Posts Tagged Newsletter
Here at Orange Label the vote was close, but by majority rule we determined a winner. We challenge you to ask the question to yourself.
Let us know what you think here on our blog or on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to hear your fav!
Applied Imaging Thrives with New Services
In today’s rapidly changing economy where budgets often get pinched and industries demand change, finding a business that can adapt to those changes, has the capacity to expand, and still provide superior service to their customers is uncommon. Applied Imaging, Orange Label client since 2005, has had the opportunity to thrive during this tough economy as well as offer new services that enhance their superior product offerings.
Applied Imaging is an Office Technology dealer that provides Managed Print Services and Document Management located in Grand Rapids Michigan. Early in 2011, Applied Imaging will be officially launching the addition of a Managed IT Services division. In addition to their new services, Applied will also be expanding from the Western Michigan region into Detroit by the end of 2011. Their growth will be accompanied by the addition of a new and dynamic website, a landing page strategy, print marketing sales materials and a aggressive radio campaign. Orange Label Art + Advertising has strategically helped create all of the marketing initiatives to ensure the marketing messages are powerfully integrated.
It’s ironic that someone like me who is opposed to newsletters performs pro bono work by producing two newsletters a year for a non-profit organization called Friends of Golf. But let me start at the beginning and explain my relationship with newsletters.
The concept behind newsletters is extremely noble. You wish to provide valuable information to a particular constituency, usually a customer, client or prospect base. Additionally, you wish to reach out and “touch” your customer on a regular basis and newsletters seem like a good vehicle since you’re also positioning yourself as the source by providing information deemed relevant.
The problem with newsletters is they are hard work. The first one or two are easy. Everyone is behind the initiative and wants to participate and solidify those customer/client relationships. Your team will help build your distribution list, do some of the writing and take photos to spruce up the piece a bit. But after the second one, enthusiasm wanes. Your team is out of ideas. There’s been no apparent return on the investment, which in this case is their time and energy. Your team pretends they’re busy when they see you walking toward them. “Hey, I’d love to help Boss, but I’m working on the most important project in the firm’s history.”
Said another way, “Cut me some slack dude. I don’t plan to waste any more of my valuable time on your inane idea. Our customers don’t have the time to read it and even if they did, they could care less about the five people from accounting that worked the recent Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, Susie’s miniature schnauzer having six puppies and George winning Employee of the Month for his green Initiative. I mean limiting each employee to three toilet paper squares per day? I recently saw Phyllis trading a pack of cigarettes for two squares and Dwight was crouched outside the Men’s Room with a cardboard sign that read, ‘Will work for TP squares.’ Burt should win Employee of this Month since he’s been constipated for the past two weeks.”
Hopefully you’re beginning to understand my feelings toward newsletters. Now, a new form of communication has come along to rival newsletters and the initial excitement they create. It’s called blogging. Here’s how that works.
You’re the boss and you hire a Search Engine Optimization company. They need to justify the $20,000 per month retainer, so they recommend blogging and having all the employees take turns participating. Your employees get excited because they are now part of the marketing effort and have an opportunity to express themselves and be creative. However, they quickly realize that they didn’t have that much to express in the first place and if they could be creative on a consistent basis, they would be making a lot more than the cheesy wage you’re paying them.
So how do you produce newsletters and/or blogs that achieve the objectives stated previously? It’s simple. It’s called entertainment. It’s not enough to just mail something physically or electronically and feel good about the effort because you’ve communicated with your customer/client/prospect base. Something immediately going in the trash does not constitute a “touch” in the marketing world. You need to entertain your audience, not simply provide information that most will view as propaganda anyway.
A dozen years ago, the media sent out newsletters to keep advertisers informed on what was going on at their station or publication. The only one that didn’t get immediately tossed was one that always had a Rock ‘n Roll trivia contest. I couldn’t wait for that newsletter to show up and test my knowledge in that area. Plus, I didn’t stop after the quiz. I would actually read the articles around it and discover that the General Sales Manager’s daughter was a chip off the old block since she set the county record for most Girl Scout Cookies sold one year.
Since my Friends of Golf newsletter is used as a marketing tool to attract sponsors and prize donors, I leverage the famous people that are involved in the organization. Potential sponsors love the association and the chance to “rub elbows”, but I have to be careful since most of the celebrities don’t need or want additional publicity. So I came up with sections of the newsletter (and web site) that members can relate their Favorite FOG Memory. By doing this, I get stories from someone like Johnny Miller who says his favorite memory was meeting Carroll Shelby or Digger Phelps who says his favorite memory was having the opportunity to introduce his idol and longtime nemesis, John Wooden. I get two famous names for the price of one. Plus, when my readers discover that even heroes have heroes, it makes them real.
Readers like trivia sometimes more than hard core information or news. We’ll call this mindless entertainment since readers don’t always want to think. This past newsletter, called FOGhorn featured all the past Honorees since we‘re celebrating FOG’s 30th Anniversary. After giving a few facts about each one, I pointed out that combined they had won 106 Major golf championships and 21 were inducted into a Hall of Fame. Twenty were already in the World Golf Hall of Fame, while the legendary LA Times sportswriter, Jim Murray was in the Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
So the bottom line is if you really want to get serious about newsletters or blogs, you first need to entertain your constituency and soften them up before you inform them.
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