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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Using Newsletters for Marketing

Newsletters make excellent tools for communicating with customers. Many seem to fail in this simple task, or at least underperform. I offer some insights.

First, let me define a newsletter. I define a newsletter as a regularly delivered communication from a business to its customers. At the very least, a newsletter describes products and services. It should do so in a  way that interests if not entertains its intended audience. Though it serves to sell your product or service, it must offer more than a price list.

You should regard establishing a rapport with your clientele as the motive for your newsletter. That means that your newsletter should become something that your clientele looks forward to reading. To create that result demands a subtle marketing approach. Your newsletter should take a cue from the upsurge in social media marketing.

Here are some tips for creating a vital newsletter:

  • Avoid hyperbole. Present the merits of your product or service honestly.
  • Provide information. Give your clientele ideas of how to use your product, or different ways that your service can help them.
  • Offer insight. Explain intricacies of your industry.
  • Deliver interest. Entertain your clientele with relevant aspects regarding your product or service, the history, science, or romance
  • Show personality. Let the human side come through.

Do you see the common thread here? You want your clientele to engage with your newsletter, not throw it away or delete it. You must, therefore, treat your clientele with content that will intrigue them.

One last ingredient must be included: good writing. Understand good writing as a skill. Good writing results from training, practice, and a dedication to effective communication. Let me quickly break that down.

Training: Let us assume that you had some training writing proper English in school. Do not let that be the end of it. Pick up a grammar book once in a while, and refresh your knowledge. I find The Elements of Style  by Strunk and White refreshing to read periodically.

In concert with such refresher courses, develop the habit of reading critically. Do this with your work, do this with the writing of others.

Practice: Regard everything that you write—articles, letters, emails, everything—as an important communication that must be done right. No sloppiness allowed. Write as clearly and concisely as possible.

Dedication: Understand the value of good communication, and how good writing fits in with that.

Your newsletter should reflect your professionalism. It need not be slick nor stuffy but it should show the effort of a serious endeavor.

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