It's News To You
As you've probably heard, the newsletter-publishing industry has been growing at a light-speed rate. Consider that Hudson's Subscription Newsletter Directory (The Newsletter Clearinghouse) listed an additional 864 new entries in 1996.
By now, you've probably also been told how your company should have a newsletter to seal business relationships, using a friendly medium with helpful information. Besides advertising and promotion, producing a newsletter is a great marketing strategy to help you stay in touch with long-distance clients, keep your company on their minds, and serve as a forum for announcing product or service innovations, staff additions, and other business milestones.
So, what are you waiting for? If you're anything like other new small-business owners, it's probably a question of being able to afford to print a glossy, four-color publication and hire a designer--not to mention mailing costs. However, don't feel obligated to spend a bundle on putting out a splashy newsletter with award-winning graphics; your main concern is to communicate with clients, which you can do affordably. Here are a few ways you can cut costs:
- Design your own. Today, there is a slew of software programs that come with ready-made newsletter templates, which easily allow you to drop in clip-art images and paste in your logo. Some word processing programs that you're likely already using, such as Microsoft Word, contain several newsletter layouts which you can edit to your taste. Desktop-publishing programs, such as Microsoft's Publisher '97 (for Windows 95; $79.95) and Corel's PrintHouse (for Windows 95; $29.95), are geared specifically for do-it-yourself newsletters, brochures, and other communications materials.
- Hire a student intern. Since most colleges across the country boast student work-placement programs, you can easily hire an intern who would probably welcome the opportunity to create your newsletter. Simply contact schools that have journalism, corporate-communications, graphic-design and/or desktop-publishing courses.
- Deliver it through e-mail. Mailing can prove to be costly, depending on the size and format of your newsletter. A cheaper way to go is to e-mail it to those clients who are online. Besides saving on postage, you can also save on production costs, since you don't have to worry about actual paper stock or printing.
- Fax it. Another option is to fax your newsletter, especially if it's four or fewer pages. If you're concerned about long-distance costs, you may want to use a computer program, such as Symantec's WinFax 8.0 (for Windows 95; $99), and set your faxing schedule for late-night delivery when calling rates are much cheaper.
- Find advertisers. If your newsletter-recipient list is large enough (from 100 to 1,000, or more), you may be able to entice some of your clients to place ads for their own companies in your newsletter. This gives those clients' businesses more visibility and an affordable way to advertise to a targeted audience, and allows you to generate extra revenue to help finance the next issue of your newsletter.
Finally, for tips on putting together a successful newsletter, you can refer to "Subscribe! Potent Newsletter Marketing Ideas to Help Gain New Subscribers and Retain Old Ones." Annual subscriptions are $39, or send for a free four-page sampler by sending a SASE to Page One, Subscribe! Sampler, P.O. Box 194, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-0194. --Angela Pirisi