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.

Advertisements

Subscribe to the ON THE GRID newsletter & Win FREE Stuff!

Content Rules Book Cover

Not an ON THE GRID newsletter subscriber? You’re missing out on monthly updates from Scott Creative, including my recent design work and marketing news & resources you can use to grow your business. You’re also missing out on chances to win FREE resources, like this month’s giveaway of Content Rules.

Written by Ann Hadley (MarketingProfs) and C.C. Chapman (Digital Dads), Content Rules provides you with the guidance you need to create irresistible blogs posts, white papers, ebooks and other content, interwoven with case studies of companies successfully spreading their ideas online. Content Rules will show you how to use content marketing to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base. A $25 value, I’m giving this book away for FREE to one newsletter recipient on Monday, April 30th.

What are you waiting for? Subscribe to ON THE GRID today and keep an eye out for this month’s newsletter for your chance to win!

‘On the Grid’ Design Newsletter Now in Print

On the Grid print version pic

The print version of 'On the Grid' is printed on a legal-size sheet (8.5" x 14") folded and sealed for mailing purposes.

Attention readers: Scott Creative’s On the Grid is now offered in print as well as on the web! Mailed out each month, the print version of this newsletter offers the same great content as the online version does, including studio updates as well as many of the resourceful articles you can find right here on my website. If you’re interested in receiving a free copy of this printed version, please let me know – just send me an e-mail through the ‘Contact’ page!

To subscribe to the ‘On the Grid’ e-newsletter, click here. To view past/archived issues, click here.

On the Grid print version side 2 pic

4 Reasons To Have a Print Newsletter

For several years now, there’s been an ongoing discussion about print as a dying medium – this simply isn’t the case! The role of print has undoubtedly changed – evolved. The fact remains that people see real value in print. E-mail certainly has its advantages as a simple, low-cost method of communication, but its advantages are also the source of some of its greatest weaknesses (read the Four Pitfalls of an Email-only Approach). Here are some reasons why you should consider using a print newsletter:

1. The all-powerful ‘Delete’ button.

Whether it’s by accident or due to an overcrowded inbox or your client/prospect having a terrible case of the Mondays, your e-mail newsletter always faces the chance of being deleted before it’s even read.

2. E-mail addresses are subject to change.

What’s more likely to change: a recipient’s e-mail address or their business’ physical address? How many of your e-mail campaigns have bounced due to a bad e-mail address within the last six months? With a print version of a newsletter, your message has a high probability of reaching a lead/prospect at a company – even if a contact or e-mail address changes.

3. Print has a higher-perceived value than e-mail.

Because a newsletter can be easily kept within reach, shared with friends/associates, and doesn’t involve accessing a computer to read, print versions are more effective in the long-term. Additionally, the quality of a printed piece has shown to speak value of a company’s products or services. According to the fourth annual Signs of the Times report by Fed Ex, over 90% of small business owners believe that a company’s print marketing/advertising materials reflects the value of the company’s products and services. Read more about additional findings of that report here.

4. Print is still preferred by many.

The fact is that while some people prefer to receive an e-mail, others would much rather receive something in print. It’s likely that a person’s age, profession and proficiency with a computer will to some degree influence his/her delivery preference for marketing materials. Interestingly enough, even young, tech-savvy adults still prefer to receive marketing offers in print, rather by e-mail. For example, a 2010 survey by ICOM (a division of Epsilon Targeting) found that by a wide margin, 18-34 year-olds prefer to learn about marketing offers via mail rather than through online sources.

What Should My Print Newsletter Include?

Aside from collecting content, the most difficult or time-consuming task will be designing your newsletter. For this,  it would be wise to consult a design professional; someone who can present you with several concepts, design around your copy & images, and also provide more information on printing & production. If you’re already sending out an e-newsletter with some success, then you probably have a very good idea of what constitutes creating a print version, but whatever the case, here are a few key components that your print newsletter should include:

1. More about you.

If you’re implementing a print newsletter to generate more business, try not to be too “salesy” in your approach. Look for a good balance of marketing/sales content and personal content. Aside from showing recipients what you have to offer, use the newsletter to reveal more about you. They may not want to hear your life story, but a personal touch to your content will give them a better idea of who you are.

