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Newsletters Provide a Cost Effective Way to Communicate with Customers and Employees

written by: Michelle Strait•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 6/21/2011

Newsletters are often viewed as uninteresting, boring, and a waste of time. But that doesn't have to be the case. If done right, newsletters can be interesting, communicate key information, and pique a customer's interest.

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    Writing the Perfect Newsletter

    Everywhere you go, you hear negative comments about the economy. As more uncertainty flows, businesses continue to tighten their purse strings and look for ways to cut costs. One simple and effective way to save costs is to use newsletters to market to customers and communicate with employees.

    Newsletters are simple to create. You don't need a bunch of pages, and can include anything that you want. Newsletters are an effective way to communicate important news and events to coworkers and customers. Additionally, they are effective marketing tools. Using internal resources such as contributing writers, an email system and internal editor, newsletters are inexpensive to produce and distribute.

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    Newsletter Tips

    If you decide to use a newsletter in your organization, there are several key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, you must define the audience. An internal newsletter is written differently and covers different topics than a customer newsletter. For internal newsletters, article topics can range from company events and financial and organizational updates to HR related concerns. You would include topics that you wouldn't discuss with anyone outside of the company. Customer newsletter topics will be all together different. A customer newsletter covers things like product pricing promotions, new product releases and customer service tips.

    Regardless of the audience, the articles in the newsletter should include catchy titles so as to encourage people to read the newsletter. Many businesses make the mistake of producing boring newsletters that no one reads. Avoid this mistake by producing information your audience wants to read.

    The information in the newsletter must have relevance to the audience, topics with which they can relate. Now, consider how you will send the newsletter. Email is the fastest and cheapest way to distribute a newsletter. And, if you use email, you can personalize each newsletter by adding the recipient’s name. This is a nice touch that makes the recipient feel important, and inclines the reader to read the articles.

    Keep the newsletter subject matter light; add humor or personal anecdotes if the topics allow. If it gets too deep, you might lose readers and leave room for misinterpretation. The material in the newsletter should also have an easy to read format. Use bullets where possible, include subheadings and, if sent via email, include hyperlinks to webpages where additional details are available. For customer emails, it is essential that you allow the customer to opt out of receiving the newsletters. Simply providing a link at the bottom of the newsletter will do the trick. Finally, if you are looking to grow your reader base, include a link to encourage readers to forward the newsletter to their friends or colleagues.

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    Newsletter Preparation

    Now that you understand the basics, you have to decide what tool(s) to use to prepare your newsletter. There are a number of options available in the market today, ranging from simple to complex.

    Most desktop publishing software packages offer the ability to do a mail merge which saves a lot of time and allows for personalization. Additionally, many desktop publishing applications include templates to help you to set up your newsletter, making it very straightforward for even a novice to get started. Finally, you need to consider the format by which you will be distributing your final product - print, web or email. Many products include the ability to handle all three but it is a good idea to confirm. While you may not think you are ready for email newsletters, you may change your mind in the future.

    So, when selecting your desktop publishing tool, consider one of the following: Microsoft Publisher, JangoMail, News Publisher, Adobe PageMaker or Adobe InDesign. Each of these options has pros and cons and you need to consider which one best fits your needs. If none of those programs are appealing, you can always choose online software that makes formatting newsletters a snap. One such option is Verticle Response, which makes it easy to design and destribute your newsletter.