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Starting a Newsletter

I'm thinking about starting a newsletter. I'm in the manufactured housing industry and thought that sending out a newsletter to certain communities might help me get more leads.

On one hand it sounds like a good idea but on the other it sounds like a lot of work. Anybody have thoughts on this? - by WobblyBox
Newsletters can be a great way to keep your name in front of your target audience. IMO, focus on quality "Content." - by SalesCoach
...focus on quality "Content."
I agree, there's no point if it's not interesting to your target audience. - by Doc MC
I would say, "Quality, Consistency [in delivery], and Content" will be important. - by SalesPro
I would also keep it plain text. Apprently you can reach more people with text emails.

Cheers

Bald Dog, SMS Consulting Group - by Bald Dog
I would also keep it plain text. Apprently you can reach more people with text emails.
Why is that? - by Houston
Houston,

I reckon it happens because many people are worried about viruses and apparently the HTML structure can carry viruses. But actually, this is just guessing. I'm just doing what I have learnt from the web gurus. Since I started doing text only emails, I have fewer bounce-backs too. Now my email tool automatically converts my message to text, when the HTML is blocked, so I can get through either way. It's pretty sweet. - by Bald Dog
Is there any particular software anyone would recommend for creating a newsletter? - by Newbie
Is there any particular software anyone would recommend for creating a newsletter?
It's a sort of comprehensive internet marketing console. It includes the website builder part, the site manager part, stats and all the email marketing stuff both sequential autoresponder and newsletter broadcast.

Oh, and it's on server site, so I can access it from any corner of the universe.

But bear something in mind. It is a great tool, but since I both use it and sell it, I am biased. I just wanted to be upfront. - by Bald Dog
bald dog: I clicked your link, but will not take the time to read such a lengthy page (sorry). I'll take a look at your product if you put up a link that gives me a concise nutshell: benefits (features) and cost.

I have a slogan that is so important to me that I put it right on my business cards: "No Bull, Just Results." (I'm not implying you are full of bull, but am merely stating that I am a straight to point kind of person, so you'll need to put into that type of a format for me). - by RainMaker
Is there any particular software anyone would recommend for creating a newsletter?
Have you looked into Microsoft Publisher? - by Frankie
bald dog: I clicked your link, but will not take the time to read such a lengthy page (sorry). I'll take a look at your product if you put up a link that gives me a concise nutshell: benefits (features) and cost.

I have a slogan that is so important to me that I put it right on my business cards: "No Bull, Just Results." (I'm not implying you are full of bull, but am merely stating that I am a straight to point kind of person, so you'll need to put into that type of a format for me).
That's only fair, Rainmaker.

So, here is the deal. For a flat $50 a month you get a comprehensive tool, including
  • Server-based, so you can reach it from anywhere, giving you flexibility
  • A content manegement system
  • An email marketing module with sequential autoresponders and broadcast features. Emails are automatically go out both in HTML and text form, so everyone can receive it.
  • Unlimited databases (PHP and MySQL-based)
  • Link exchange programme
  • Stats
  • FTP
  • Multiple templates
  • Form generator
The system is being developed continuously and the updates are free.

Also, here is a video from the company that created the programme.
http://www.cms-content-management.com - by Bald Dog
Is there any particular software anyone would recommend for creating a newsletter?
I use 1shoppingcart for broadcasting my newsletter. It's the only system I have used so I have nothing to compare it to........but from my experience so far, it is simple to use and provides good stats.

There are different levels you can enter with the package, but if all you need is broadcasting and autoresponder functionality (which is what I use) the cost is $29/month.

Hope this helps.

Stephen - by Stephen
Wobbly,

I send a Real Estate Marketing newsletter every month. I don't think people want to read a really long newsletter. So, I include the summary of an issue or topic and then links to information on my site or to other sites that have additional information. That way, my subscribers get an overvew of a few topics every month, and if they're interested and have time, they have a place to go to get more information.


I found the easiest way to get the newsletter done without making it a full-time job is to keep my eyes open throughout the month. I keep a running list of topics and resources, and then its much easier to put the newsletter together.

