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.