Why Customer Newsletters Are So Darn Effective

By Shaun Buck
Founder and CEO, The Newsletter Pro

Newsletters are so darn effective because, if done correctly, your customers and prospects READ THEM!! And guess what? When your customers and prospects read your newsletters and enjoy them, they’ll look forward to getting future issues and reading what you have to say!

Just think of it – in a low-key, informative (non-marketing!) manner, you are communicating with your customers. Do not underestimate how vital it is that you regularly and effectively communicate with your customers. I truly believe that dollar for dollar, newsletters are the most effective marketing tool available.

For most businesses, current customers hold the best prospects for future growth, with both repeat and referral business. Newsletters increase name-brand awareness, effectively introduce new products or services, and highlight success stories (but not too much about business) – keep your newsletters light and entertaining.

In addition, customers who read your newsletters are usually in a good position to recommend your company to others, and that, my friends, is called referral business!! Remember, a prospect who contacts your business after being referred from a satisfied customer, well, let’s just say it doesn’t get much better than that!

As Dan Kennedy states in his book, nothing works better to maintain your fence than a customer newsletter. The key to a successful customer newsletter is to write it with your customers in mind.

Think about what they will enjoy reading, not what you want to write about. Successful newsletters are not all about your business. You need to have a balance of content that informs, educates, and entertains! If your customers feel entertained, and enjoy reading your newsletter, they’ll look forward to it, issue after issue.

And guess what happens if your customers read your newsletter issue after issue … you’ll build credibility, increase your reputation as an expert in your industry, and increase name-brand awareness. Your customers will remember you and will do business with you again, and refer others to you as well.

Newsletters should be written in a conversational tone and you should avoid the use of technical jargon. In addition, make your newsletter fun to read by including some trivia, humor (be careful not to include anything offensive), and general interest articles about health, home/life issues, as well as some leadership or management tips.

The two questions people most often ask me are, what do I put in my company newsletter? And how often should I publish? Many companies want to write about what they do, the products they sell, and their latest success story. If written correctly, some of this type of content is okay, and it presents yet another chance to reinforce your reputation as an expert in your industry.

However, it is vitally important that your newsletter not be perceived as another sales piece or simply marketing material. Your newsletter should also be light, fun, and interesting to read – so your clients will look forward to it. And if they read it – they’ll remember you.

This brings me to my next point – how often you should print. By far, you will get the most bang for your buck if you publish monthly. If this is not possible, then publish every other month.

One of the main goals of your newsletter is to enhance your name-brand recognition, and that is accomplished with repetition. Another main goal is to keep your name top of mind so when your customer or prospect is ready to buy, your name will be the first thing they think of.

In addition, as Dan says, newsletters are a highly effective way to maintain your fence, keeping your “herd” in and poachers out. “Fences” that are only tended to four or six times per year tend to rot. In the next issue, we’ll discuss the difference between print and e-mail newsletters.

Many people ask me if they would be wise to save the printing and postage costs of their newsletters and instead send their customers e-mail newsletters. My answer is typically very short – no.

While various types of e-mail marketing can be effective and enhance your printed newsletter, they are in no way a replacement. Printed newsletters have many proven benefits that you simply cannot achieve through e-mail.

Printed newsletters are convenient and portable (your customers can read them at home, while traveling, in their easy chair, or in the tub!).

Printed newsletters are easy to read and make notes on, and they can be passed around to others, increasing readership. Printed newsletters are also not subject to spam filters and delete buttons.

Regarding e-mail newsletters, some industry statistics say that as much as 20 percent or more never reach their intended targets due to spam filters. Plus, given the ever-increasing volume of e-mail that most people receive every day, even if your e-newsletter does reach your customer’s in-box, the chance of him or her reading it is not great.

There are some exciting things that you can do with e-mail, such as audio and video messaging, all which can enhance your customer communication efforts. However, I highly recommend that you keep your fence in good repair with a printed newsletter.

For two years in a row, Shaun Buck and The Newsletter Pro landed on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies list. Shaun is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur.com and has both published his own book, The Ultimate Guide to Newsletters, and collaborated with marketing guru Dan Kennedy to co-write the No B.S Guide to Maximum Referrals and Customer Retention. Get a copy of Shaun’s free book, The Ultimate Guide to Newsletters by click here.

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