Five Secrets of a Great Customer Newsletter

By: jpalmer on: March 2nd, 2010 12 Comments

When I speak live I often refer the “magic of a customer newsletter” because a properly written newsletter can truly do magical things for a business. One of the big reasons is that newsletters are not perceived in the same manner as a postcard, a flyer or other forms of direct mail marketing. When people receive these or anything else that has a sales and marketing feel to it, their guard goes up and they think, “Uh-oh. What are they trying to sell me?”

Newsletters tend to be informational, making them more welcomed when they are received. As such they have higher readership than other forms of advertising. People also tend to be more receptive to what you have to say in your newsletter because newsletters aren’t meant to be sales tools. Rather, they are designed to be a resource.

In one of his No B.S. Marketing Letters, Dan Kennedy put it this way, “People are conditioned to be less resistant to reading information, such as articles, than they are advertising.” Since people are conditioned to be less resistant to reading information, which is exactly what a newsletter should be, most people read a newsletter with their guards down.

A customer newsletter is the strongest marketing and business building tool available—bar none.

Newsletters open doors. I now want to share with you five secrets of a great customer newsletter.

Secret # 1 – Tell them what else you do. Many customers initially engage with a business by purchasing a single product or service. Over time they may do repeat business, usually reordering the same product or service, unaware of the other products or services that the company has to offer. How many times have you heard a client I didn’t know you did that,” or, “I didn’t know you also sold that”? Or, “I didn’t know you also sold that!” These are all missed opportunities to increase your revenue and profits. So, every month, tell your customers what else you do!

Secret #2 – Tell them what’s new. As business owners, we are always coming up with new products and services. A newsletter is a great way to get the word out to people who already trust you and find value in what you sell. This can often be done quite effectively by way of customer success stories and testimonials.

Secret #3 – It’s not about you. This is very important. Your newsletter is not about you or how many industry awards you have won. Your newsletter should be about what’s important, interesting, and entertaining to your customers and clients. Every month, if you inform, educate, and entertain them, with a big emphasis on entertaining them, they will look forward to your newsletter.

Secret #4 – Recognize the expensive real estate! The back page of your newsletter is not simply the mailing panel; it is the first thing your readers will see when the newsletter comes out of the mailbox. This is a great place to put important items that you want readers to see. Also, never have a back page article with the headline, “continued from …” as this is boring and not very appealing.

Secret #5: – Frequency trumps everything. Frequency is more important than the size of a newsletter, whether it’s color or black and white, or even the quality of the content! Yes, you heard me right – I would actually prefer a homemade cheesy looking black/white newsletter published monthly to a professionally designed newsletter done twice a year. You simply must have frequency to build trust and strong relationships with your customers and prospects.

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Jim Palmer is internationally known as The Newsletter Guru and author of The Magic of Newsletter Marketing—The Secret to More Profits and Customers for Life. His companies include NoHassleNewsletters.com and NewsletterPostcards.com. For a free newsletter template and 20-page special report, visit TheNewsletterGuru.com.

    12 Responses

    1. John Danbury says:

      Great post as always, I have been using a newsletter in one of my businesses for about a year now and always promote this through my marketing consultancy, it gets great results and if its a couple of days late I get a call asking me where it is, you don’t get that with a sales pitch!

    2. Having just finished “Marketing to the Affluent” – which was absolutely brilliant by the way, I am now onto “No BS Direct Marketing” – and only 20 pages in I have learned some knock-out strategies that I can start using today in my consultancy business.

      Quality content as usual :)

      Regards

      Simon

    3. Charles Ra says:

      great secrets Jim
      thank you

    4. Rob Anspach says:

      to add to what Jim posted…

      not only should a newsletter inform, educate and entertain…it should be personal and interactive.

      You should have a little column about you, your family or pet – this makes you appear more human, friendly, inviting and trustworthy… it makes you part of the family and get the reader to want to hire you again and again.

      The interactive part – should have some triggering mechanism like a trivia quiz… “Be the first person to call and receive a $25 gas card”, or “everyone who quesses the correct answer to this months trivia question will be entered into a chance to win a $50 visa card”

    5. Charles Ra says:

      yes Rob. to be personal and interactive
      to keep them reading and waiting for the newsletter.
      to put our personality as Bill says.
      it makes an excellent newsletter an outstanding one
      thanks

    6. Jim Rowe says:

      I just finished our 1st newsletter and added a guest of the month article, managers corner, employees of the month and a short Bio about them and some fun things that are upcoming. We also had a promotion for newsletter recipients to hand out to teachers for $5.00 off. I cant wait to see what this does for my restaurants as it’s another great way to keep my guest thinking about us.

    7. Les Rose says:

      Great information, as always.
      Thanks,
      Les

    8. Carmen Stine says:

      Great article! I will use every point made here to create my very 1st newsletter to clients. Thanks.

    9. Great stuff, Jim.

      Just like when you came to speak live at our August 2009 GKIC Chicago Chapter Meeting. We have a bunch of great success stories from the newsletters my Chapter Members started thanks to your help!

      Thanks!!

    10. Jim… thank you for the terrific advice on customer newsletters! each one of those points will touch customers differently… covering all five , and doing it well, is the way to go!

    11. Charles Ogar says:

      Secret #2 is very powerful, especially if you’re sending your newsletter to prospects. Your testimonials should be carefully selected to overcome your major objections for your service or product.

      Charles Ogar

    12. Silke says:

      We are in the process of creating our first print Newsletter. I finally talked the boss into it :)
      Great advise, thank you.

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