Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Newsletter Tools and Techniques

Last week I told you (with a great example) why newsletters are such a powerful marketing tool for your business. You saw in the example, an easy way to encourage people to opt in to your mailing list.

Today I'd like to share some newsletter tools for you to explore for your own newsletter. I'll also share a few techniques you can use to make it the best marketing experience possible.

Newsletters work by both email and snail mail and there are advantages to both methods. You may find that you have both types of contacts, as well. Ask visitors to your site to opt-in to your email newsletter and retain names and addresses of people who:
+ purchase items from you
+ win giveaways (if your prize requires their shipping address)
+ sign up for your mailing list - if you do craft shows, encourages interested people to sign up

When you ask people to sign up, be sure your privacy policy is easy to locate and easy to read.

It's ok to offer an incentive to people for signing up. (In fact, this is a good idea):
+ special discounts
+ admission to members-only type events
+ free merchise or a free e-book on a topic related to your offering
+ automatic entry in a regular drawing


Email newsletters are low cost or free, it's easy to quickly build your contact list through opt-in offers, and you can include links for readers to click to purchase immediately. I did a quick Google search on Email Newsletter Services and found these:

Bravenet (free, supported by their ads)
Constant Contact
My Newsletter Builder

There are many others available, but this will at least get you started, and you can compare what you find with your specific needs. (Please note: I just grabbed these names off Google. I don't know their track record and am not affiliated with them nor do I receive compensation for linking to them.)

Whichever email newsletter service you decide to try, I'd recommend making sure you have a way to copy all your contacts' information and back up on a CD, thumb drive, or other storage device. The contact list you build is your own personal gold mine and you do not want to lose this information under any circumstances. If an email newsletter service doesn't have a way for you to back up your contacts' information, move on to one that will.

Snail mail newsletters have printing and postage costs, but can be mailed on bright paper, in a bright envelope, or be made so irresistibly attractive that your contact has to open it and see what it is. Attractive snail mail newsletters are rarely deleted or thrown away unopened. If your contact list is small, or you have the time and ambition, you can hand-address each one to give it a personal touch. You can also hand sign the bottom of each one.

You can print black and white on colored paper, use a newsletter publishing program to make a newspaper style letter, print color pictures, include coupons, etc.

Tip: If you can create an email newsletter that can be printed out, you can email your newsletter to your email subscribers and snail mail a printout of the same newsletter to your snail mail contacts. (Just make sure the header and footer don't show the URL of the page. It still has to look professional.)

One last thought... While browsing around, I discovered that Vistaprint offers a postcard marketing campaign, and you can use your own snail mail list or you can buy one. Yes, buying a mailing list is a whole other topic, but if this interests you, it's there. Since this is a whole other topic, I'll post later about this idea.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Pam! I love your blog - it has very useful marketing information that aligns with the mission of Indie CEO. I have blogged about it and put you on my business resources blog roll - check out your feature here:

    The Indie CEO blog is a resource to the Indie Arts businesses like us. I hope you might follow Indie CEO and link.

    So glad I stumbled upon your blog!


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