Without doubt newsletters are one of the most popular and successful means of maintaining contact with customers to maintain ‘presence of mind’, to invigorate a customer’s interest and to assist a business with customer retention…
If they offer value to the reader.
Readers are not interested in wasting their time. If your newsletter simply toots the company horn about how clever you are, what you’re doing next and what wonderful people you have on the team – guess what? It’s headed for the trash and junk box.
The most booooring people in the world are those who talk about themselves.
If you’re going to have a newsletter that’s worth the effort of creating it, the publication must be interesting to the reader. You have to think like a newspaper or magazine publisher.
Who are you targeting – what will interest them sufficiently to motivate them to read the publication?
Offering useful information is one of the best ways to initiate, develop and solidify relationships. But, how do you continue, issue after issue, to make your newsletter stand out in the crowd and keep your readers reading?
First and foremost it has to be useful to your readers – especially for business to business publications. People in business won’t waste their time reading something that’s not of value to them. They receive heaps of stuff and most is trashed before it is read. That’s one of the reasons why electronic newsletters are often less effective than print.
If a person is busy – it’s so easy to press the delete key and it’s gone forever, so unless they regard it as worth keeping to read it later – or it’s a ‘must read now’ it’s gonna be a gonner.
Your publication has to be regarded as important to them because of some useful insight it will offer.
The same of course goes for a printed publication. They cost more to produce and send, so in the interests of making the investment worthwhile, make sure it is of interest to the recipients.
Make it intelligible: For some strange reason many technical people have the idea they should write a thesis or a lengthy preamble first. It’s important to remember that your reader is likely to be time poor and wants to cut to the chase quickly.
Others have the idea that in business you should be terribly straight. Not so, a touch of flippancy can be ideal for making a publication more palatable. Anecdotes, a conversational tone and the occasional joke can be ideal for keeping your readers connected.
Accountants are among the worst for making their publications remarkably boring. Topics such as tax and superannuation should never be sleep inducing or beyond the average person’s understanding – especially if your publication is going to the average business owner.
One of the strangest ideas some marketers have is that if you’re marketing to a high wealth target audience, you need to make your publication look ‘frightfully upmarket’ by choosing special typefaces, pictures and in effect losing all character to the publication. In other words make it boring and harder to read? Guess what? – high wealth people are not likely to be keener readers than others.
Make it sound like you: The tone of a publication is important. It should speak your language and that of your readers. Your newsletter should reflect your personality – so don’t make it overly serious – unless of course you really are boring. And if you are – don’t have a newsletter, it won’t work for you.
Have it professionally produced: The design/ layout of your publication is important. It adds a lot to readability. It’s best to have a professional design service create your publication rather than simply use a template. Templates usually lack flexibility in their design and after a time become somewhat boring in appearance.
Regularity is important: If you’re going to have a newsletter you must keep it to a schedule. Letting it go for six months because you’re too busy is not a good approach.
Because of time constraints most companies are hard pushed to keep them going. If you want proof of this – just look at the websites that companies have with the heading “news”. Relatively few are maintained for long.
It has to be said that it is generally best to outsource the production of your newsletter to an outside service. The reason for this is that they can best write it with the perspective of the reader in mind – making it of interest to them, whereas ‘in-house’ writers often write with the perspective of what the business wants to tell people, which is often not the best approach to having the material read.
Furthermore, an outside service can ensure your newsletter is kept to a regular production date – provided of course you co-operate with them.
Using an outside service is going to add to the cost – but a newsletter should be regarded equally, if not more important than advertising, public relations, presentation material and so on. It’s a touch point with the customer so it should look and be professional.