Newsletters can be a very effective method of communicating with prospects, customers, and opinion influencers. However, to be an effective marketing strategy, there are several factors you must consider. Before sitting down at your computer to type out an article or calendar of events, have firm answers to the following:
1. Intent – What do you want your newsletter to do? Do you want it to educate, generate inquiries, build image, create positioning? List everything you want it to do.
2. Frequency – How often will you publish it? A minimum of quarterly gives you repeat exposure without the perception of overwhelming intrusion, though many centers find a monthly newsletter more effective for parents.
3. Format – What will your newsletter look like? Think about the number of pages, page size, graphic design, ink colors, photos or drawings, location of regular columns. Will it be a self-mailer, inserted in an envelope, handed out at the center, or an e-letter?
4. Title/Masthead – What will be the name of your newsletter? Make your masthead unique but consistent with the rest of your marketing materials. If you have regular columns, what will you call them that describes content and entices readers to linger there long enough to read it?
5. Content – What will be included in the content of your newsletter. Keep it simple and valuable to the recipient. Most of us already have too much to read. If you regularly give your recipients information of value in your newsletter (versus primarily advertising for your center), you will create what’s called “ready readership,” meaning a target of readers waiting for each new issue. That’s what you want, because it creates a positioning for you as the helpful, knowledgeable expert.