Power of the Press
With customer newsletters, let readers get to know you on their own
Your passion and expertise with jewelry and gemstones are certainly your
strongest assets, but it's hard to communicate them during the few moments
a customer spends in your store. Some retailers send bimonthly or quarterly
newsletters to educate and establish personal bonds with their customers.
Unlike other direct mailings, newsletters address more than just in-store
events and new products. In fact, the idea is to make the newsletter less
promotional and more informational. Jewelers who use newsletters pack their
four or six pages by sharing interesting books or upcoming art exhibits,
addressing common customer concerns ("telephone ear syndrome"
or "pinchy" clip-on earrings), discussing favorite gemstones or
jewelry styles, and laying out seasonal color palettes. One three-generation
jeweler dedicates space to family news, while another retailer profiles
a different employee's career and hobbies in each issue.
Whether you write and lay out the publication in-house or hire someone to
do it, you must make a significant time or financial commitment to a newsletter.
Though her customers enjoyed reading her semiannual newsletters, Calla Gold
of Calla Gold Jewelry in Santa Barbara, CA, says she got better direct response
when she used production time to telephone customers and schedule appointments.
Newsletters Only, a newsletter publishing company in Seattle, WA, suggests
ways to make customer newsletters effective:
- Stories should have news "hooks" and offer readers information
they can't find elsewhere. Summarize trade magazine articles or report
news you hear in your travels, for instance.
- Introduce new products without directly asking for sales.
- Hire a professional designer to create a newsletter template (this
can cost $250-$600 for a one-time design).
- Use three-column formats and standard typefaces such as Times or Helvetica.
Readers generally like larger type (12 points) for the body text.
- Write with a simple, conversational tone. Pay strict attention to spelling
and grammar, and write short, catchy headlines. Pick a newsletter title
that's straightforward and serious.
- Use illustrations that are relevant to your story, and don't put boxes
around the art. When taking photographs, get a variety of poses and angles
and ask your subjects to make eye contact with the lens.
- Keep track of customer feedback, and publish a survey in one issue.
- Whether you produce the newsletter in-house or hire an outside firm,
budget eight hours of writing and production time per page.
by Stacey King
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.