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Newsletter Pain or Pleasure?

Some organizations view their client newsletter with an attitude of burdensome obligation. That view typically leads to corner-cutting and a poorly performing newsletter. Others find producing a client newsletter a smooth, rewarding process whose outcomes include resilient client loyalty, qualified referrals, and profit.


check your 'tude

Is a newsletter a waste of time or a goldmine? That largely depends on your attitude. A newsletter’s potential as an investment in a loyal, growing clientele is greater than many imagine. Like other ventures in marketing and customer relationship management, newsletter success begins with positive attitude.

Your attitude in the beginning essentially shapes the newsletter experience that ends in your market's perceptions. This article points the way to newsletter success for those who recognize the potential for success and start with a positive attitude.

success for readers

Your newsletter should reflect your target-market profile and gauge your dedication to your brand. You must communicate effectively to your readers and demonstrate relevance to their interests. A good newsletter focuses on what they value.

Gaining a sense of recognition from reading it, they feel engaged, involved, or validated. With the intrinsic loyalty that this experience supports, they look forward to each issue and might share it with others. If they like your newsletter, this is how it aids growth and profit.

of brand alignment

Your brand is how your market perceives your business. So, your newsletter should authentically convey the client experience.

A newsletter put together from content gleaned elsewhere cannot truly be yours. Nor could a generic, template-from-a-catalogue newsletter with your logo pasted in. Because authenticity is important, do not compromise your brand with either.

As you compete with others for market share, the right style for your newsletter depends on the status you need to maintain among loyal, profitable clients. If, for example, your business thrives on a modest, real-folks reputation, then your newsletter should reflect that. Slick, big-city style might confuse them. Keep it genuine.

Your success should be your own – expressing your attitude, propagating your brand, following your formula. Indeed, your brand should permeate your readers' experience of your newsletter, each issue.

develop and test a formula

Just as you can make endless batches of satisfying cookies by following the right recipe, so you can make a great newsletter each time by following a good formula. A newsletter formula comprises:

  • style (look and feel)
  • content (articles and graphics)
  • medium (paper and/or screen)
  • frequency (issues per year).

Your brand is the cookie sheet. Your market is the oven.

A fitting newsletter formula should trump what style appeals to you alone or fits your budget. Consider looking beyond the style that initially appeals to you, and beyond your current budget. From consistent execution of a good newsletter formula, appeal to your readers and cost-effectiveness for you should result.

start with a profile

What clients do you want more of? What interests do they share? In developing your formula, look to your target-market profile to guide your decisions. Develop your target-market profile: age range, gender proportions, neighbourhoods, range of occupations and education, typical household income, and any other shared characteristics that typify good clients for you. Know and address their interests pertinent to their actual and potential dealings with you.

on paper or on screen

Since the reader profile shapes the newsletter formula, be careful what you assume. If, for example, you target people who heavily use smart phones, you might assume that they would prefer an e-newsletter. Yet, that could explain why they would actually find a printed newsletter refreshing.

Research finds that a newsletter distributed for on-screen reading is:

  • less likely to be read entirely
  • more likely to be plagiarized
  • less likely to be read more than once
  • more likely to be deleted without being read at all.


Moreover, many like to hold a newsletter in their hands. They might take it on public transit, to a waiting room, or a coffee table. Each decision about your newsletter formula should be rooted in your brand and guided by your reader profile as well as opportunities to optimize depth of reach (e.g. recruiting more readers, as happens when one says, "I put the newsletter in your bag. You might enjoy reading it on your break.").


why bother

There are other ways to attract and retain clients. You can advertise, offer discounts, run incentive programs, and train staff in client relations. Your newsletter need not replace any of these. Rather, a great newsletter integrates marketing and client relations economically. It could harmonize them.


good formula + good attitude

No aspect of customer relationship management or marketing should feel like a burden or obligation. Bear in mind the low cost of intrinsically loyal clients and the high potential of a brand-aligned, reader-focused newsletter. With a winning attitude and a winning formula, you could replace newsletter pain with the pleasure of success.

- Glenn R Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.


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