Newsletters are a versatile marketing tool. Not only can you use them to educate and keep in contact with current clients, you can also use them to turn prospects into clients. In order to do this successfully, though, you need to design your strategy to fit the needs of both your “warm” and “cold” prospects.
Warm prospects are individuals who know who you are. They could be referrals from existing clients, people who are in the same organizations as you, neighbors, or people with whom you have business contact. Everyone you meet or get to know should be on this list. Since these “warm” prospects know you, they are much more inclined to open any mail you send them.
The purpose in sending your newsletter to warm prospects is to turn them into clients. However, you need to remember to be patient – it may take a few months or even a year or two before they need your services. Because of this, you should not give up on these warm prospects after a few months, but should keep them on your mailing list for at least two years.
Cold prospects, on the other hand, are people who don’t know who you are. You send a mailing to these people and hope that some of them will contact you to show their interest. With these cold prospects, it is especially important to make sure that the newsletter invites them to show their interest – display your phone number prominently in several places, include a response card to mail back, etc.
It is important to be realistic in your expectations of these campaigns to cold prospects. Response rates of 10% to 20% are not impossible, although they are rare. The average response is about 1% to 2%. That may sound like a small number, but don’t rule out this method of marketing without careful consideration. If you spend $1,000 on a mailing to 1,000 people and you get a handful of clients, the revenue generated could very well make the campaign worthwhile.
One important element in the cold prospecting method is deciding who to target. Carefully analyze your current client base since this is where your expertise lies. You will have some very detailed information about your clients such as financial data, spending patterns, and demographic details. You may even belong to trade associations or other organizations of interest to this group. This will help you identify your target market and point you in the direction of where to find those individuals. Then you need to make sure that it is a worthwhile market to pursue. Consider the potential fees per client, your ability to attract new clients, and the potential to cross-sell services, as well as the number of clients you could gain from this market.
Once you have a focused target, you need to obtain a mailing list. There are many companies who sell mailing lists based on a wide variety of criteria, such as individuals with income over certain amounts, owners of certain cars, male or female heads of household, and business lists for every type of industry. Many trade publications contain advertisements from list companies. Often you rent a list for one-time-use only or must pay an additional fee to use the list for a defined period, such as a year.
The other way to find a mailing list is to compile the list yourself. Although it is a time-consuming task, there are many sources to pull from to assemble your list. For example:
- Membership lists of organizations
- New chamber of commerce member listings
- City directories
- Telephone directories
- Credit rating books
- College alumni listings
- Local newspapers – look for information on promotions, births, divorce notices, and large real estate transactions
Converting warm or cold prospects into clients is often not an easy task. However, using a personalized newsletter gives you a no-hassle way to keep your name in front of prospects, inform them about your services, and give them an opportunity to get in touch with you when they need your services. It may take time, but if you are consistent and focused in your efforts, your campaign is likely to pay off with a client base that is productive for you.