Monday, October 31, 2011

Keeping in touch with customers

With so much focus on the company web site and social media it is easy to forget to keep in touch with customers when they are not actively thinking about buying new products. Company newsletters can help keep customers and prospects informed about your products, and maintain ‘top of the mind’ awareness for your brand. 

A  company newsletter can be mailed to both ‘external’ and ‘internal’ customers. Internal customers include members of your team in non-customer facing roles, manufacture for example, as well as people in field sales and the distribution chain.

Even with the immediacy of the Internet, there is still a place for printed communication where readers can review the contents at a more convenient time. Not only should the design look professional, but the layout should make reading easy and include good quality photographs to gain attention and help break up the text. The content also needs to be relevant to the reader and add to their knowledge and experience of your business. A newsletter can also present interesting and noteworthy projects by explaining how challenges were solved, how your products were used and provide the endorsement of your customers. It can be a useful vehicle to help educate your readership about new developments, by giving background information, or to explain how to get the best use from your products. Newsletters can of course showcase new products and remind customers of the virtues of existing ones. Featuring company employees, explaining their role and contribution will help present the human face of your business and remind customers that they are dealing with a team. By including ‘useful’ articles you can also create higher retention value for the newsletter and well- produced versions have been used as reference sources. You can develop relationships with your readers by introducing response inducive elements ranging from a letters page to competitions and of course encourage readers to recommend others.

Above all you control the content. You are not subject to editorial selection as in the case of the trade press, which has limited space and needs to maintain impartiality. Frequency is another important consideration. A few issues a year sent out regularly are better than an initial flurry then big gaps between issues as the time commitment and need for genuine news content becomes a challenge you cannot sustain.

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