The marketing newsletter -- an effective means of communicating with your customers and prospects, or victim of recycling container or the Delete key? Here are some tips to help you turn your newsletter into a more effective marketing tool.

Set objectives
What do you want the newsletter to accomplish? Inform your customers and prospects of new products? Serve as a value-added source of technical information? Help your customers more effectively use your products or services? Establish a limited number of objectives, then execute effectively.

Visual appeal
Use color, art, white space, and photographs to make your newsletter visually appealing. It should stand out among all the other communications your customers receive. It should be easy to read.

Reader-oriented content
Like your advertising, focus on the information needs of the reader. The newsletter will be read more thoroughly, and you will gain credibility and respect.

Keep it short
Most of your readers are inundated with messages every day. No one has time to read everything. If your objectives require lengthy articles, be sure that they provide substantial reward to the reader for taking the time to read them.

Distribute it regularly
Repetition reinforces your message, consistency enhances your reputation for reliability, regularity satisfies the reader's demand for information, and frequency supports your sales organization.

Adapt for the medium
Your printed and mailed version may not directly convert or adapt to your online version. Color's cheap on the Web, but 100K graphics chew up reader's valuable time.

Lighten up
Even the most technical newsletter should give the reader a brain break with a lighter anecdote or article.

Seek contributions
From your customers, from other company departments, from field sales. Involvement creates commitment and support. It even massages a few egos.

Proof, proof, proof
Typos and poor grammar cause breakdowns in communications and weaken company image.

With a strong commitment to excellence, your marketing newsletter can become one of the most effective tools in your communications arsenal. Use it wisely!

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