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The B2B Marketing Director’s Definitive Guide

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  • Strategy:

    Newsletter

    Company and Customer Newsletters—
    A Surprising Source of New Leads and Referrals

    Best Used For…

    Reminding your Current Customers what you’re doing for other clients, announcing new products and services, sharing your point of view and providing important ideas and tips to your clients to improve their businesses.

    Strategy

    Printed newsletters keep your customers informed while soft-selling your brand. Content-rich, well executed newsletters, especially those that include customer success stories, have 4X the readership and a greater perception of credibility than traditional ads. This Marketing Strategy provides a framework for making newsletters a valuable weapon in your marketing arsenal.

    Assignments

    Marketing Team:

    Successful newsletters share twelve common traits, each of which are the Marketing Team’s responsibility:

    1. Develop an editorial calendar—Establish the main topics well ahead of time (e.g., six months) and work to identify content providers and subject-matter experts before you need them.
    2. Success breeds success—Success stories work well; include customer quotes and customer-provided ROI.
    3. Attention-grabbing newsletter name—Draw readers in. Instead of “Bakery News” try “What’s Cooking.”
    4. Objective writing style—Let your writing style be more newspaper-like. It’s not a sales brochure.
    5. Write to express, not to impress—Keep the big words in the office.
    6. Proofread, proofread, proofread—Read your copy backwards for a final clean-up.
    7. Use front-page articles to draw in readers—Follow the lead of USA Today. Also keep in mind articles that are important to your company aren’t necessarily important to the average consumer.
    8. Use at least one graphic per page—Graphics (and headlines) are the first things that readers’ eyes are drawn to when they turn to a new page. They provide much-needed visual breaks from solid blocks of text.
    9. Sharpen your photos—Adjust the color and brightness levels.
    10. Have a professional graphic designer do the layout—Use eye-catching accent colors and tints.
    11. Have them professionally printed.
    12. Use recycled paper—Look for 10­–50 percent post-consumer fiber.

    You:

    Achieving success requires commitment to deadlines and follow-through by your staff and clients. Make sure they understand the importance of returning phone calls from writers and are willing to get client story approvals.

    Coaching Points
    • Unless you have the staff and the internal commitment, writing and publishing your customer newsletter should be done by an independent third-party like the firm we recommend, below. They’ll keep you on-schedule and on-budget since producing company newsletters is all they do.
    • Find places and opportunities to give your newsletters away.
    • Post newsletters to your web site.
    • Consider offering free ad space to your clients in exchange for space in theirs.
    • Consider designing the newsletter to be a self-mailer so it can be sent without an envelope.
    • Don’t expect your Sales Team to drive the content and schedule for your newsletter. You’ll be wasting valuable selling time which is something that affects everyone in your company.
    Costs
    • Completely outsourcing your newsletter to a third-party firm starts at $1600 per issue—and that includes printing! There is a $700 one-time set-up charge.
    • Electronic newsletters typically cost less because there’s no printing costs.
    My Advice, Resources & Vendor Rolodex®

    CompanyNewsletters.com Inc.
    18593 Jasper Way
    Lakeville Minnesota 55044-9681
    (952) 892-6943
    www.companynewsletters.com

    Here’s a great find for you. Dave Kandler has built his company into a real powerhouse in the niche of newsletter outsourcing. They literally run the whole show for you. Whew! What a relief to know someone’s there to take it off your hands!

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