Part I: The Power of the Newsletter
When you think of direct marketing promotions, a newsletter probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. A lot of words (and money) are spent on brand, but few companies put out newsletters today.
However, a newsletter can be a great direct marketing tool for promoting your product or service. It allows you to define your image, boost your business and maybe even do some selling. By combining a little public relations, reputation building and selling, newsletters provide useful information. And, information is the key word here.
Creative consultant Don Hauptman explains, "As has been observed more than once, we live in an Age of Information. In this world, there exists a species we call ‘information seekers.' These people need specialized data ..."
A good promotional newsletter offers mostly valuable, worthwhile information to its readers. Depending on which newsletter specialist you talk to, he'll advise you that anywhere from one-tenth to one-third of it may be geared toward promotion.
As far as direct mail goes, newsletters are not as aggressive at selling as other forms of the medium. Yes, they may promote your business, but they're not hard-core sales tools. I, for one, make it a point to pack my newsletters with information my readers can use and keep my "sales pitch" on the DL.
Consider the words of consultant Herman Holtz. In his book, "Great Promo Pieces" (John Wiley & Sons Inc.), he says, "Of course, your newsletter is promotional literature. You created it to help market your company's products or services, and the content is therefore necessarily advertising, even if low key or soft sell. At the same time, since you characterize and publish it as a newsletter, it cannot be 100 percent unabashed advertising matter. That would immediately destroy its usefulness. You must publish some material that is worthy of appearance in a newsletter and is definitely slanted to the reader's probable direct interest ... It cannot be a pure sales letter, brochure or advertising circular."