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Newsletters Are Smart Marketing

Part 1: Choosing a Newsletter Format


A newsletter is one of the best ways to keep your name in front of the eyes of your clients, your associates, and others that may be in your target market. A newsletter allows you to show them that you are more than just someone who is looking for projects to work on. And a newsletter shows that you are willing to pass on information that will help them run their own businesses.

Think about how many newsletters you read each week or month. Do you enjoy getting and reading it? Do you find the articles and other information in the newsletter helpful? Do you know who or what company produces it? Of course you do!

Newsletter Formats

Newsletters can be produced in several formats. For businesses, the most economical and most readily acceptable newsletter formats are plain text emails, HTML emails, HTML page on your website, PDF, and print. Each newsletter format has its own advantages and disadvantages. (See the table below.)

Deciding which newsletter format to use and how frequently you publish your newsletter may be a process of trial and error. For instance our newsletter, Virtual TidBits, started as a monthly text only email. This only took about two hours a month to put together.

For creative types, plain text just didn't seem to be appealing enough. So we tried an HTML newsletter design. These newsletters turned out very visually appealing but seemed to take a long time to produce, about 4-5 hours each month.

But it still didn't seem to be exactly what our readers or we fully enjoyed reading. Our current newsletter format for Virtual TidBits is PDF and feedback has shown that everyone loves the new format. It does take quite a bit of time to produce but, when you enjoy being creative, it doesn't seem all that bad. We use MS Publisher to design the newsletter and then convert that to PDF. If you have the full version of Adobe, you can choose to distill it or print to file. Distilling it leaves the hyperlinks in place while printing it to file will require that you go into the newsletter in Adobe and re-insert the hyperlinks.

If you do not have the full version of Adobe to accomplish this, you can choose to use one of the many PDF printer drivers that are on the market today, such as EasyPDF, PDFZone, and Win2PDF. (I used this one before getting the full Adobe and was very happy with the results). The only drawback of some of these printer drivers is that some of them (if not all) do not allow for hyperlinks to be active.

In Part 2 of "Newsletters Are Smart Marketing", Janice Byer looks at what to include as newsletter content, where to find the content, and how to promote your newsletter. Click to continue reading.

Newsletter Format Pros and Cons

Plain Text Emaileasy to formatLimited to text only

Can't include graphics or fancy formatting

Costs only your time
HTML EmailVisually appealingRestricted in size
Costs only your timeCan only be fully viewed while reader is online

Allows for creativeness
HTML Web PageEndless possibilities for designTakes time to design
Room for lots of content & graphicsReader has to be online to view

Can be as big as you like

Don't need to send as email attachment

Costs only your time
PDFEndless possibilities for designThe larger the format, the longer to produce

Room for lots of content & graphicsNeed to have the full version of Adobe to produce or a PDF printer driver

Can be as big as you like

Can send only a text email with a link to the page

Readers can save to their computer and read at their leisure

Costs only your time
PrintEndless possibilities for designCostly to print and mail

Room for lots of content & graphics

Can be as big as you like

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