2. Case studies using work that you’ve done for past/current clients.

These are integral to your newsletter because they provide insight into how you’ve successfully addressed your others needs. Your newsletter recipients need to know that you have a history of helping others with their needs before they can trust you with their own.

3. Client testimonials that speak for themselves.

What your clients have reveal about working with you is much more powerful than what you have to say about yourself. Ask your clients for their endorsement/recommendation in writing and then use these in your newsletter to establish credibility.

4. Loads of valuable content.

Provide your recipients with valuable information that they would have difficulty obtaining on their own. You’re ultimately the judge of what you feel is important enough to make it into your newsletter,  but your content should focus on content that’s relevant to your recipients. There are plenty of ways to go about collecting/creating content for your newsletter – here are just a few:

  •  Start a blog and write your own content that addresses the problems and concerns of your clients, leads & prospects.
  • Write a white paper dealing with a specific subject, then use that content elsewhere.
  • Subscribe to several industry newsletters, RSS feeds and publications. These are great sources of content for your own newsletter – just remember to cite the source!
  • Invite guest writers to write about a subject.
  • Hire a ghost writer to generate content for you.

5. A call to action.

Case studies, client testimonials and other content gives you credibility, but more importantly it shows recipients that you have something valuable to offer them. A call to action (CTA) encourages your recipients to take the next step through a simple, focused command. “E-mail me for your chance to win”, “Call for a brochure” and “Use this code with your next online order” are examples. A CTA can take several forms, depending on how and through what medium you would like your recipients to respond. Whichever medium(s) you choose, make sure you can measure the results.

6. Other ways to connect with you.

Along with your street address and phone number, be sure to include the URLs of any social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) that you presently use along with your website and e-mail address. Show your recipients that there are several ways to engage with you on their own terms, online or off.

7. Ask for feedback.

Requesting feedback may be the best way to tell whether or not your readership is finding your newsletter as resourceful as you hope it is. Feedback you collect can be used to fine-tune your newsletter or make drastic improvements if necessary.

Other things to consider:

1. Send your newsletter as bulk mail.

If you are mailing out 200 or more pieces, you may be able to send your newsletter as standard mail at a significantly lower, bulk mail rate.

2. Have both print and e-mail versions of your newsletter.

Not only are you giving recipients control over how they would like to receive information from you, but you can then tailor future campaigns based on their preferences.

3. Offer your newsletter for free.

This sounds a little ridiculous as you probably already offer it for free, but doing so means it will be perceived with additional value.

4. Encourage referrals.

Asking current clients or associates for referrals via phone or e-mail can sometimes be uncomfortable and may take a great deal of time, whereas a print newsletter can do the job for you.

5. Print your newsletter on recycled paper.

When it’s possible, consider printing your newsletter on paper containing post consumer waste (PCW). You should also encourage them to recycle your newsletter once they’re finished with it.

6. Keep copies of your newsletter on hand.

For all of its valuable information, your print newsletter may be one of your most powerful marketing pieces. Consider distributing your newsletter by hand around town or as handouts at networking events, conferences and similar events. Providing new contacts with highly valuable information is a great way to make an introduction.

Oakwood Country Club Newsletter Design

Oakwood Country Club July 2011 Newsletter Cover Page

Oakwood Country Club July 2011 Newsletter Page 2

Oakwood Country Club July 2011 Page 3

For several months, Scott Creative has been assisting Oakwood Country Club (Kansas City, Missouri) with their marketing and communications needs. My work for this client includes trade show banner designs, print advertisements and now, their club newsletter. In June 2011,  I began evaluating their newsletter and identifying areas of improvement in this vital piece of communication.

What I learned from conversations with general manager, Chris B., is that what Oakwood needed was a monthly newsletter with a professional feel that engaged their members. Once a new design template was approved, work on the July 2011 was underway. My wife, Sarah (S. Scott Photography) and I traveled to Kansas City to shoot staff photos for the newsletter, as well as photos of the course, clubhouse and surroundings for use in future marketing/communications materials.

This new design is intended to help Oakwood connect and communicate with their club’s members in a way the previous version was unable to. A clean, three-column layout includes staff articles accompanied by photos, information on upcoming events, photo galleries of previous events and a monthly calendar. Printed on tabloid size paper, the newsletter is saddle stitched, folded and then mailed to Oakwood Country Club’s members.