Firm Touts Newsletters As Marketing Tools

April 10, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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MUSKEGON — Business-to-business marketing is taking on various forms lately, and the latest is newsletters. And Graphics House Printing says it is ready to handle the job.

GH Printing is treating the newsletter as a variation of targeted marketing — a way to custom-deliver advertising to specific customers.

According to Brent McKinnon, GH Printing general manager, many businesses recently have been sold on the idea of newsletters over other forms of advertising. He said that's because a regular program of newsletter mailers meets and exceeds the definition of marketing being cost-effective targeted marketing.

McKinnon explained that many firms choose newsletters over radio, periodical and television advertising because frequent mailing to a customized list eliminates cold calling. When a sales person makes a contact, the customer is already familiar with the business.

A custom mailing list of existing customers and hot prospects can be easily altered and tracked. A large list can be broken down into segments so salespeople can record their contact frequency, impressions and the salability of those leads.

"Many businesses have three separate mailing lists they combine for the newsletter mailing," McKinnon said. "One is for existing customers, one is for customers judged to be long-shots and one is for hot prospects.

"We can show you how to do this and also maintain your customer mailing list, updating monthly so your publication will remain well-targeted and cost-effective."

Much of the cost-effectiveness in newsletters revolves around their targetability. A business knows when it sends a newsletter to a customer, that customer will see it or at least glance at it for a logo impression. There isn't that kind of confidence with print or broadcast ads.

"Everyone is fighting to be noticed in an abundance of media," McKinnon said. "Rather than being lost in the shuffle, many businesses feel more confident with small publications, targeted to people who would be interested."

In fact, he said customers also are looking to cut through the garbage and will be more willing to read a well-written, informative newsletter featuring people and products they could do business with.

McKinnon said that a newsletter program builds awareness of one's company through consistent contact and maintains existing customer interest. With this kind of exposure the sales force is well armed to land new clients and stay in touch with existing customers.

"The process of putting together the newsletter is almost as easy as the customer response businesses are going to receive," McKinnon added.

He said businesses generate content for their own newsletter, both by writing articles, gathering material from outside sources and adding pictures or graphics. From there, he said, all the business need do is send the materials to GH Printing.

Not only is the information unique, he said, but each newsletter also can have a unique look with varying colors and graphics. McKinnon explained that GH can create a cost-effective newsletter by using two colors in a creative way. "When you pay for two colors, designers don't scrimp on the ink. They know their equipment can handle the coverage," he said.

For example, using red and blue on a page can mean also using shadings of both colors. One can accomplish this by using a screen to create a lighter version while layering the two darker colors over the lighter. The effect is dramatic and the cost stays within the budget.

McKinnon says GH Printing also offers tips on how to keep Web sites updated with information pulled straight from the newsletter.

"Web customers want timely, updated information and the companies who satisfy this hunger for information receive multiple returns to their site for their effort," McKinnon said. "Performing double duty, the articles in the newsletter can then be launched to the Web site."

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