The Case For Developing a Client Newsletter - You've sown the seeds ... now reap the rewards!


By Paul Quinn, © 2002

Research by Harvard Business School shows that the probability of selling services to a prospective customer is 1 in 16, while the probability of selling services to a current customer is 1 in 2. Yet, despite statistics such as this, many agencies continue to spend a disproportionate amount of time on new business development, sometimes at the expense of servicing existing clients.

Client Newsletters offer an inexpensive, effective tool that agencies can use to help redress this imbalance and keep in touch with current or lapsed clients.

Below are eight compelling reasons why your agency should consider producing a client newsletter:

1. Improves brand recognition and keeps your agency's brand at the forefront of the client's mind.

2. Differentiates your agency from competitors and helps create the impression that, unlike your competitors, your agency truly understands your clients' needs.

3. Educates and informs clients about the range of different services you offer, helping to pre-sell these services to them.

4. Standardises sales and marketing messages.

5. Encourages client interaction and feedback to help you stay in touch with the issues that are important to them.

6. Stimulates client referrals. A client newsletter will often get forwarded on to each client's network prompting others to sign-up to receive their own subscription.

7. Reduces business costs. Research has shown that transacting with existing clients is both cheaper and less time consuming than trying to gain new business .

8. Expands agency reach because you are able to communicate with hundreds of decision-makers simultaneously.

However, realisation of these benefits does not come without careful planning and a commitment from senior management. Indeed, a poorly written client newsletter will do more harm than good to an agency's brand, hence it is important to avoid the following two problems that are responsible for many client newsletters failing:

1. We haven't got anything interesting to say

The focus must be to provide content that is relevant, useful and engaging. Articles that explain your new back office system or how Mary Sue has moved from Accounts to Payroll may be very interesting internally, but are rarely of genuine interest to clients. Therefore, you may have to look outside your organisation to find content that meets your client's needs and interests, and then reflect your understanding of these needs by writing relevant and engaging content.

2. Who should 'own' the client newsletter?

In the absence of an internal marketing team, internal newsletters are often written and co-ordinated by anyone from Receptionists to Office Managers. The problem with this approach is that quality is often compromised as producing the newsletter is just one of many jobs on their 'to do' list, and these staff members are rarely trained or experienced in the fundamentals of writing effective and engaging copy. To overcome this, try to find a person in your organisation who is genuinely interested in developing their writing and desktop publishing (or html) skills, or engage the services of a professional newsletter writer.

In short, client newsletters that avoid the pitfalls mentioned above offer many advantages to agencies that see value in building strong relationships with their existing client base. At a minimum, client newsletters are a cost effective way to keep your brand in front of existing clients, educate them on the range of services you provide, and help set your agency apart from the competition.

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