Staying in contact
with customers and prospects helps generate new business and new customers.
Many organizations, from office supply companies to book stores to banks
use newsletters as a reason and a means to communicate with these groups.
If you watch your mailbox, you will probably find several newsletters
from your vendors and those that want to be your vendors. Here are some
ideas to help you evaluate whether a newsletter should be part of your
A newsletter keeps your name in front of potential buyers. Most buy decisions
are made on the customer's timetable and if your company can have a presence
at that buying instant you are more likely to be considered. In addition,
a consistent stream of newsletters helps to build awareness with potential
buyers so they think of your company when they are ready to make a buy
The newsletter's content should be relevant to the reader. A newsletter
filled with product promotion messages is perceived as just more advertising.
A newsletter that includes information that can help the reader accomplish
his/her goals is perceived as useful education. It often seems that the
most effective newsletters are a combination of the sender's marketing
messages, ideas for the reader and general comments. An example would
be a newsletter from a local bookstore telling of a book signing, reviews
of a couple of books and observations on the use of electronic books.
Newsletters do not have to be glossy, four color, eight page documents.
They should look neat, 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 effective. If you need a more polished
newsletter, advertising agencies or free-lance designers can be used.
Often the hardest and most dreaded process is getting the newsletter sent
to the right people at a reasonable cost. 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. You can check the Yellow
Pages under "List Brokers" and select based on location or other
criteria the broker can help you with. 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 may want copies available
for shoppers to take.
If you end up with
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 1000. 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.
A newsletter marketing effort takes time and work. The effectiveness of
this type of marketing tends to 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.