All About Newsletters: Questions & Information

Answers and important information about the newsletter process and newsletters in general.

Rescue Your Marketing Budget

Print vs. Email - The Great Debate

Your Newsletter's Most Important Piece: Content 

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Newsletter

A Look Inside - Grapevine FAQs, Answers and Facts


Rescue Your Marketing Budget

Is your marketing budget feeling the pressure from cost-cutting and a tougher economy? There’s a simple solution to ease that stress: a professional, customized newsletter. This versatile marketing tool can help you:

Drive sales. The average consumer must be exposed to a product at least six to eight times before deciding to buy it. A newsletter puts your company in front of customers and prospects on a regular basis—boosting sales and strengthening brand and customer loyalty.

Introduce new products. A newsletter is a great vehicle for introducing new products and services—and it has a much longer shelf life than ads. Instead of being tossed in the trash, newsletters often enjoy long lives in reception areas, offices and even homes.

Build a better database. When people subscribe to your newsletter, they express interest in your company. These subscriber lists provide great leads for your sales team and help you build a valuable database.

Save money. Yes, a newsletter can actually save you money! With a customized, targeted publication, you can reduce your advertising expenses and market your company in an effective—and budget-friendly—way. That’s news we’re sure every marketing budget will be happy to hear.

Want Grapevine to help rescue your marketing budget? We have 24 years of experience producing customized newsletters that stand out from the crowd, build customer loyalty, increase sales and attract new business. Call us at 800-GVC-2269, ext. 3.

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Print vs. Email - The Great Debate

Both printed newsletters and eNewsletters (e-mailed/electronic newsletters) can be great tools for building relationships and delivering your message. But which is right for you? Consider these factors:

• Access.
For an email newsletter to be viable, your readers will need to have easy and frequent access to e-mail. In addition, you’ll need access to an accurate database of readers’ e-mail addresses.

• Shelf life. The great thing about an eNewsletter is that it can be delivered instantly. But it’s here today, gone tomorrow. Do you want your newsletter to be something that readers use as a reference, hold onto or share with others? Print is the better choice.

• Frequency. One of the advantages of eNewsletters is that savings on printing and mailing costs can allow you to communicate more frequently. To have the greatest impact, eNewsletters need to be sent more often than quarterly print newsletters.

• Reader preference. Just because your readers have email access doesn’t mean that they prefer an eNewsletter. The best way to find out what they want? Conduct a survey and ask them.

Remember, most people get only five or six pieces of print mail each day, vs. 60 or more emails.

Still can’t decide? A combination of the two mediums may be your answer. Whatever your choice, call on Grapevine to help you make your newsletter the best it can be.

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Your Newsletter's Most Important Piece: Content

Puzzled over how to create a successful, well-read newsletter? Don’t forget your publication’s most important piece: content.

It’s true that design plays a vital role in readability. But your newsletter also has to be worth reading. That means great content—stories that are compelling, easy to read, and most of all, useful and meaningful to your readers. While great design will catch your readers’ attention, it’s great content that will keep them coming back for more.

To create compelling content, define your audience and its needs, and then plan and write stories that speak to those needs. Ask yourself, “Who cares about this?” If your readers don’t, your newsletter will be missing its most important piece.

Need help solving the content puzzle for your newsletter? Call on Grapevine Communications at 800-GVC-2269.

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The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Newsletter

In today’s workplace, time and money are viewed as precious commodities, and there’s no doubt that companies value both. More and more businesses are looking at outsourcing as a viable option. From call centers to payroll to IT, outsourcing has an economical advantage: it saves you time and money. Grapevine Communications understands and embraces this principle. If you want a professional, quality newsletter without the hassle, count on us to be your outsource partner. Whether your company is currently considering the possibility of starting a newsletter or it has an established one, the question remains the same: Can our company afford to outsource? Now consider this, can your company afford not to?

Imagine this scenario, your car needs a tune-up but would you attempt to fix it yourself? Most likely, no. Why? You’d prefer to take it to an expert in order to have it fixed correctly and efficiently the first time, in turn saving you time, money and energy for the things you need to focus on. Now, apply the same principle to your company newsletter.

Let’s say your company made the decision to produce a newsletter in-house. First, you must assign someone to oversee the project, as well as writers and a designer. These positions can either be filled by your current personnel, whose work load will now increase, or your company can consider hiring new employees. Each scenario requires research, interviewing, additional payroll dollars, etc.—an equation that equals additional time and money. Similar to fixing your car, it’s just too overwhelming to manage on your own.

Now ask yourself, “Could I better benefit my company if so much of my time weren’t taken up with the newsletter?” Yes! The most efficient way to handle this is to outsource to a company which already has knowledge, experience and a proven system that can and will get the job done for about the same cost as hiring additional personnel. Think of the experts. Think Grapevine Communications. We make your newsletter our priority and provide the following:

• Expertise. With nearly two decades of newsletter publishing experience, and
a seasoned staff of marketing, design, writing and production professionals, Grapevine Communications is the best at what we do—newsletters! From start to finish, we can create your newsletter program and maintain it to give you the perfect marketing communications vehicle.

• Personal Service. We are proud of the level of personalized service we give our clients. We make every effort to anticipate your needs and implement systems and procedures to create a newsletter just for you.

