How To Increase Your Retail Business With A Store Newsletter

This report will explain the benefits and drawbacks of using a store newsletter to increase your business from past customers.

The relationship you have with your customer is the single greatest competitive advantage you can have. It is the thing you can offer that K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and Lowes can't offer. And its the main reason people will come back.

There are several ways to build on the relationship you have with your customers. You can do it through;

E-Mail blasts

A Store Credit Card

Loyalty Programs

Customer Newsletter

All of these methods can be used in concert. They all add to each others effectiveness.

E-Mail Blasts can be done for FREE. That is their big advantage. You can send E-Mails with offers to everyone that gives you their E-Mail address. People who make small purchases can be reached that way, cost effectively, because of the cost...which is nothing.

A Store Credit Card works wonders, especially if you have a selection of different products. It pulls the customer to make larger purchases more often.

Loyalty Programs work. They create a reward system that gives cash back (or store credit). It makes sense. But there is nothing personal in it. There is no sense of a relationship. A Customer Loyalty Program will actually enhance the results of a customer newsletter.

I subscribe to over $500 a month in Newsletter subscriptions & listen to Marketing gurus until my ears bleed. They disagree on much. But they all agree that a Customer Newsletter increases the bottom line.

But, to be successful, a Customer Newsletter must have three things;

It must be anticipated

It must be relevant to your customer

They must see it as a benefit, not a sales piece

Most Customer Newsletters fail.

Here's why;

They talk about us, not the customer.

They are as boring as dust

They aren't anticipated & read.

Nobody cares about the inner workings of a vacuum cleaner, or the proper PH of cleaning compounds...except us.

Nobody cares about your new line of toasters except you.

What do customers like?

What everyone likes.

What's featured in the most popular magazines in the world?

Trivia, Celebrity Birthdays, Puzzles, Consumer articles, Funny stories, Jokes, Cartoons, and tips to make their life easier. Keep it fun.

Make it monthly. Why? Because it will be anticipated. And if it generates a profit, why do it quarterly? Why wait?

Make it 8 pages. Why not 4? Or 6?

Because in 8 pages you can show more. There will be something for everyone. And the big reason is; you can mail an 8 page newsletter for the same postage as a 4 pager. There is even a little left to put a single sheet advertising flyer in the middle without increasing postage. Neat, Eh?

Now how exactly does a Customer Newsletter make you money?

Your customer sees your name at the heading of the newsletter. They know it's from you. You are now completely different from any competitor in your area.

They are reminded every month that you are thinking of them.

And remember, you have inserted an advertising flyer inside the newsletter. That's where the return comes from.

Your cost to print and mail should be less that a dollar a piece.

What do you have now? A reminder to your customers that you are here to serve, and are thinking of them....for less than $10 a year per customer. It doesn't get much better than that.

Who gets this Newsletter?

(read this carefully)

Not everyone. Don't send this to the person who came in & bought a pack of vacuum cleaner bags, or asked for directions. You will lose money.

Give it to your high end customers. Personally, I only send it to my customers who have spent (in one purchase) $279 or more. Why? Because these people have proven to me that they will buy from me & give me a decent amount of money.

I also only send these to my customers who I have sent Gift Certificates. The Gift Certificates help solidify the relationship with them. The Newsletter continues that relationship. You don't have to use the Gift Certificate program, but I do.

So far, we have had a $2 return for every $1 invested in this program. I anticipate that to go up to $3 return for every $1 invested. (including all costs).

Frankly, most Marketing programs I use, generate more than this. But this can be done almost automatically.

Here's how to make this successful:

Only send this to your higher end customers.

Use Bulk Rate postage. You can get a permit, but almost any printer will let you use theirs. You'll save about 40% on postage.

Make sure you include a sales flyer (single sheet) to generate profits. If you don't do this, I can't promise that this will be profitable.

Make the content fun.

Have " something for everyone" .

Have your printer keep your mailing list and do the mailing. It's cheaper and " mailing out newsletter" will get old really fast.

Make sure the header has your contact information

Watch the customers come in to buy more....again...and again...and again.

Here's how to guarantee that this DOES NOT Work;

Make it a " how to" newsletter about whatever it is that you do.

Mail to everyone regardless of how much they spend.

Do it sporadically.

Pay for First Class Postage

Just hand them out in your store.

Those are the things not to do.

Claude Whitacre is the author of the book The Unfair Advantage Small Business Advertising Manual. Claude speaks on small business advertising and retail marketing.

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