3 Reasons To Start Using a Print Newsletter

There’s no doubt that the function of print has changed substantially in the digital age. Print has to be more direct and more effective than ever before. So where is print’s place today? Personally, I think it should be rooted firmly in the content marketer’s toolbox. From what I’ve seen and heard from clients of my own, I believe that newsletters are a valuable content marketing tool, and here’s 3 reasons why:

Print newsletters are an economical supplement to the other content marketing strategies you might already employ.
A newsletter can be used to serve as a sort of collection point for several recent, service/product-related pieces (such as blog posts and infographics) that current clients and prospects will immediately see the value in. The Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 Report reveals that content marketers are creating more content than ever before and print newsletters, for one, excel at getting valuable content into your customer’s hands in a non-invasive, approachable way. Moreover, print has become a somewhat “unexpected” medium by today’s terms, which leads me to my second point:

Print newsletters deliver timely and valuable content in an “unexpected” format.
As the old adage goes, “timing is everything”. You never know when you could receive a call or an e-mail from a prospect about working with you simply because they received your message at the right time. You recognized/addressed one or many of their needs while also demonstrating that you have what it take to help them with their problems. In addition, you’ve pleasantly surprised them by providing them with something in print, rather than a run-of-the-mill e-mail that may have easily been overlooked. Four-fifths (79%) of consumers will act on direct mail immediately compared to only 45% who say they deal with e-mail straightaway. That’s why it’s crucial to deliver your newsletter on a consistent basis: to ensure that you’re top of mind if and when your customer/prospect has a need for your products/services.

Print newsletters provide the tactile experience that people still look forward to.
Print has an added value that online content simply can’t deliver. The fact that you can touch print is what still makes it so effective today. A recent study conducted for the U.S. Postal Service concluded that physical media influenced brain activity in more powerful ways than digital media. The study concluded that while participants processed digital content more quickly than print, participants spent more time with physical content, had a stronger emotional response to this content and also remembered it better. For long-lasting impact and easy recollection, it seems a printed piece is a better option than digital counterparts in many circumstances.

If you’re ready to get started using a print newsletter, the good news is you don’t have to break the bank to do so! If you’re a small business owner like myself, you want every dollar spent on your marketing to be effective. Fortunately there are several ways you can keep the costs of printing and mailing your newsletter low. Here’s a few tips:
• Instead of renting/buying a mailing list, look to your network to create your own. Start with your current and past clients, prospects, social network connections, associates and family members, and continue to grow the list from there.
• Instead of printing in full color, consider printing black and white copies of the newsletter to keep costs down.
• If you’re mailing your newsletter in an envelope, experiment with using a unique envelope (such as a transparent or colored one) to make it stand out in that pile of mail.
• Self-mailers eliminate the added cost of an envelope. Experiment with using a brightly colored paper (one that doesn’t make your newsletter difficult to read though) to grab their attention.
• Consider using some of your newsletter “real estate” for advertising space. If your recipient list is in-line with the same types of customers a client of yours is pursuing, they might be interested in advertising in your newsletter. Charging a fee for this ad space can help keep your production costs down and may even result in new business for the advertiser.
• If you have an e-mail counterpart to your print newsletter, give your recipients the option to sign up for that version as well.
• Save several copies of your newsletter to use as leave-behinds at networking events, office visits and meetings.

Of course, all your hard work spent gathering and/or creating content will all be wasted if the newsletter is poorly designed or difficult to read. If you’re not confident that you have the layout skills and experience to design a newsletter yourself or don’t have the time to do so, I would encourage you to speak with a print designer that has experience working with newsletters to do the job for you.

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New Book Giveaway!

Likeable Social Media book cover

New giveaway! Now through Thursday, December 8, visit the Scott Creative Facebook Page. Once you’re there, review/comment on any photo in the ‘Studio Work’ album and you’ll enter yourself into a chance to win a free copy of Likeable Social Media: how to delight your customers, create an irresistible brand and be generally amazing on Facebook (and other social networks)”.

Contest winner will be announced Friday, December 9th. Visit Scott Creative on Facebook today for your chance to win!

Like Free Stuff? Then ‘Like’ Scott Creative on Facebook!

Free Marketing Book Cover

Now through November 19, 2011, ‘Like’ us on Facebook and you’ll automatically enter yourself into a chance to win a great resource: Free Marketing: 101 Low & No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Biz, Online & Off by Jim Cockrum. This hardcover edition of Free Marketing delivers more than 100 ideas to help any small business owner or marketer generate new revenue – with little or no marketing budget.

Using both online and offline ideas collected by Cockrum over a decade in his own business and in his work coaching other businesses, this book will help you discover new ways to turn your top customers into your unpaid sales force, get competitors to help you promote your products, grow a loyal audience that’s hungry for your content, and spread the word about your products, services and causes.

One lucky fan will be drawn by random to receive this book free of charge on November 19, 2011. If you haven’t already, get yourself on over to the Scott Creative Facebook page today and ‘Like’ us for your chance to win!

Looking at the Glass Half Full – Communicating Optimism through Design

This October, Positive Posters announced the finalists for their 2010 Exhibition. Held annually between July and October, the goal of each annual design competition is to inspire individuals through positive visual messages. Founded in 2009 by graphic designer Nick Hallam, Positive Posters is a non-profit international poster competition run by volunteers based in Melbourne, Australia. This year, designers were asked to work with the theme of “A Glass Half Full”.