• Convenience. Let us eliminate the headache and hassle of creating and producing your newsletter in-house. We can work with you to any degree you wish or work independently.

Please keep in mind, our quotes are usually not the highest, nor the lowest—falling somewhere in between—but our service and quality are unsurpassed. And, after you conduct true cost-analysis of newsletter productions, factoring in labor at an hourly rate, we may not be cheaper, but are almost always more cost-effective; delivering a higher quality product at a comparable cost.

Consider Grapevine Communications as your newsletter partner. We work with you every step of the way, and we take care of all of your newsletter’s details so you don’t have to worry. When you work with us you can take a deep breath and know that our team is your team.

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A Look Inside - Grapevine FAQs, Answers and Facts

What is Grapevine Communications’ competitive advantage?
Grapevine Communications is a turnkey newsletter publishing agency with nearly two decades of service to clients all over the world. Our key competitive advantage is our market-proven, step-by-step Better Newsletter™ system, which we developed to make sure your newsletter meets its strategic objectives and is delivered on time, every time.

How would Grapevine’s Better Newsletter™ system benefit our company?
Every step in the Better Newsletter™ system helps ensure that every issue of your newsletter is both timely and relevant to your readers. First, we work with you to define your newsletter’s intended audience and strategic objectives. After we have defined your reader and clarified your objectives, we work with you to formulate a list of Recurring Columns, or general article topics that will appear in your newsletter on a regular basis. This list of Recurring Columns provides specific direction about what information is newsworthy and appropriate for your newsletter.

How can Grapevine, as an outsider, write knowledgeably about our company and industry?
As a new client you will be assigned a Grapevine Project Manager and a Copywriter who will become familiar with your company and industry, as well as with your company’s Style Guides, Contributors and Recurring Columns. Your Grapevine Team will work with you to formulate a series of what we call Question Memos. Question Memos are a list of basic questions a writer asks a contact person when conducting research. For example, we might ask a person being profiled,“What are your three most important initiatives in the coming year?” We develop the Question Memos with your input to help ensure that the articles are substantive and accurate.

How will Grapevine coordinate the production of our newsletter?
This is the job of your Grapevine Project Manager who will develop your annual Production Schedule based on key events that regularly occur in your company and/or based on when you'd like each issue to deliver. This schedule will include all deadline dates for every step in the newsletter process. With each issue, your Project Manager will prepare a Production Memo for all Contributors, advising them of their deadline to submit article ideas. The Project Manager will follow up by telephone or e-mail with Contributors several days in advance of that deadline.

We’ve had a difficult time collecting information from Contributors in the past. How will Grapevine collect information from our Contributors?
From our many years of experience, Grapevine has identified the three primary reasons most Contributors do not submit information for their newsletters: First, they do not have sufficient notice; second, they are not clear about what information is appropriate or newsworthy; and third, they are not comfortable writing. The Production Memo, sent to Contributors two to three weeks in advance of their deadline along with a friendly reminder, helps ensure that Contributors receive sufficient notice. By attaching your customized list of Recurring Columns, Contributors are clear about what type of information is appropriate. By allowing Grapevine to research and write articles, your Contributors don’t have to worry about their writing skills.

How will we know that the information you collect from Contributors meets with our approval?
When all of the information has been received from field Contributors, your Grapevine Team formulates an Editorial Outline, which is a list of proposed articles and their newsletter page position.The Editorial Outline includes the article name, contact information, as well as suggested graphic elements (i.e., a photo or logo).

Who researches and writes our articles?
Upon your approval of the Editorial Outline, the Copywriter commences article research and writing which includes telephone interviews and Internet research. Once an initial draft of articles is complete, the Project Manager routes the draft to you for approval; the Project Manager may also route the article to that article’s contact person. All changes and corrections are incorporated into the draft, which is routed back to you for final approval.

What will our newsletter look like?
Concurrent with focusing the strategic content of your newsletter, we work with you to develop a publication name that has significance for your company and industry. We’ll ask about your company’s image to get a sense of what type of design will connect with your readers (i.e., clean and conservative, fun and energetic, etc.) and we will ask to see any marketing materials you already have. When your publication name is finalized we will then develop nameplates and design templates. Working with you, the final look of your newsletter will be determined well before we receive approved copy. Once we receive final approved copy, we prepare a layout of all newsletter pages, which comes to you as an Adobe® PDF file for review. We then incorporate your changes and corrections and provide a final proof for your approval before your newsletter is printed.

Who oversees the printing process?
After you sign off on the final layout the file is sent to our printer. Your Project Manager reviews a blueline/color Sherpa, imposition proof and a press proof prior to delivery. We can then coordinate fulfillment, or labeling and mailing of your newsletter for you.

What if we want to e-mail our newsletter?
The same step-by-step process applies. After you sign off on the final layout the file is uploaded to our server. Your Project Manager receives your e-mail database from you and views a sample e-mail of your newsletter prior to the launch date.

What if there is a problem?
Grapevine provides a superior level of service for our clients and do what is necessary to produce a great newsletter. We stand behind our product and are committed to achieving total client satisfaction with our service. We contact all of our clients after the delivery of every issue to ensure satisfaction with the final product (your newsletter) and the process.

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