5. How (Big Should Your Newsletter Be)?  

How much do you want to pay, and how much do you want to say? These are the 2 questions that will dictate how many pages your newsletter will be. 

The most common sizes for newsletters are between 1 and 2 A4 pages, printed on both sides. The decision can appear as simple as writing the articles, choosing the photos, and then working out the size of the ads and coupons.  

But there’s a lot more to working out a size than most people think. Usually, it’s a case of ‘How much can we afford for the printing?’.  

The question really should be ‘How much do we want to make?’. If the newsletter is good enough, it should make you money – not drain your funds.  

If you don’t have a newsletter that you know works, you need to guess. You need to think about how many responses you need to ‘break-even’. That means, how many sales do you need to pay back the advertising cost.  

Here’s how you work it out …  

First, you need to work out your average profit. To do this, measure the amount of profit in each sale, every day for 3 days. Then, find the average. If you want to skip the hard work, estimate this figure.  

Next, get a few quotes on the cost of printing. Remember that the idea is to keep the costs as low as possible, so get as many quotes as you can. This of course won’t be such an issue if you decide to photocopy your newsletters or run them off on your own printer.  

Now, divide the production cost by your average profit. This will give you the number of sales you need to pay for the newsletters.  

Here’s an example …  

Let’s say a hairdresser makes about £15 profit from each haircut. They spend around £270 getting their newsletter printed. That means they need 18 new customers from their newsletters. Anything less and the newsletters are losing them money.  

Of course, it’s not a hard and fast rule that you must break even on every newsletter. In the case of the hairdresser, they’d probably be happy with 9 new loyal customers. After each customer has been in twice, they then become profitable.  

This is called lifetime value – the amount a customer spends with you over the course of their lifetime. In the case of a business with a high level of repeat business (hairdresser, restaurant, mechanic), it might be worth losing money the first time, just to gain a new customer. This customer may ultimately be worth thousands.  

If you get out of ‘break-even’ thinking and into ‘lifetime value’ mode, a whole new world of possibilities opens up. If you’re confident you’ll get these new customers back again, you can afford to offer something incredible and make a dead loss the first time they come in.  

Once you’ve established whether you have to break-even, or you can afford to rely on the lifetime value of the customer, you are then in a position to make a decision about size.  

6. How (Often To Run Your Newsletters)  

Quite simply, no less than once every 3 months. You see, what many people don’t realise is that if you’re not keeping in regular contact with your clients, they’re no longer your clients. Another company will soon come in and make them feel special. By keeping in contact with them on a regular basis, you’ll ensure that they remain loyal to you, and always keep you top of mind.  

If your only concern is the amount of time it takes to put your newsletter together, then you should get your team to share the work load. It might even be an idea to get them to be editors on a rotation basis, where once a year a different team member puts it all together. 

They would have to chase up the stories, and the pictures and put them all together. You would then simply have to put together the ads, look over what they’ve done and then get it outputted. This would be an effective way to take the burden off you, and still have the newsletter going out on a regular cycle.  

7. What (Else Do You Need To Think About)?  

Use this section as a final checklist – once you’re happy with your newsletter, run through and make sure you’re ready to get started. Here are a few things you may not have thought of …  

Production: Make sure you check everything before it goes to print. Ask for a ‘proof’ (finished copy) from the publication and check it thoroughly – don’t let anything go out with spelling mistakes or (and yes, it does happen), the wrong phone number.  

Phone Scripts: There’s hundreds of cases where a newsletter made the phone ring off the hook, but the business owner saw very few sales at the end of the day. It’s all to do with ‘conversion’ – that is, how many enquiries you turn into sales. You need a script – a version of what you say to encourage people to buy. Just think about the best sales lines you’ve ever used and compile them into one typed up script. Make sure you ask lots of ‘open-ended questions’ – that is, questions that start with who, what, where, why etc. Give a copy to every member of your team and make sure they USE it. And of course, make sure your team knows that a newsletter has been sent out and to EXPECT calls.  

Check Stock and Staff Levels: It’s unlikely your newsletter will bring in hundreds of people (very few actually do), but you need to be prepared for a sizable response. There would be nothing worse than running a successful newsletter and then running out of stock, or being too busy to service these new enquiries. Plan for the newsletter – and make sure you can cater for any increased demand.