Now that most people are living their lives on gadgets—whether it’s through a smart phone, a tablet or a laptop—you would surmise that people would prefer to get news about your organization through electronic means. And while there are some individuals who tend to respond better to electronic bulletins, a vast majority of people prefer to hear from their favorite associations and companies via traditional print media—the newsletter!
You do remember what a newsletter is, right?
When you want to make a real connection to someone, nothing takes the place of the full-color printed newsletter that arrives via the postal service. When you consider the costs for creating editorial content, visuals, production and postage, the newsletter remains a cost effective strategy that can often exceed the value of a digital magazine.
Hard Truths about Email—From a Personal Perspective
Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard from “experts” that digital is the future, but that’s not entirely true. In fact, now that every company resorts to some form of email blast to announce themselves, many people find it hard to stay on top of all that messaging and end up simply deleting it because it’s gotten difficult to figure what’s worth reading and what’s not. One of my closest friends told me she averages 25,000 emails in her IN box at any one time! When I asked her how she finds time to read them all, she admitted that she doesn’t and has her assistant “gut” her email once a quarter and ends up deleting 90% of her messages without reading them. Once you share your email with a company, you can end up with beaucoup messages in one day—one of my best friends joined the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) and in less than two weeks, he received 42 updates from them—that’s an average of 4 emails a day! Do you really want your company’s newsletter to get lost in that kind of traffic? Additionally, people often create filters to where your electronic newsletter can get automatically sent to a Junk folder, meaning it will never get read.
Many trade publications offer both a traditional and digital version and have found that while subscriptions may be down, a majority of readers tend to interact more with the printed version than the online one. While advertising sales may rely more heavily on the internet, studies show that readers may remember a print ad more because they tend to look through a publication more than once.
Why Printed Works Still Matter
When I asked my friend with the oversized email account what she does respond to—she admitted to always making time to respond to postal mail because she loves making time to read anything that lands on her actual desk. Her perspective is that if you’ve gone to the expense to send her a hard copy to either share information or request funding, she feels obligated to read it! And she’s not alone, research shows that the average reader may spend 15 to 20 minutes reading a printed magazine; you’re lucky if you get 5 minutes from a reader on the internet! One research firm—Nielsen Norman Group—surveyed people as to their preferred method of receiving updates from companies they were interested in and 90% preferred newsletters to social media.
Don’t get me wrong, you can truly leverage the Internet to get a message out to your base and electronic marketing can yield some great results. However, people do prefer the printed newsletter when it comes to hearing about a cause they support or an association where they have some affinity. People like the portability of a newsletter as you can take it with you and read it whenever you like. Newsletters maintain a healthy connection between your company and the reader. If a majority of your subscribers are senior executives, traditional letters are typically the only thing they’ll read as many of them rely on their executive assistants to respond to emails.
Printed newsletters allow you to showcase your accomplishments and share exciting news. You can communicate using text, photography, and graphic media. True, you can use all of this in a digital magazine, but there’s nothing so pleasing than holding a physical newsletter that’s well laid out for the page as opposed to having to think about whether or not someone will view your newsletter on a phone, a tablet or a desktop! Everyone can turn a page, but not everyone enjoys trying to figure out what icon will take them to the next page or scroll down to read the story.
You might think that the whole print versus electronic media issue is a generational one. Surprise! Roughly eight out of ten millennials prefer physical media when they want a connection to an organization or news that interests them. What that means is that the traditional newsletter is not obsolete, so don’t feel pressured by anyone telling you to convert your publications to solely being online if you still want people to read them!
Ready to start or print a newsletter?
If you’re considering a newsletter as part of your marketing mix for 2017 or you want to do some competitive research on how to save on costs for printing and postage for your existing newsletter, contact Multi Print Media today at our website or call us at 412 875-9004 and we’ll have one of our marketing staff let you know how to print your news so that it fits within your budget!