June 18, 2010

Newsletters That Sell

Most prospects will not respond to an advertising message until the seventh or more touch. For many businesses, traditional methods of advertising are simply too expensive. When done properly, email newsletters are an effective marketing tool that can help a business, generate sales leads, boost direct sales, and gain referrals form existing customers

Publishing Newsletters That Are Read
  • Publish the newsletter on a frequent and scheduled cycle.
  • Use a professional design.
  • Focus articles on customers/prospect needs not your business.
  • Offer work-related news.
  • Report prices and/or sales.
  • Inform readers about personal interests/hobbies.
  • Inform readers about events/deadlines/important dates.
  • Use customers’ names and faces—tell their stories, ideas, etc.
Leveraging Your Printed Newsletter

Do more than just mailing your newsletter; consider the following to boost your newsletter's effectiveness:
  • Send to new contacts.
  • Display it in reception area.
  • Display in your referral partners reception area.
  • Hand out copies at seminars and exhibits.
  • Send the newsletter with proposals.
  • Submit newsletter articles for publication in local publications and other association newsletters.
Building Your Mailing List

Mailing your newsletter to customers and prospects that are familiar with your business shows a greater return on investment than buying a list of strangers. Build your mailing list based on current and former clients, prospects, referral sources, staff, and association/trade group board members or newsletter editors related to your business niche.

June 16, 2010

Software Screen Shots for Brochures

Having worked in and for software development companies ranging from global enterprises to startup businesses I often struggled with one continual marketing challenge: how to graphically capture the power and benefits of software. A screen shot of your latest and greatest user interface is meaningless on it own. Shrink it to fit the average size column width of a brochure and you might as well have added a block of color.

For home based business owners the issue becomes a budget challenge as well. Do you include screen captures in your standard 11 x 8.5 three-fold brochure, or do you invest in a larger marketing piece?

When it comes to software screen shots the parts are greater than the whole. My experience has found that the zooming into specific areas of a screen shot to highlight functions, features, and output allows the reader to visually connect the software with your copy. Here are a few tips for integrating software screen shots with your brochure copy:
  1. Select screen shots that correspond with the headlines of your brochure copy.
  2. Zoom and crop screen shots to highlight the specific function, feature, or output your copy is discussing.
  3. Add captions to screen shots for further details.
  4. Group function shots with output shots using arrows to visually connect and depict the process flow.

June 14, 2010

Get the Word Out With Postcard Newsletters

Postcards are an ideal vehicle for sending short bits of news to your mailing list on a frequent basis. Unlike their traditional 8.5 x 11 counterparts, postcard newsletters are less expensive, quick reads, and easy to carry and pass on to others.

When designing your postcard newsletter, take full advantage of both sides of the postcard. Ideally your font size should be 12 points and no less than 10 points for optimum readability. Even if you are using a 4.25 X 6 postcard, you can fit about 80 to 100 words on the back/address label side along with your contact information, and about 100 to 125 words on the front/picture side along with a masthead.

Keep your content short and to the point. Either focus on one specific topic, or include short snippets of information such as tips, statistics, customer Q&As, customer profiles, customer feedback, company/staff news, product/service updates, etc.

Postcard Newsletter Tips
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Postcard Newsletter Books