The Easiest, Most Economical Way to Create Effective Customer Newsletters
Are you one of those contractors who believe that if you service a customer once and do a great job, they’ll remember you forever? I wish that was true. Instead, studies show that 55% of the customers you lose leave you because you paid them no attention.
This means that you are asking these customers to either forget your name or go to the Yellow Pages to find it. Either option is a poor one. That’s why newsletters exist.
Newsletters are to keep your name in the customer’s mind – but not as merely a “sales piece.” A newsletter gives you a chance to step beyond the “sales” role and into the “relationship” role. No one likes the person who is always trying to sell him or her something! You’ll find newsletters build loyalty, referrals, and sales far better than screaming advertising messages do.
Customers do 100% of the buying. They also do 100% of the repeat buying. In addition, they do about 100% of the referring. I realize this may be too simple and obvious for most of you, but you’d never guess it by what most contractors do.
A lost customer means that you cut off a prime source of future sales and referrals. A loss that carries on for the life of the sales he passes on and refers to your competition.
The fact is that previous customers spend their money 33% faster than first-timers. They’re 40% more likely to buy the upsell offer. They’re 3 times more likely to refer others. And they cost 1/6 the amount to retain as they initially did to attract.
Moreover, since you spend $275-$325 in marketing costs to get your hard-earned customer, doesn’t it make sense to stay in touch for just pennies more? In fact, if you only service a customer once and they leave, you probably lost money on them! Staying in touch with a newsletter is one of the most effective, least expensive marketing tools you have. In fact, Jay Conrad Levinson – the creator of the Guerilla Marketing concept – says that customer newsletters are the #1 guerilla-marketing weapon.
Nevertheless, creating a newsletter is where most contractors falter. Coming up with well-written articles, laid out in a graphically appealing way, and produced on time without bogging down your other business can be hard. For many contractors, it’s practically impossible. Once you weigh the amount of time and money spent to create your own version, a professional, syndicated newsletter may prove to be very attractive.
Syndicated newsletters are mass-produced, “semi” custom newsletters with certain parts that a company will customize with their own material. There are several advantages to using a syndicated newsletter service. First, you can produce a quality product without having any editorial and design experience. Second, it saves you the time you would have had to spend researching, writing, editing and producing a newsletter. The overall cost is usually lower, benefiting from the economy of larger print runs and spread out production costs.
Using QR codes to link your offline and online worlds is like bread and butter to your newsletter and can increase website traffic and allow you to fit more quality content (how to’s, energy saving tips, home remodeling) into your newsletter.
(Hudson, Ink can create a web portal for your company to integrate your newsletter to your online marketing efforts.)
For you do-it-yourselfers, there are some advantages to producing the newsletter yourself. Your own publication has more of a personal touch. You have complete control of the content and can better match the newsletter to your current marketing goals and your client profile. By self-publishing, you can also set your own schedule and change the size, length, or graphic design to fit your needs.
An alternative is to combine the benefits of syndicated newsletters with those of self-publishing. You can use a syndicated newsletter but personalize it by enclosing a note. You might include an insert page of news unique to your organization and clients.
Often, syndicated newsletter services will customize a version of their standard newsletter for you. They can include an article submitted by you targeting your specific readers. Alternatively, they may let you purchase the articles alone and use them in your own newsletter.
As you get your newsletter under way, remember, you must offer free but valuable information. Those who use newsletters know the power of “positioning” yourself as a helpful expert. Your Website can make this info “interactive” where customers can click, learn, and understand why you are an expert and thus their best contracting choice. It’s subtle, but terrifically effective.
For added sales, put an “ad” in your newsletter, or at least print a story about different services you offer. (We offer dealers a choice of 10 different ads to go in 3 ad spots.) Educate your customers about the importance of tune-ups, preventive maintenance, money-saving technologies and more. You can push the Maintenance Agreement sales directly through your newsletter and openly ask for referrals. Why? Because they know and trust you. Your closing ratio with them will always be higher.
So use newsletters to keep your customers buying from you, instead of your competition. You’ll achieve higher loyalty, referrals, and sales, as if you were making a personal visit with your customers 2-4 times a year!
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