You’ve probably read this statistic: It can take up to 17 touchpoints for a prospect to become aware of your product or service. In other words, you need as many as 17 interactions with a prospect at the top of the funnel before moving on to the nurturing phase.

At the other end of the spectrum, you need regular interactions with customers to sustain a positive experience. These touchpoints can also be used for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities but should focus primarily on retention.

That’s why newsletters are the bookends of any content marketing strategy. Done right, newsletters build brand awareness, subtly educate customers and prospects about your products and services, and serve as a regular, informative touchpoint with your existing base. They support your lead-generation activities at the top of the funnel and help build customer loyalty and satisfaction.

(Some marketing folks put newsletters in the “interest” phase of the funnel. They can work there as well, but I think that’s where you need to be using your more in-depth content such as educational webinars and whitepapers.)

Before we go any further, let me define what I think a newsletter should look like. It should have two or three meaty articles focused on issues and trends relevant to your audience. It can include company news, employee spotlights and a calendar of events, but the majority of the content should be educational rather than self-serving. Your newsletter should be clearly branded but shouldn’t look like an ad.

How should you deliver your newsletter — email or print? Email newsletters are certainly cost-efficient but “email overload” can limit their value. Also, email newsletters can seem somewhat “spammy” to prospects, although that risk diminishes significantly if you keep the content relevant and valuable.

Print newsletters are more expensive but also more impactful. They set your company apart. If cost prohibits you from publishing a print newsletter regularly (ideally monthly), you can combine a bimonthly or quarterly print piece with an email version that’s distributed in the other months.

Cooper Marketing Solutions got its start producing newsletters for IT solution providers, and many of our customers continue to believe in this marketing vehicle. ROI can be tricky to measure but the same can be said for many content marketing tactics. And there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that supports the value of newsletters. One of my customers told me that an important prospect was reading his company’s newsletter when he came in to close the deal.

Your content marketing strategy should include regular touchpoints with both top-of-the-funnel prospects and current customers. What better medium than a high-quality publication that you deliver directly to them?

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