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Consider the Value, Advantages of a Printed Newsletter

By Terry Bolda

Call me old-fashioned, but I still subscribe to a daily newspaper. I’ve been doing it since my college days. I treasure the walk to the mailbox each morning to pick up a printed newspaper, opening it up at the breakfast table, and catching up on the latest news with paper in one hand and coffee in the other. Since, like many of us, I’m spending more and more time transfixed on a computer screen, reading the newspaper is a refreshing break.

How are you communicating with your customers? As customers, they are interested in knowing the latest developments in your company’s services and technology. Improvements through staffing, product developments, and your successes–these are all newsworthy.

Are you doing an email newsletter? If not, don’t shy away from it because of the cost because it might not be as expensive as you think. A small agency or an independent consultant could be doing it for you for $200 to $300 a month or quarter for formatting and sending of content you’ve provided.  There would be one-time charge for design and layout in your emailing program.

But what about the old-fashioned printed newsletter? For less than $700, your business could mail 500 printed newsletters to 500 customers or prospects. That’s provided that you either write or supply the newsletter content. To hire a writer for your content, expect to pay about $750-$900 for the average four-page, letter-sized newsletter. There are many benefits— that could pay your company dividends via new customers— for printing a company newsletter. To name a few…

  • How many emails do you receive a day? How many do you press “delete” on? That could be the fate for many electronic newsletters hitting inboxes. If the recipient knows you, you would expect that they’d open your email. But that delete key is so tempting. If your customer receives a mailed newsletter with a personal letter included, she will more likely open it and read it. You might be the only old-fashioned vendor doing this.
  • Did you know that 84% of browsers automatically have pictures and images of emails turned off to guard against spam and viruses? This means that your beautifully designed flyer or newsletters looks like a bunch of cut and paste copy boxes and red-X squares when opened. Now what are the chances of it not being read or hitting the trash? A printed newsletter is opened with all the content and pictures in place and thus, is more likely to be read.
  • While it is true that an emailed newsletter can easily be forwarded to friends, an email can’t be taken to trade shows, left on desks, placed in reception areas, tucked in jacket pockets, or be nicely archived in a binder. A printed newsletter or brochure will have multiple views by various potential customers over its shelf life of 30 to 90 days.
  • Then, there’s the “value statement” made when a business takes the step of printing and mailing its newsletter. Like opening the morning paper, opening a letter and actually holding the newsletter in hand carries greater value.

Some years ago, digital printing hit the scene, making it more cost-effective for short print runs of less than 500. Digital printing is basically a glorified color copier.  Unlike commercial offset printing, digital printing does not use the photo mechanical transfer process that creates dot patterns. The dots provide a higher quality output and crisper photos. Offset printing maintains a better registration and can be adjusted for ink flow.

What about cost? A Milwaukee printer, who also has in-house design capability, will print 500, four-page letter-sized newsletters for $457. Add $17 for a 750 run, and double the quantity to 1,000 for an extra 34 bucks.  You can save a few dollars with on-line printers and designers (one listed design services starting at $30) but you lose some control and have to use pre-designed templates.

A future article (oh, excuse me, blog) will consider direct mail’s ROI. But for now, consider how your business is communicating with customers and potential clients and whether a printed newsletter may be the piece you’re missing.

Oak Hill Business Partners’ Growth Management Services will work with your management team to devise and execute an overall strategy for growing your organization.  Whether it’s a refined marketing strategy or improved communications with your target audience, we have the expertise to support you so you can focus more effort on your core expertise.   For more information, Contact Us today.

Terry Bolda is a Partner with Oak Hill Business Partners specializing in writing, editing, marketing communications, and public relations.  He has more than 20 years of experience working with businesses and nonprofit organizations. His background includes being editor of a Wisconsin weekly newspaper, a public relations account executive, communications director for a large NPO, and director of development for a Milwaukee church and school.

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