All business, from multimillion dollar companies to small local shops, want the same things: more sales, strong customer loyalty, and continued growth. There is no question that you appreciate your customers and enjoy the opportunities to show them your gratitude for choosing to utilize your services and products, but there is a highly effective way to not only thank them, but to keep them actively aware of your business and market your products and services at the same time. So, you already have a top-notch advertisement that looks great and tells your clients exactly what you can do for them, you’ve invested the time and resources to develop a user-friendly website, and you already have great marketing letters drafted to target your existing clients and pre-qualified potential clients, so how can you make it better? Add in a regular newsletter (i.e. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. – whatever you decide works best for your business). Regular newsletters allow you to both advertise and market, while allowing you to slip by the normal defenses that all clients have to being “sold” by providing useful information specific to their needs.
What have you done for me lately?
One of the biggest challenges with keeping your clients aware of you and your products or services is the old adage “out of sight, out of mind.” This is especially problematic for businesses that provide services with a long use period, meaning that customers aren’t coming back to you daily or monthly for more of the same.
The most effective way to combat this, so that you can get referrals and repeat business in the long run, is to ensure that you keep in regular contact with your clients, as often as it is appropriate, via phone, snail mail, and email. However, repeated communications of “Hey, you got any leads for me?” “Need a new house yet” or “Are you getting ready to get married again soon?” eventually lose their effectiveness. It’s important to be creative and find a way to provide additional services, so that your client is seeing your name each month. This ensures that you’re still on their mind even if they don’t need your services right away. For example, my Realtor® sends me and my wife recipe cards each month, each featuring a new recipe appropriate to the time of year. Each card includes their smiling faces and contact information, as well as a casually worded reminder that they love to receive referral and repeat business from their clients. In short, it’s brilliant, and every time a friend, colleague, or family member mentions buying a home in the local area, I pass on their information because I remember their name and what they do.
Along the same lines, a regular newsletter that is 80% helpful tips, business ideas, and industry news, with 20% marketing information and self promotion shows your commitment to keep your clients in the know on new ideas and gives you a way to showcase your services at the same time. The mix can be different, but I strongly suggest that the lion’s share of the newsletter be information that they will find useful and that the marketing aspect also be geared towards demonstrating how your products or services benefit them directly, otherwise, you’ll quickly lose readership.
Cost Effectiveness and Environmental Impact
Newsletters delivered in soft copy via email are very inexpensive. Other than the cost to generate content that your customers will find useful, and the cost of having your newsletter professionally produced and maintained (strongly recommended), there isn’t any other cost involved. There isn’t the normal cost of printing and mailing out a couple of trees worth of slick copy to your target audience.
Legal Matters and Other Considerations
Any newsletter sent out to a mass audience has to comply with the federal regulations of the CAN-SPAM act.
There are hefty fines of up to $16,000 per email for violating the regulations, so knowing the law well or working with a provider that is committed to keeping you in compliance with the regulations is critical to your success.
You might have some ideas about what type of content you want to deliver and how to do it, but more likely, your focus is going to be on servicing your customers and running your business. There are many companies out there that will provide services to you in this arena and will even offer to provide detailed reports as to how many of your clients are opening the newsletters, clicking on embedded links and driving traffic to your website.