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The Mighty Marketing Newsletter

For many companies and organizations, it’s a powerful marketing tool that attracts and retains customers. I’m referring to the dependable, hard-working newsletter. On the subject of newsletters, guerilla marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson says, “It's a way of staying in touch, proving your expertise, giving beneficial information and gaining confidence.” Newsletters can be used for marketing, public relations, sales support, associations, or many other purposes. But how do you publish a successful newsletter? Following are some simple strategies that have worked well for my clients and me. Content and Style Consistently providing editorial value is the key to a successful newsletter.

Measuring content against a set of objectives is one way to accomplish this. What is the purpose of your newsletter? What are you trying to deliver to your readers? Another way is simply to remember what you're publishing -- a “news” letter. After all, “newsletter” is the marriage of two common words: “news” and “letter.” If you make your newsletter newsy, providing readers the latest information on subjects they care about, you can't go wrong. Does all content have to be cutting-edge news? No.

Editorial content can be a new slant on an old subject. It can be time-tested tips that are good reminders to an interested audience. Or sometimes it's information that isn't new but useful to people in a new stage of life -- parenting, for instance. Whatever the content, it should be relevant to readers. If unsure, just ask yourself: How can readers use this information? Is there take-away value? The second word, “letter,” helps to establish a writing style and tone. I like to write articles and newsletters as if I'm writing to one person in a friendly, conversational tone. Newsletters are often a dialogue with customers -- the lifeblood of your business -- so the tone, while friendly, needs to be respectful. Just avoid writing newsletters that are stiff, formal and self-important. Story Ideas In the abstract, thinking “news” is great. However, a few concrete ideas can help kick start a newsletter.

Here is a partial list: * News* Product and service stories * Product and service tips * Special offers, promotions and sales * Explanatory articles (how it works) * Case histories * Industry updates * Do's and don'ts * Appropriate humor * Quotes and testimonials * Checklists * Interviews * Profiles * Letters * Community involvement Want some more good ideas? Collect and read newsletters. What do you like? What can you apply? Create a newsletter file and fill it with company and industry news items. Keep a list of ideas, talk to customers, attend trade shows and seminars, and read as much as you can. By keeping yourself well informed, your newsletter will stay current and interesting to your readers. Finally, publish your newsletter on a regular basis and your sales are sure to increase. (c) 2005 Neil Sagebiel.


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