Newbie, there are lots of vendors who do nothing but e-mail newsletters. You might want to check out Constant Contact, Intellicontact, Vertical Response. They vary in the level of pre-designed templates, etc. but in general they're pretty easy to use. And, if that is the only tool you need, they are relatively inexpensive. Most of them have free trials, so you could try a couple out.

Hope this helps,

Kathleen - by KSA-Mktg
Great information everyone. Thank You! - by WobblyBox
Lots of good things on your website bald dog, but the one title that people in the marketing biz is "Captain Obvious" as well as Tooters of their own horn. So much to read creates a venue for those who are looking to move on because it is too much work. Just my opinion. - by Ed Callais
Fair comment, Ed.



So much to read creates a venue for those who are looking to move on because it is too much work.




That's correct. Most people are seeking stuff that is quick, easy, popular, conventional, comfortable, convenient and cheap, and requires no work. Most people want to be spoonfed.



But what I've also found that smart buyers want to know as much as possible before making buying decisions and they don't mind reading.



The other reason for the long copy is that I don't want to be contacted for "more information". I put the "more information" out there, and smart buyers read whatever they want to read. If I'm about to pay $50,000 plus to a consultant, I'm willing to read a few hundred pages to aid my decision.



Also, if you give me a 500-page book on the top ten parenting mistakes fathers of teenage girls make, and I am the father of a teenage girl, I will read every single page back and forth several times.



All in all, if my message matches the problem of the readers, they will read it.



Worth recounting is the story of Max Hart (of Hart, Schaffner, & Marx) and his advertising manager, the late George L. Dyer. They were arguing about the validity of the long copy. To clinch the argument, Mr. Dyer said, “I’ll bet you $10 I can write a newspaper page of solid type and you’ll read every word of it.” Mr. Hart scoffed at the idea, “I don’t have to write a line of it to prove my point,” Mr. Dyer responded. “I’ll only tell you the headline. That would be… ‘This page is all about Max Hart!’”



Thoughts?



Cheers



Tom - by Bald Dog
“I’ll only tell you the headline. That would be… ‘This page is all about Max Hart!’”
Good point and great example. - by Agent Smith
Interesting perspective, BD. Have you taken my website effectiveness poll?

Everyone seems to have differing opinions on website content. I love to hear details from people who have found what clicks for their niche. I am still experimenting, myself. - by RainMaker
Good counterpoint. I guess I would want them to contact me, but that is me. - by Ed Callais
[quote=RainMaker]Interesting perspective, BD. Have you taken my website effectiveness poll?

I just have: It is a primary source of business. Prospects find it independently and convert to clients.

I also do offline promotion like speaking, PR and writing, but everything converges to the website and the website (the hype-free valuable information) converts them.

I believe in low graphics and lots of valuable content.

Cheers

BD - by Bald Dog
I just have: It is a primary source of business. Prospects find it independently and convert to clients.

I also do offline promotion like speaking, PR and writing, but everything converges to the website and the website (the hype-free valuable information) converts them.

I believe in low graphics and lots of valuable content.
You got my attention. It's all about results. Thanks for sharing. I'll take another look. I might follow up with a couple specific questions, if you don't mind. I remember the first time I saw your website I thought the opening line was a great hook--it got my attention. I believe I commented on it on another thread some time ago. - by RainMaker
The way I see it, using - again - military language, the content is the sharpshooter's bullet and the graphics is nothing more than fancy carving in the butt of the riffle. From the standpoint of hitting my target it is as useful as a barbershop on the steps of the guillotine and as effective as putting pimples one by one on the arse of an elephant. However hard I work I won't make a sausage of difference for the elephant. I only run the risk of being pooped on.

But remember, I don't know graphics. My ignorance for graphics is most probably greater than a parrot's ignorance for linguistics or the cow's ignorance for pasteurisation.

Thoughts?

BD - by Bald Dog
I think graphics for graphics sake is at best a waste of space, at worst a turn-off that makes me click away.

