Posted Saturday, February 5, 2005
To survive in business, you've got to focus your attention on the areas that will guarantee you success. Your clients are your greatest asset. Taking the time to educate them and connect with them will pay big dividends over the long haul. There are lots of ways to spend your marketing dollars. But I've found that the number one most effective marketing tool around is a newsletter. This is the perfect time of year to fine tune - or develop - yours.
Hey! It's good news!
What sets your newsletter apart from all the other stuff that comes across your clients threshold everyday is that a newsletter is perceived as good news. Think about it, the stuff in the newspaper is general pretty dismal. The rest of the stuff in the mail is either advertisements or bills. Take advantage of that perception of your newsletter being something good.
Please don't insult your clients' intelligence by cloaking a hard sell as a newsletter. Marketing surveys across the country have shown that newsletters are very well-received and the best way to stay in touch with your clientele. Make your message, and your practice, stand above the rest by making each issue interesting and informative.
More education equals more work for you
Your clients probably have very little idea what all you do. Your newsletter is the perfect forum to raise their understanding and appreciation of the advantages of your services. By just elevating their awareness of the scope of your expertise, your laying the ground work for future business.
There's another added benefit that bares mentioning. When your clients know more about what you do, they talk about it to their friends. A personal referral is ten times more valuable than someone that responds to an ad. They're already prescreened and warmed up for you.The other plus of this educational approach to your newsletter is that it reminds your clients that they need your services. With so many distractions in our world today, things that are important tend to slip into the background. Each issue you send gently reminds them of the importance of your services.
Just because I said that you shouldn't use your newsletter for a hard sell doesn't mean that you shouldn't use it for promoting gift certificates or special offers or rewards for referring new business. It's the perfect place to unveil new services.
Above all else - reflect professionalism
Never forget that your newsletter acts as your representative to all that see it. People who may have never met you personally will make judgments about your services solely by what they think of your newsletter.
Each issue may get saved and passed onto friends and associates. These are introductions to you services. They must make a high-quality presentation. Take some time to get the look and feel right. If you're using a word processing program, for example, to produce your newsletter, you're really selling yourself short. That may have worked all right 15 years ago, but in today's reality it's just not going to give you a professional looking piece. Of course, since I run a newsletter design service, I'm going to tell you to seek out the services of a professional - but that would be a sort of hard sell. At least, collect some examples of newsletters that you like and use them as guides.
The number one problem most people have when doing their own newsletter is to stress over content and then put too much into each issue. A good rule of thumb for a standard 4-page newsletter is three articles of 500 - 700 words. Be sure to work in some higher quality graphics to break up the text. Never, never, never use graphics that you've down loaded from the web. Their resolution is much too low to be of any worth in print. They'll just make your newsletter look tacky and low end.
Make the commitment
When you send your newsletter consistently, it communicates to your clients that you're professional. You're establishing a presence and it says that you plan on being there for them in the future. This is guaranteed to help you build a stronger business that's not overly affected by outside economic factors.
About the Author
This article was written by Barbara Saunders, owner of Newsletter Associates, a complete newsletter service helping companies and organizations build their relationships to fuel their business. For more information, visit (www.newsletters-inc.com). (c) 2004 Barbara Saunders. All right reserved. firstname.lastname@example.org