Left Bay’s Musings on the Media

Searching for answers in sales and marketing

Hard Copy Newsletter v. Electronic Newsletter

We were asked recently if was still valuable to send out a twice-yearly hard copy newsletter to a client’s 3,000 core customers at a cost of about $2500 per mailing. For the same amount of money, they could send out electronic newsletters at least every other month. The question: Should they dump the hard-copy newsletter?

Surprisingly to them, we suggested that they keep the hard-copy newsletter. The numbers seemed to bear it out. Though they hadn’t done a great job in tracking responses (something we have since fixed), we were able to see a strong spike in sales two weeks after each mailing. Their return on investment was actually better than that for their emailed newsletter. Why? There’s something credible about getting a printed piece. Like magazine advertising, it sits around on a desk longer than does email. And with all of us bombarded by emails, it’s almost refreshing to get a regular mailed paper newsletter.

Like any kind of promotion, hard-copy newsletters need to be constantly tested. Small variations in copy, color or design are all measurable. Compare the effectiveness to your electronic newsletters and blogs. But the key to gathering this information is tracking responses. Whether it’s over the phone or via email, be sure to have your staff always ask, “What made you contact us?” The data is invaluable.

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