Retention tool
Photo credit: © Chernaev

By far, the most economical and efficient way to package “help-ful, insider information” is through a good, strong customer retention newsletter program.

You’ve heard me say it in the past and you’ll continue to hear me say it in the future. Why? Because it’s that important.

The best newsletter campaigns give customers rich, interesting information that is useful in helping them run their households safely and cost-efficiently. The best newsletters have information that is not solely about your field and your set of services! This is because you must — repeat must — retain customer interest. Jargon-laden, tech-heavy industry news will not do it. This is a tough pill to swallow but you must know this. Maintain a 70/30 split of “general interest” to “specific field interest” in your editorial balance.

Almost every amateur attempt gets this wrong. However, the worst newsletter is a cartoonish, jumbled bunch of offers or mess that screams advertising to anyone within five blocks. It quickly goes into the trash where it belongs.

Other dreadful newsletters harp endlessly about the company, the policy, the bloated self-impression, the oh-so-boring industry “news,” the new products, the blah-blah-blah that customers had better not be operating heavy machinery while reading. You can have articles of interest about the company but keep it at 10% to 15% of your total verbiage.

Customers will only read about what interests them. You cannot force this interest, so you may as well provide articles they already have an interest in.

A newsletter campaign brings your company name and logo right into your customers’ homes. It keeps them informed about new products and services, too, but does so in a way that shows the customer benefits therein.

When you produce your newsletter, make sure you print enough to give to customers and referrals as well. It’s that one extra thing that could make a difference in establishing or strengthening your selling relationships.

Imagine a first-time customer calling you. Your technician arrives on time, walks up to the homeowner and hands him a free newsletter and says, “Hi there. I’m here for your service and our company owner wanted you to have this.”

Is this a good first impression? I’d say so. Now the tech leaves, the problem is fixed, the bill is left behind — and so is this newslet-ter filled with money-saving, time-saving, interesting articles.

Does this increase the value of the visit? Do you stand out from any other contractor he’s had? I’d say so. This entire effort cost you about 50¢. Was it worth it? I’ll let you answer that.

Step it up a notch by adding the Web Factor. Adding a QR code, web address and/or social media icons with the standard “Like us here” or “Follow us there” can link your offline and online marketing. They are added benefits to your newsletters.

The QR codes should link to additional articles about home care, energy savings and even special offers. They also can increase website traffic, build search engine optimization and allow you to fit more quality content in your newsletter.

Anything that can drive customers to your site and potentially book an appointment is worth it, right?

It really is a win-win. The customer gets information on how to save money or improve his living standard and you get an appointment, a sale or even a referral. (That’s more like a win-win-win if you ask me.)


9 key reasons

  1. Keep your customers.Understandably, the essential goal of any customer retention program is to keep the customers you paid to get. Newsletters help build loyalties by making custom-ers feel included. They become part of your business, which makes them reluctant to leave.
  2. Enhance your image.Newsletters that are professionally designed and written will look and sound good while giving articles of genuine customer benefit. This is a great image tool for your company! You stand out from your competitors, which is exactly the point.
  3. Increase your sales.In the case of Hudson, Ink’s newslet-ters, each issue promotes your products and services. The whole newsletter is loaded with sales triggers and the back page is reserved for special offers on products, services, upsells and more.
  4. Get more referrals.Referrals are hard to get when you rely on memory (sending people to the Yellow Pages!) but because of your newsletter, customers can naturally refer you. Your name is in front of them more often and for longer than other media.
  5. Newsletter readers “stick.”Regular contact cements your relationships with customers, building partnerships and making them unswitchable. Isn’t that a nice change?
  6. Opens up opportunities for techs.You can use your extra copies as handouts to new customers.
  7. Cost-efficient alternative to one-on-one contact or no contact.Sure, you could call each customer yourself. You could send them junk they won’t read. Or you could do nothing at all and have them leave. The newsletter alternative quickly pays for itself and generates profit.
  8. Adds value to your services.Make getting the newsletter a prime benefit of using your services. Offer it as a free item in your ad or on your website to gather names!
  9. Lock down your niche.A newsletter with specialized con-tent locks in your expertise.

As we’ve seen, an investment in a well-designed retention mar-keting program can pay huge dividends in loyalty, upsells, resells, back-end sales and referrals.

Jay Conrad Levinson, creator of the world-known Guerilla Marketing concept, said a customer newsletter is perhaps the best Guerilla Marketing tool on the planet. Author of “Word-of-Mouth Marketing,” Jerry Wilson said keeping customers is simply a matter of regular communication. A customer newsletter can work wonders.

A side benefit is that your competition probably doesn’t do one, so you’ll stand out even more if you do!