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JimLewis
01-03-2007, 02:40 PM
Any of you send out regular newsletters to your customers? I am talking about print, not email.

We're wanting to start sending out a newsletter quarterly to all of our current and former customers. I wanted some ideas from some of you who already do this. What's the easiest and most affordable way to send out a really nice, high-quality newsletter?

I don't want something that gets printed here on my computer printer. I am looking for something a little nicer than that.

Do you design it yourself? What program do you use? Do you have a template you work from? Where do you take it to get printed?

BSDeality
01-03-2007, 03:26 PM
I would be interested in this too. I've done e-newsletters with some success, but I would be willing to try print too. It would have to be divided by regions too, obviously the timing would be different for services in Maine and Florida.

As for printing I have a great printer locally. he runs a Minute Man press franchise. Their service is second to none. They do small runs all the way up to school district's papers, magazines, 4 color, etc.

JimLewis
01-03-2007, 04:24 PM
Yah, I typically use the minuteman press in our area too. They run a great shop. But I don't know if I'd use them for a newsletter. I was thinking Kinko's. But then again, if I am going to be sending out 500 or so of these things, maybe I should consider a going to a print shop.

SLC, LLC
01-03-2007, 04:38 PM
I send out a newsletter each month included with the monthly invoice. My customers love it. I had letterhead made up that everything gets printed on. All of the information I come up with on my own. Some months, I include information about reminders on tips around the house, or upcoming items to complete in the lawn, and then there are other months when I just fill the clients in on what we have been up to.

My advice is to make them yourself - it is a lot more personal and the clients appreciate that you took the time to write it. I have gotten quite a bit of service from the newsletter as I recommend things for that time of year.

Hope it works out for you.

Total.Lawn.Care
01-03-2007, 05:05 PM
I send out a newsletter each month included with the monthly invoice. My customers love it. I had letterhead made up that everything gets printed on. All of the information I come up with on my own. Some months, I include information about reminders on tips around the house, or upcoming items to complete in the lawn, and then there are other months when I just fill the clients in on what we have been up to.

My advice is to make them yourself - it is a lot more personal and the clients appreciate that you took the time to write it. I have gotten quite a bit of service from the newsletter as I recommend things for that time of year.

Hope it works out for you.

I have been thinking about this same sort of thing. I think putting recommendations for possible work in a newsletter is a great idea. It allows the HINT to go out to the customers in an indirect format. Comes across better than you asking and putting them on the spot to spend money.

StriperPro, do you only send them to your customers? What kind of response do you actually get. I guess I mean, how much extra work (% wise) do you get from them?

SLC, LLC
01-03-2007, 07:01 PM
I have been thinking about this same sort of thing. I think putting recommendations for possible work in a newsletter is a great idea. It allows the HINT to go out to the customers in an indirect format. Comes across better than you asking and putting them on the spot to spend money.

StriperPro, do you only send them to your customers? What kind of response do you actually get. I guess I mean, how much extra work (% wise) do you get from them?


TLC - I send the newsletters out to every client I have in my database. Some of the clients we have done work for only once or a handful ot times. And of course, I send them to every client that we maintain on a regular basis. We have gotten a great response from them. The thing I wanted to make sure I did was to make it personal. I try to get to know every client, know every thing about them, their hobbies, interests, etc., and then speak to them about these things when I see them. My clients want to know the same information about me. So sometimes, these newsletters involve stuff that I am doing outside of the mowing lawns and stuff like that.

I also word these newsletters in a format that is making note for them to do stuff around the house or to their lawn, but in return, they usually just tell me to do it. The way I look at it, for instance, say I get two aeration jobs out of newsletters for the entire year - I have more than paid for the few hundred stamps each month. I know it seems like a lot of money to spend on stamps, but for the most part I am sending out invoices with them anyways. I have had great response though!!!

yardmanlee
01-03-2007, 07:39 PM
did it last yr. and my clients loved them, we ms publisher and the to staples for copy they turned out really nice, I try to include some points about their lawn and tips on things that need to be coming up !! Sometimes in the spring I'll offer a discount on mulching if done by a certian date along w/ spring clean ups before my mowing gets going, also i 'll add something personal about me like the birth of my second son in may w/ a pic, this winter I'll be adding a pic of my helper that has been w/ me last season and offically introduce him he and what ever lucky sole I hire this spring will take care of my mowing so I can try to get some bidding and landscape jobs lined up, also plans to put up a green house this winter to start growing my own stuff might be added in this news letter (sorry for the long post )

JimLewis
01-03-2007, 11:33 PM
I am really looking to do something very similar to this one below (but with 4 pages total);


.

http://www.greathouse-landscape.com/images/GreathouseSummer061.jpg


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And I am pretty sure that's something that is beyond my capabilities with just MS Publisher.

Also, I don't send out invoices, so that's really not an option. It's something I'll have to send out quarterly, by itself.

Az Gardener
01-04-2007, 02:17 AM
I have been doing a monthly newsletter for going on 3 years now 1 page front and back, in color with a picture of a clients home on the cover every month.

I have a client in publishing and she commented it was the most professional looking newsletter she has seen. We are now using Corel Print House. I have chosen to educate rather than advertise with mine so I rarely promote new products or services and never offer any discounts.

Mostly I try and educate the client on what is going on in the garden each month. I really want them to understand what goes into producing the results and especially to let them know we have a plan. We are not just bumping around in their yard trimming what ever we decide to based on our mood for the day. I let them know about upcoming events that are related to gardening and the industry. I also have a greeting section where I just talk about whats going on in my life with the business and the family.

I try and strike a balance between being professional but also a family friend. I don't want it to seem like a gardening magazine thats too impersonal.

They get passed around a lot and I have had people I have never met say "Oh you are that Dave, I have read your newsletter."

It is a very good marketing tool. If you want to PM me your address I will mail you a couple of old ones.

Trinity Lawn Care, LLC
01-04-2007, 03:09 AM
Thought about it, but never did it. I do think that it is a great idea though!
Hey Jim, Thanks man you may have put a spark under my butt for us this year as well.

JimLewis
01-04-2007, 07:00 AM
No problem, man. You can pay me via Western Union. My username with them is "Sweet Cheeks".....Don't ask.... ;)

Turfdude
01-04-2007, 08:37 AM
Jim,

There is a company that does this type of newsletter you're speaking of already. If you still have the sample you posted, their information may be on that brochure. I think the company is called viewpoint, focus point or something along those lines. They usually send us a sample w/ up to 10 such "letters" per year. They are a little pricey, but then again, how much time do you really have to compose 4 letters/year, develop photos, typeset, proof, etc.. If I can locate their packet, I'll post back for you.

Az Gardener
01-04-2007, 12:10 PM
I have gotten a few PM's requesting copies of my newsletters, and I continue to get them. Unless you have Corel Print House they cannot be opened. If you want one you need to PM me with your mailing address.

Please limit your requests to those who might actually take action and are in a market that would support such an endeavor. It is quite a bit of work and unless you are going to plagiarize someone else's work you need to have enough horticulture knowledge to fill a newsletter on a regular basis.

As I read this it sounds arrogant, not my intent. Just trying make the best use of my time.