Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year, New Marketing

A Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all had a very pleasant and restful holiday period and are raring to start your marketing for 2007.

One effective activity you might want to consider this year is sending out a newsletter to customers and prospects. Newsletters provide a flexible way of improving and maintaining your identity in customers and prospects eyes. They give regular contact with customers and build on your credibility as an expert in your field, thus enhancing your reputation. If done well, customers will not only rescue it from heading straight to the bin, they may also keep it indefinitely.

You might be slightly confused however about how to begin the task of compiling this piece of communication. Below you will find a simple step-by-step guide to help you get started.

Step 1: Think what message you want to send out
Think about what the objectives of your newsletter are and who will be reading it. This is the first step in thinking about what the newsletter will look like, what it’s style will be and it’s content. You may even decide at this point that you do not need a newsletter at all.

Step 2: Size isn’t important
You don’t need to have page upon page. Even just a letter on one page could do the job. Appropriateness is the most important factor, not gloss or weight.

Step 3: Create the content
Make sure that your newsletter is valuable to those who are receiving it. Include content that your readers will keep for reference or show to others. You might want to highlight any changes in your market or discuss the current issues. Also, ensure that your graphics and images are of as high a quality as possible. Involve your graphic designer from an early stage.

Step 4: The proof is in the reading
Always use a spelling and grammar checker (set to the audience’s specific language) when composing your text. Accuracy is critical. Proof read carefully at every stage; read slowly, avoid distractions and try reading sentences backwards too as it helps you concentrate on the words rather than the overall context.

Step 5: Maintain good circulation
Ensure that your readers receive their newsletters in good condition. This might mean dispensing them from a display unit, using a third party for large mailings, having your own customised envelopes or using a specialist e-mail tool should your newsletter be electronic. If you only have a very small circulation you may even want to deliver the newsletters by hand.

Step 6: Perfect Timing
Plan time to produce each edition on a regular basis. How often you wish to produce your newsletter is up to you. You might want a short newsletter each week, or perhaps only quarterly or even annually. Think what would be appropriate for your readers.

Step 7: Speak and tweak
Regularly review your content and the readability of the newsletter. By contacting a cross-section of recipients you will be able to gauge opinion and can use any criticism to tweak subsequent issues where needed.

So, try giving your marketing a boost this year and try something new. Over the coming weeks we will give you tips on a variety of marketing activities you may want to give a bash in 2007 – and, most of them are inexpensive. So… what’s stopping you?



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