However, there are definitely times when graphics can add to or even replace copy and be very effective. A couple of examples that come to mind:
  • Use of a photo to convey/elicit emotion (think tv advertising)
  • Use of a graphic to explain a complex topic (a diagram of how the Internet works, for example)
Peace,
Terri Z - by Terri Zwierzynski
However, there are definitely times when graphics can add to or even replace copy and be very effective. A couple of examples that come to mind:
It can certainly add.

Replace it... That's always been my concern. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But which thousand?
Imagine a picture with a guy lying on an operating table, and next to it a doctor with a scalpel. Is the doctor preparing for surgery or autopsy? From the patient's perspective the difference is significant.

We may not know the answer for sure from a picture alone. Being a former embalmer, I can recognise the difference even in the preparation stage (tools used for autopsy are a touch more vicious-looking), but most people can't.

Thoughts?

Cheers

BD - by Bald Dog
Imagine a picture with a guy lying on an operating table, and next to it a doctor with a scalpel. Is the doctor preparing for surgery or autopsy? From the patient's perspective the difference is significant.

We may not know the answer for sure from a picture alone. Being a former embalmer, I can recognise the difference even in the preparation stage (tools used for autopsy are a touch more vicious-looking), but most people can't.

Thoughts?
My thoughts? That's kind of macabre!:eek:

We can philosophize all day about the use of graphics. What counts is a real, live website and how real, live (!) prospects respond to it. Use graphics intentionally and test the results. Tweak, and test again. That's how successful internet marketers do it!

Peace,
Terri Z - by Terri Zwierzynski
I began plastering my photo all over my marketing materials about a year ago. At first, I was a little uncomfortable about putting my picture on everything because I did not want to appear enamored with myself, but I decided to try it anyway.

Every month I get a newslettter from my daughter's school. There is always an update from the head of the PTA and her photo is always next to her comments. I realized over time, that I began to feel like I knew this lady--even though we had never met. I also noticed that there are 16 other pages to this newletter and I always remembered which comments came from her as opposed to other 15 pages that were more of a blurr.

I also noticed that once and a while I'd get an advertisement in the mail from a company that I did not recognize that would peak my interest, for whatever reason, but often never get around to following up on it. If months later, I got another ad that I immediately recognized as being from the same company (ususally due to some graphic that I remember--especially if it is humorous), I'd be much more likely to pull it out of the pile.

Perhaps this is more like branding, but I think by putting my photo on my ads, people think of me as a person with something to offer them as opposed to an impersonal company with yet another offer.

Of course, each company and their market is different. I noticed real estate agents were way ahead of the curve on this. They were the first that I noticed to start putting their photos on their business cards. - by RainMaker
I just wanted to mention that we used to receive a newsletter via snail mail from a real estate agent for years after buying our condo.

His relatively short newsletter was very effective with humour and historical interest pieces of the area he dealt with.

I also think we paid particular attention to it because we new him personally and he had a distinct presence in the community.

Anyway, his newsletter kept him top of mind in the years since we actually dealt with him. - by Ricardo
Sending newsletter is good way of directly communicating with your customers, but its hard to keep all those contacts and send them mails, if you do it manually - by mtajim
Sending newsletter is good way of directly communicating with your customers, but its hard to keep all those contacts and send them mails, if you do it manually

The response is delayed, but here it is MT.

Most newsletters are being emailed now. With the evolution of email marketing, especially in the new programs, it is so much easier to maintain your data base online then do individual emails. So, that said, remember to be personal in your newsletters - it is appreciated by your customer or future customers. Don't just tell them what you are doing, give them something that they can use as well - you will get thanks in return, trust me. - by Ed Callais
I have an online newsletter but for the truly qualified prospects who are most likely to become clients, I have a snail mail stay in touch system.

On the first of each month I send out an article relevant to this company's issue. These are third party articles written by other experts. I just send them out and don't even bother to ask for the sale. They usually ask me to work with them when they are ready.

It works pretty well. When I get a highly qualified lead, I make up 12 envelopes with 12 articles, and on the first of each month, one article is ready to go out. - by Bald Dog
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