I'll admit even the word "Newsletter" makes me think of an older, perhaps bygone, era. In the digital age where news is a constant feed consumed in tweets, blog posts, and social sharing between friends I am tempted to view the good ol' fashioned newsletter as an irrelevant piece of media that no longer captures our attention any more.
But despite the changing landscape of how we consume information and news as well as the inundation of words that we are competing with to stand out above the crowd, a newsletter can be a powerful part of your marketing to new clients as well as your retention of valuable existing clients.
If you're tempted to ditch the newsletter, here are 3 reasons why you need to reconsider and add it back to your marketing arsenal.
1. Technology Is Changing
If you're responsible for maintaining your customer's IT environment, you know as well as anybody that new technology and changes to the way we interact with information is evolving at a rapid rate. Your customers don't have time to keep up with the latest advents in technology and make well-informed decisions day in and day out. That's what they hired you for!
But as a good MSP, you should be vetting what's out there and finding ways to solve problems for your customers by taking advantage of new technology when it's appropriate. One way to help your customers understand what's new, the risks of adopting something new, and the benefits of looking at new services is to educate them on a regular basis. That's where a newsletter (emailed but also printed on PAPER and mailed to your customers) can be a useful tool. In the right context, a newsletter can be well-received, especially if it contains educational resources that aren't heavy on the "geek speak" but are informative and useful. Empowering your customers with good information means you can guide them toward making intelligent decisions regarding technology. This gives them full buy-in and prevents them from taking the "You're the IT guy I trust you... take care of it" approach. A well-written newsletter can be a great mechanism for not only keeping customers well-informed, but solidifying your place as a subject matter expert in their lives.
2. Building Credibility with Potential Customers
I often use newsletters in my prospecting. As I've created a thoughtfully curated list of leads and potential customers I want to reach out to, I've also built a strategy that includes education as part of my process. Prospect-facing newsletters are carried out in a similar way as those directed at customers. Just as well-informed, empowered customers will see the value in your solution, so will the right prospects.
However, I also believe a newsletter can be used to build credibility with a potential customer. Good newsletters will have some info about your company, staff and who you are (proof that you're local and responsive). You can even include brief testimonials to bolster your trustworthiness. Also, the fact that your newsletter will be seen as truly informative rather than truly sales-y can be disarming to your audience in a good way! They'll interpret it as genuine concern for their IT environment, rather than a heavy handed sales brochure.
3. The Power of Touch
My market of Metro Atlanta Georgia is saturated with competing VARs and MSPs. Finding ways to be truly memorable requires creativity and tact. I've found that a newsletter serves this purpose in many ways. Not only is it another reason to "talk" to my customers by mailing them a physical newsletter on a monthly basis, but I often have a copy with me on a first sales call as a unique leave behind. Even if the potential customer decides to throw it away, it's a little more difficult to toss a printed out newsletter that appears to contain some very useful information without taking a least one look.
Plus I still believe a tactile interaction with your materials is more memorable than the many blog posts, newsfeeds and tweets that individual has interacted with throughout the day. Lastly, a paper copy of a newsletter can be shared and passed around the office in a way that is more memorable too. Just think... emails and social media can be deleted and forgotten but despite how digital our lives become, there is still something to be said for the items we physically interact with. I still find that my newsletters can be a way to stay above the noise if they are done with consistency and contain enriching content.
So even if you agree that this is a smart idea, writing a newsletter may still seem like a daunting task to take up each month.
My first tip for you is to start small. If you're not ready or do not have the resources to write a four page newsletter, print it out and deliver it, don't let that be a reason to delay nurturing your customers and leads on a regular basis. Even if you just start with one article that you wrote (or had written for you by some of the many outsourcing options that exist today) and send it out to your contacts this could go a long way in helping build a routine of meaningful interactions. The bigger point of a newsletter isn't to WOW everyone with your writing and earth-shattering discoveries. It's to stay involved, relevant, and valuable to your audience... your customers.
Use these white label tips in your next newsletter!