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Industry Commentary

Effective Newsletters Generate Leads

Newsletter content varies by reader, delivery

September 7, 2004


While sending a newsletter can be an effective marketing tool in generating mortgage leads, the content of your newsletter depends on who you send it to and how you send it.

What is the most effective marketing system for newsletters? The general answer to this question depends upon your objectives in distributing a newsletter. Are you interested in keeping in touch with clients or generating more business? I have always been partial to marketing solutions that employ maximum synergy. In other words, there is maximum effect for the energy expended.

So You Would Like to Mail?
Direct mail is the easiest way to utilize newsletter marketing. Unlike letters and offers -- the stalwarts of most marketing campaigns, they more likely to be read before they reach the round file. Also unlike letters and advertisements, they make solicitation, or asking for the business, a bit more difficult or indirect. A letter asks for the business. If well constructed, newsletter can uncover a need.

Determining to whom to mail these newsletters will be determined in large part by the following factors:

  1. Who are your primary and secondary targets? Don't forget to include previous customers!

  2. How automated is your mailing system?

  3. What is the content of the newsletter?

Do not assume that the content of all newsletters are appropriate for all targets. If your newsletter contains handy homeowner hints, it may be appropriate for your previous customers, but certainly not financial planners. What information would be of interest to which segments of your target groups?

Mailing too expensive? Try faxing or e-mail.
One way of cutting down on the expense of mailing is to fax the newsletter. Faxing is cheaper than mailing and also arrives immediately. WinFax and other broadcast fax programs make faxing to many locations a simple process. Faxes are also likely to be seen by other players within the same offices, increasing the marketing impact.

There are also downsides to faxing. For one, you must make sure that those to whom you are faxing have agreed to receive your newsletter. Otherwise you will be sure to face angry phone calls from those whose fax machines you have tied up. Faxing several copies to one office can intensify this reaction. The newsletter itself must be in a format that lends itself to faxing. Eight page full color spreads lose much translation through a fax machine.

E-mailing the newsletters enables you to reach each person individually -- at very little cost -- but the newsletter cannot contain graphics because the receiving machine may not have adaptable software. If you attach the newsletter with graphics -- the receiving person must have the same program to open the attachment. Viruses are typically spread by attachment so many are reticent to open attachments -- even if they know the sender. Many viruses appear to be sent from legitimate people you know -- and they are not because of their ability to capture address book information.

Therefore, E-mail newsletters must be simple, which usually means text only. Some people who do not read mail will peruse their e-mail (and vice-versa). The response to uninvited e-mails can be even stronger than the negative response to uninvited faxes, especially considering the publicity received regarding deadly viruses spread via this very medium. And today's anti-spam software is keyed on certain words such as mortgages, so you might wind up in the trash even if you know the person and they have agreed to receive your newsletters.

Personal Distribution
For some, delivering the newsletters as you make sales calls is still effective. How many times have you heard that the secret of selling is to focus upon value? Newsletters are a prime example of such value. If the newsletters can be designed to fit on one side of a page, they can be duplicated with product or service flyers on the reverse side. Combined production increases the probability that your flyers will be kept for a longer period of time. In other words -- if you are visiting your target, bring something of value that is interesting to them rather than a product flyer. Personal visits are a prerequisite to developing closer relationships. "Sales" is a relationship business and relationships are sustained by the delivery of value to the relationship.

Another question must be asked. Do you want to blanket the town with your newsletters, or would you like to keep the distribution list more exclusive? Blanket delivery would maximize your efforts with regard to name identification (in a positive mode). Keeping the distribution list more exclusive would enable you to raise the value of the newsletters.

Leveraging Newsletters
Whether you mail, fax or email your newsletters, your response is never likely to be more than the energy level expended. Shouldn't the goal of every marketing program be a result that is many times the energy of your efforts? True synergy is achieved when your effort level is a two and your response level is a four.

How do we leverage our newsletters? There are two possibilities that come to mind very prominently. The first involves public speaking. Take a look at your newsletter. Does it provide a topic that is really of interest to your clientele? If the topic is not suitable for a dynamic presentation to your target, is your newsletter really of value?

The second method of leverage is to republish the newsletter. This will be more feasible if you write your own stories or work with a newsletter service that understands this particular need. Perhaps your clients would like to republish articles for their clients. Associations and newspapers are also sources to publish your newsletter articles. Why not have your newsletter (or at least part of it) distributed to thousands for free?

Response Mechanisms
Name identification is an all-important goal with regard to long-term marketing objectives. However, it is not more important than motivating your targets to pick up the phone and call you. Devising a response mechanism with your newsletter is what will make the phone ring.

For example, we distributed a newsletter that focused upon using news releases. With this we distributed a sample news release, which was available to those who called our newsletter subscribers. Why write a newsletter without providing a response mechanism?

There is no doubt that a sales person could very well design a whole marketing campaign around the delivery of a great newsletter if it contained extremely salient information and utilized maximum synergy. This is not to say that one would choose to do just that -- but the methods discussed within are likely to be much more effective than mailing letters or for that matter using a newsletter system that is ineffective. Great marketing plans limit the number of marketing activities -- so that you can focus upon making the selected actions more effective.

Dave Hershman is a mortgage industry author and speaker -- with 8 books and hundreds of articles to his credit. He also heads OriginationPro.com Mortgage School. You can email Dave at [email protected].

click here for more articles by Dave Hershman

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