 

"It's a Matter of Perspective" by Hailey McKenzie

“Optimism is a matter of perspective. Perspective gives us a point of view and a choice… a choice to see the world in different ways.” (Hailey McKenzie)

 

"Us" by Hilary Sloane

“Yes, there are many things wrong in the world, but perhaps we can see it as giving us something to do.” (Hilary Sloane)


"Turn that frown upside-down!" by Jesse Mallon

“By flipping the letters upside down the audience is invited to take a second look at the poster to understand, and be inspired by, its message.” (Jesse Mallon)

The work of this year’s 30 finalists represents a design aesthetic that is as diverse as their creators, which come from all over the world: Australia, England, Hong Kong, Thailand, the United States, South Korea and a host of other nations. These designers each bring their own unique understanding of what optimism means to them.

2009’s competition brought in over 300 entries from 53 countries. Peter Chmela’s winning entry, Smile, traveled as far as North Pole, where it was photographed.

2009's winning entry at the North Pole.

 

5 Ways Creatives can Deal with Non-Paying Clients

Freelance designers have serious problems when it comes to collecting payment from clients. As a follow up to another post that deals with some steps being taken to give creatives some defense against clients who refuse to pay, I wanted to know more about the experiences other creatives have had in dealing with such clients or what design professionals have done to successfully collect on what they’re owed.

The range and variety of solutions offered up by members of the LinkedIn group, Creative Dilemmas, came as a pleasant surprise, shedding some brilliant and practical solutions to creative professionals’ invoicing woes as well as steps other creatives can take to avoid getting burnt.

Below is a list of five ways creatives can prevent getting burnt by non-paying clients.

I.  Collect a deposit before any work begins.

“We collect a deposit up front and then invoice the balance at the end. This way we are covered for at least half of the total cost.”

Having to deal with a non-paying client can be easier to manage — or completely avoided — if some preventive strategies are put in place from the very start. Making payment on a project deposit a necessity of every project you take on protects you in two key ways. First, it ensures you get paid for at least a portion of your total projected time and/or expenses. I’ve found my own clients to be comfortable with 25% of the total projected cost of the project, though it’s common for creatives to ask for at least half of the total cost.


“If [clients] don’t want to pay a deposit, then they have no intentions of paying [later
].”

Many creatives have also found collecting a project deposit to be a useful tool for separating good clients from the bad. If you choose not to collect a deposit, you may never get paid — no one likes to work for free.

II.  If You Don’t Trust Them, Don’t Work with Them

“The two times in my 22-year career that I felt uncomfortable about a client were the two times I got stiffed.”

In our day to day lives, we choose to associate with people we can trust. This mindset should also apply to the way we conduct business. A client that’s in a rush to get work done or makes promises that sound too good to be true are signals that you should reevaluate the relationship. Trust your instincts. Ending a relationship with a client that displays warning signs like these could save you a lot of time and energy later down the road.

“I only deal with companies who I feel are trustworthy from the very start. Life’s too short to be chasing invoices.”

III.  Be Professional, Be Assertive

“Perception is everything. To many, ‘freelancer’ means ‘pushover’. If they think you’re a pushover, that’s the treatment you’ll receive.”

Freelancers have to make themselves crystal clear in the way they conduct business. Otherwise, we run the risk of being walked all over, or misunderstood. Let your clients and prospects know that you’re running your business on your terms – not theirs. It might come as a shock, but people don’t want to work with a quirky, egotistical designer that’s difficult to work with: they’re looking for a reliable, honest professional that is as concerned about their business as they are about theirs.

IV.  Get Creative When It’s Time to Collect

“I have a photo of my dog looking extremely sad by an empty dog bowl with a headline that reads “Time to Feed the Dog”… it has invariably caused my invoices to be found and processed.”

While this may be proof that even funny, good-humored approaches to collecting payment can work, it also proves that there’s no single approach to invoicing that guarantees you’ll be paid on time. Every invoice I send out consists of one copy delivered to the client in the mail, one via email and a phone call to letting the client know that they’ve been invoiced. This may be annoying to the client, but it shows them that I’m serious about what I do and that I want to be paid in a timely manner. A client can’t say that an invoice was lost in the mail if they have it sitting in their inbox, or vice versa. If I think a client may be dodging me in hopes that I’ll just forget about their invoice, that’s when I send another one – this time as a certified letter. Resourceful professionals will demonstrate that sometimes you’re going to have to get creative.

“I was once contacted by the president of a design firm who was owed a fair amount of money… I told her to go to the client’s office and sit in the waiting room until someone came out with a check. It worked.”

V.  Explore Your Other Options

“I have only had one instance where I turned a client over to a collection agency… much to my shock, I actually got the money.”

You do have options available to you if a client absolutely refuses to pay. Collection agencies, the better business bureau and small claims courts are a few of the options available to designers in such events. It’s best to weigh the cost and effectiveness of these and any other options available to you to find the one that is best suited to your needs.

Small claims court is a great tool for small businesses. When you get a judgement in your favor, the sheriff goes over and collects the money for you plus all expenses.”

What have you found to be an effective way of dealing with non-paying clients or your own invoicing troubles? Suggestions?