510/741-8698 (fax)
E-mail: jeff@TheNewsletterGuy.com .................Copyright © 2006 The Newsletter Guy. All rights reserved.