Newsletters An Effective Customer Communication
By Ken Beaulieu
Businesses are lining up to jump on the newsletter bandwagon. According to Howard Penn Hudson, publisher emeritus of The Newsletter on Newsletters, newsletter publishing is the fastest-growing business in the United States, with 1 million publications in circulation (in print and online). Companies of all sizes are introducing newsletters to communicate with customers and best prospects.
Unfortunately, many publications are being produced with little regard for the reader. They dismiss quality, and fail to deliver on the newsletter's positioning statement.
Newsletters that support editorial and marketing objectives can be effective tools. Consider a recent survey conducted by the Custom Publishing Council: 87 percent of consumers thought custom publications (including newsletters) were effective in relationship building, and 57 percent said they have purchased a product or service highlighted in a custom publication.
The bottom line: Communications that define your company's distinctive qualities in a credible, persuasive way produce desired results. Here are four tips to help you increase your newsletter's effectiveness as part of a multi-faceted CRM program:
- Break the mold. To turn heads, challenge conventional wisdom. Ask yourself: Is the information I'm offering unique and insightful enough that readers will eagerly anticipate my next communication?
- Seek the "write" stuff. Nothing turns off a reader as quickly as poorly written editorial with no well-defined point of view. To impress your audience and add credibility, tap professional writers who understand your industry and who can put an unconventional spin on a story.
- Know your audience. Some newsletters try to be all things to all people and, as a result, appeal to no one. Survey your audience to learn what it finds relevant. Keep it engaged, and your company will always be top of mind.
- Set the framework. Develop a road map to success, including an editorial calendar and clear objectives regarding editorial mission, tone and measures of success.
Ken Beaulieu is editor of Fuel, a newsletter published by Boston-based Pohly & Partners. He can be reached at email@example.com.