It is not new news that a newsletter can help to strengthen your relationships with clients and to draw in potential new clients. Small and medium sized business owners that we work with are publishing issues on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. The format, time frame, and content will depend on budget and priorities, but we recommend a level that you can maintain easily with your capacity and resources. While more publishing and corresponding social media engagement can increase the level of activity on your website, it is pointless to over-commit and detract from your brand identity.
Newsletters can include a mix of substantive articles balanced with some lighthearted content, and should typically be kept brief at no more than four pages. With increasing use of mobile devices, the format and readability of the content should take this into account.
Articles can touch on ideas for your clients, relevant advice, and a summary or reflection of recent market activity. Dedicating each issue to a certain topic or theme can help give the newsletter direction. A newsletter should be a vehicle to voice an individual point of view and cultivate a unique image for your firm, so original content is highly preferable to canned reports or 3rd party content feeds.
Light content with a sense of humor alongside substantive articles keep the newsletter more entertaining to read. You can also curate content from other sources, adding a personal message or introductory column in order to add a human touch and hopefully facilitate a personal connection with the reader.
Newsletters are relatively inexpensive to produce, costing a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in editorial and potentially mailing expenses per year. You can also re-purpose blog posts into a newsletter format using RSS feeds. The work load, however, can range. Expect to budget 1-2 days per month plus writing time to produce the newsletter. Outside marketing partners (like Revenue Architects) help from writing to production, so you may want to co-source the work.
One decision is whether to distribute the newsletter through the mail or just electronically. Printing the newsletter will give it more staying power, and many readers prefer to have a tangible publication to read. With so much noise on the web, a mix of print engagement an have a material impact. However, printing and mailing each issue greatly increases the costs and time required. Electronic newsletters are far less expensive and time consuming, and issues can be made available online for anyone who would like to read them – and they easily shared via email and the social web. They also allow for more time-sensitive content as electronic issues can be produced and distributed much faster than a newsletter that must be printed and mailed. We would typically recommend an online version as a standard practice and a printed version as a nice option depending on the target audience and their preferences.
Regardless of how you choose to produce your newsletter, it must be put together well. If it is a print newsletter, choose a high quality, durable paper. If it is an electronic newsletter, choose an accessible format that allows for easy online viewing across devices. A quality newsletter will reflect positively on your firm, so an eye for detail and design is important. Some points to keep in mind:
- Audience first – what segments are you communicating with or is it one size fits all?
- Re-purpose content from your blog posts with RSS aggregation
- Use marketing automation tools like Act-On software (the service we use in our managed marketing services) or Hubspot or Mailchimp. The more sophisticated your lead and relationship nurture process and the range or segments of audience and nurture goals, the more important it is to engage the right technologies the right way
- Write original content or curate content, but be careful relying on 3rd party content factories as most often, your readers will spot that a mile away.
Good luck and good writing. Contact Revenue Architects for help of course!