Newsletters bring you business

March 21, 2012

Given the state of our economy, businesses continue to look for ways to stay in touch with existing clients and attract new customers. One very effective tool, which is often overlooked because of the rush to get online and more involved with the digital world, is the newsletter.

Given the state of our economy, businesses continue to look for ways to stay in touch with existing clients and attract new customers. One very effective tool, which is often overlooked because of the rush to get online and more involved with the digital world, is the newsletter.

A newsletter is a powerful tool to keep your company name in front of your customers and prospects on a consistent basis. It provides an ideal way of informing existing and future customers about new products, techniques, CE events and other services that relate to your business. Newsletters enable you to inform readers on a low key level and create sales by providing the proper information so they can make an informed decision regarding the potential use of a new or existing product or service.

What’s involved?

First, you need to make a decision about the frequency of your newsletter. If you don’t provide one on a regular basis, it will lose the ability to impact the audience. Any form of marketing must be done regularly-consistency equates to your creditability. Marketing takes time and if you let too much time pass between issues you stand a chance of losing the initial interest of your audience that you created in the recent issue sent to them. You also will need to think about a name for your newsletter as well as a basic format or overall design masthead.

Next, you will need to decide on what type of information or topics you want to include. Good mixes of product information, news about certain company events, CE opportunities and upcoming dental trade shows you may be attending are a good start. You may want to consider including a section to highlight some of those employees who handle the phones and speak with your dentist clients. Many may not have had a chance to meet them in person and a photo can be helpful in building customer relationships.

Most people enjoy reading interesting articles, especially if accompanied by photographs, so make sure your newsletter isn’t all text, otherwise you might not hold their interest. If you are promoting a special or new product, do it by “informing” and not through a “hard sell.” Make sure to include some form of a call to action such as give us a call at 800-etc. for additional information, or to receive a special offer visit our website.

Make sure you include a way for your audience to provide you with comments or areas of interest for future newsletters by giving them a real person to contact.

Newsletter Formats

There are two main categories of newsletters: you will want to consider printed and mailed newsletters or e-newsletters. You might even think about providing both formats because in the early stages you might not have enough e-mail addresses that have opted in to receive an e-newsletter from your company.

Printed Newsletters: The more traditional, yet still widely used, form of newsletter is the printed version. This can be a single page all the way up to a multiple page format. As you can imagine, it also is the most expensive version, especially if you decide on a newsletter that goes beyond a single printed sheet.

The most common printed newsletters are usually a single sheet size 11 inches by 17 inches folded twice to 5.5 by 8.5 inches. This size doesn’t require any bindery other than scoring and folding in preparation for mailing. Newsletters such as these also will need to be tabbed or fixed together so they do not open up during USPS processing. All of this activity will add to the cost above and beyond the cost of development, printing and postage. Printed versions could be mailed to everyone you have an address for; however there are no guarantees they will be delivered.

E-mail or E-newsletters: Gaining in popularity, the e-newsletter can be produced in several formats. You can send plain text e-newsletters, PDF-formatted e-newsletters or HTML e-newsletters. Plain text e-mails do not allow for graphics or the use of color or photographs, the lack of these makes for a very boring and uninteresting e-newsletter.

A PDF-formatted e-newsletter allows for more design possibilities and the endless use of photos and graphic elements. PDFs can be viewed anytime once downloaded to a computer. One important element about PDF-formatted e-newsletters is that you will lose the ability to gather statistics; an important factor in gauging the success and/or failure of your newsletter.

The HTML version provides many design possibilities and will be delivered to anyone with an e-mail address. If the recipient doesn’t have HTML activated it will still be delivered although in a text only version.

HTML e-newsletters are Web-based; therefore each article or section will be a “snippet” of the full article. If the reader is interested he/she could click on “Read More,” if provided, and the link will take the reader to the complete article. In marketing this provides you with valuable statistics such as the number of times the article was accessed-also known as the number of “Click-Throughs”-giving you a better understanding of reader interest throughout your e-newsletter. You also would be capable of directing the reader to your website to complete the article, review additional information regarding your products or services as well as act upon a special offer.

Mentioned earlier, you will need to provide an opt-in or opt-out area that allows the reader to not receive future e-newsletters or e-mails from you, or to confirm that they wish to receive future e-newsletters or e-mails. A good practice is to have your e-mail addresses qualified as already opted in using an earlier e-mail. Many e-blast services monitor spam and can block any future use or refuse to blast your e-newsletters if there are complaints or too many spam reports.

If you are just starting, you might want to consider using a combination of print and e-newsletters until you have had a chance to refine your e-mail address marketing list. For further information you can go online or contact a company with e-marketing experience for guidance.

E-newsletters are really a very quick and easy way to maintain your presence with your customers and prospects, and will help you gain new business.