Print Newsletter or Email Newsletter – What Should You Use?

Duking it out: When you’re trying to decide between a print or email newsletter, the idea of email is pretty seductive. Email is so much cheaper–and once you figure how to do it–faster than print, so why not just put all your news and information out electronically?

But this kind of thinking misses an important point. People relate to print and email communications differently. Each form of communication has it’s own strengths, and businesses need to understand how their customers relate to each form, as well as the consequences of using one form over another.

Benefits of Using Print Newsletters

These days, print newsletters have less competition for attention than electronic communications do. The average person gets between 20 and 50 emails a day, compared to 3 to 7 pieces of print mail. If the newsletter is from a trusted source, it tends to be appreciated in the same way a personal letter from a friend might.

A printed newsletter is something that people can carry around with them. Many real estate clients who give referrals say they just hand over their agent’s newsletter when a friend starts talking about buying a house. Others say they enjoy reading it while waiting to pick up the kids after school, or browsing it when they get the mail after getting home in the evening.

Studies have shown that people prefer to read multi-page documents in print rather than email. Print allows them to scan the information randomly and focus on what they want to read, vs. email which is fed to them linearly.

Print newsletters are perfect for increasing loyalty, because they tend to be seen as more personal.

Print newsletters help build credibility in your absence, because you can jam them full of articles on multiple topics with a variety of messages and unique ideas. When readers scan their print newsletter, they get a sense of depth, even if they don’t read everything.

Benefits of Using Email Newsletters

Email newsletters are all about speed and convenience, and of course, cost. However, cost should be only one factor in deciding between print and email.

Email works best when it’s confined to a short message or two, since that’s all most people will see anyway. This allows businesses to focus their client’s attention where they want it, and can be a useful marketing strategy. Contests, recipes, and single-idea articles are good examples of the kinds of things that work in email newsletters. Studies of blog digests (a week’s worth of blog titles rolled into one email and sent as a newsletter) show that only 1.2 articles on average are clicked through. However, blog digests might be useful in that they offer readers a choice.

Email allows a huge degree of interactivity. Clients can search for properties on real estate e-newsletters. Readers can click to read longer articles that wouldn’t fit in a normal print format. Contests and surveys can be done online.

What to Choose for Your Business — An Example

With the different benefits to each form of newsletter, you have to ask what kind of strategy will work best for your clients? Perhaps you know most of your clients already through an electronic medium. In that case, maybe they would prefer the short and sweet messages of email, or even Facebook communication. Or perhaps your clients are from all walks of life, and are less tuned into email on a daily basis…or you may not know if they’re tuned into email or not. For them, perhaps print mail will have better results for you in terms of referrals, repeat business, and new leads.

Here’s a true example of using the right newsletter medium for your clients:

Jenna Brown runs a real estate business through Windermere. “I had been sending a printed newsletter to my database for about four years, and I was getting about four money-making deals a year from it. I figure it was worth around $22,000 to me, based on my commissions. But one year I decided to switch to e-newsletters and save $1,200 bucks a year in mailing and printing costs. A few months after I switched, I ran into one of my past clients at the grocery store, and she asked me if I had gotten out of real estate. I said, ‘What? No! What gave you that idea?’ She said she hadn’t seen my newsletter recently and wondered if I had quit. I told her I was sending emails now instead of newsletters and she said, ‘Oh, my husband probably sees those and doesn’t tell me about them.’ I started sending my print newsletter again the next month.”

What is the right approach for you? Examine your clients and you’ll find the answer. Consider also that you can do both in order to reach a mixed client base. You can send a print newsletter to build credibility and loyalty. And you can send short, impactful messages via email.

About The Author

Linda Schneider

Linda Schneider, a real estate marketer, author, and agent. She thrives on helping agents make money using creative prospecting and real estate newsletters. Get her latest book, Door to Door Real Estate Prospecting on Amazon.com.

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