The benefits of mailing customers a printed newsletter

There are many ways to promote your business or organization. One effective method that often gets overlooked is a newsletter.

What is a newsletter?

A newsletter is a written publication produced by your company. It features short articles that are relevant and valuable to your customer base.

Article topics could include company news; product or service news and updates; sales and promotions; industry news, insights, trends, opinions and advice; employee profiles, and more.

Whatever you publish it should be useful or of interest to your target audience.

What is the purpose of sending out a newsletter?

Producing and distributing a newsletter takes time and effort but it’s worth it. Why? Because there are many business benefits that come from it.

  • Build on existing relationships

On average, 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers according to Therefore, to continue to be successful, your company must remain top of mind and reinforce the value of its relationship with past and current customers.

Customers may not need the type of product or service you offer right now but down the road they will, and when they do, you’re more likely to be one of the companies they contact if you’re top of mind. Sending out a company newsletter on a regular basis is a terrific way to accomplish this.

  • Build your reputation as an expert. By writing and sharing insightful, helpful newsletter articles your company builds a reputation as a trusted expert.
  • Drive traffic to your website or social media. Within the articles you write you can encourage readers to visit your website for more information or to follow your company on your social media channels. This can be accomplished by including links if you’re sending out a digital newsletter or QR codes that can be scanned by a smartphone if you’re sending out a printed newsletter.

Why a printed newsletter is better than an email newsletter

In our digital world it would be natural to assume that you should be sending out your newsletter as an email but there are facts that say otherwise. When you consider them, you will realize that mailing out a printed newsletter will deliver the best return on investment, here are the reasons why:

  • Response rate. People’s inboxes are inundated with emails every day. It’s easy for company newsletters sent by email to get archived, overlooked, forgotten, or missed because they’ve ended up in a person’s spam folder. These are all reasons why the average response or open rate for emails is 0.5% to 1.6%.

With a printed newsletter sent by the United States Postal Service (USPS), delivery to the intended person’s mailbox is guaranteed. There’s less clutter in their mailbox vs. an email inbox so it’s more likely to be seen. It’s for these reasons that the average response or open rate for a printed newsletter is 3% to 5% — approximately 3X higher than email.

  • Longer shelf life. If someone does open an email newsletter, they may skim or quickly read it but when they’re done chances are they will delete it. A printed newsletter is a physical thing. If a recipient reads it and finds a specific article or piece of information valuable, the printed newsletter may remain on the corner of their desk for weeks and months. It may even be shown to a colleague.
  • Deliver richer, more valuable content. When an email newsletter has a lot of long copy, it’s probably not going to get read, especially if it’s viewed on a smartphone. In the digital world, people expect information to look easy to digest. If it’s not, readers will quickly move on.

With a printed newsletter, the expectation is different. Longer, more informative content is acceptable because a printed newsletter is viewed more like a newspaper or magazine. This is a plus for companies because it allows you to delve deeper into a topic and highlight your industry expertise or the features and benefits of your product or service.

  • Avoid online privacy barriers. With an email newsletter you can’t just send it to anyone. Online privacy protection laws require you to have permission from the recipient before you can email them your newsletter.

For a printed newsletter that will be delivered by USPS, permission from the recipient is not required.

How to create your newsletter

Whether you choose to write and design your printed newsletter internally or have an outside supplier do it for you, there are a few key steps you should keep in mind when developing your newsletter.

  1. How often? Determine how many times a year you will be mailing out your printed newsletter. If resources and budgets are tight, four times a year makes sense. If you have additional staff or funds, six times a year (i.e., every two months) is a good ratio.
  2. What’s your strategy? The last thing you want to do is to sit down and start writing and designing your company newsletter without having spent time deciding on your overall strategy for the piece. Ask yourself questions such as:
    1. What is the point of the newsletter? To educate? Inform? Entertain? Drive visits to your website? Social media sign ups? Etc.
    2. What are the article categories you’ll be covering off?
    3. What tone do you want the articles to have? i.e., Business-like? Friendly and personable? Etc.
    4. What will be the tone and feel of the newsletter’s design?
    5. Will you be incorporating photographs or graphics in your articles?
  3. What’s your budget? Once you’ve figured out what you would like your printed newsletter to include, you should create a rough layout of the pages. Then you can have your designer and printer provide you with a quote on what it will cost to produce what you have in mind. If the quotes come back to high, you will know that you need to scale back the amount of content and pages you had originally envisioned.

How to send out your newsletter

When it’s time to mail your printed newsletter you can address and stuff envelopes, affix the stamps, and mail each piece yourself.

If time and resources are not readily available an alternative to this manual mailing process is to use a batch mail service like the one offered by Switch online mail.

With Batch Mail by Switch you can send your printed newsletter to multiple recipients automatically.

The entire process — from uploading your newsletter, selecting your mailing list and mailing it out – can be done in 5 minutes or less.

Batch Mail by Switch also gives you the option of sending out your printed newsletter as First Class Mail or Certified Mail if you would like proof of delivery.

To use Batch Mail, just sign up for a free Switch online mail account. There is no subscription fee to use Switch, you just pay whenever you use it.

A printed newsletter is a better business decision

Sending an email newsletter to your clients may seem like the most efficient and cost-effective way to remain top of mind with clients until you consider that a printed newsletter…

  • has a higher probability of reaching its target
  • stands out better from the clutter
  • has a higher response/open rate
  • provides the opportunity to deliver richer industry expert content
  • and has a longer shelf life

In other words the business benefits and return on investment warrant changing your point of view and making a printed newsletter, delivered by the United States Postal Service, the priority.