Print Isn’t Dead! Delight Your Customers with Printed Newsletters

Retaining new customers feels a lot like maintaining a new relationship. If you’re dating someone new, you want to learn as much as possible about them. You want to find what makes them tick so you can build rapport and keep them coming back for more.

That learning period is like the data collection involved in digital marketing. You track how your subscribers join your list, what they click on, and how long they spend on each page. All in the name of understanding them and continuing to give them what they need.

There’s nothing more powerful than the right information at the right time. But, a simple romantic gesture – like a heartfelt letter – goes a long way.

Print content is rare these days. But it can still add a personal touch to your marketing correspondence. One that your customers will notice. If you’re struggling with retention, try putting your analytical mind on pause. Instead, try wooing your customers the old-fashioned way – with a printed newsletter.

But Doing Things Digitally Means You Can Measure Everything!

It’s pretty obvious that we love everything digital at Sapling. The benefits of digital marketing are manifold.

With digital marketing you get more analytical ammo than you could dream of. Even something as simple as an email can become a metric-collecting machine. This is not possible with older forms of media like print.

With click and dwell-time metrics, you can determine what content most engages your audience. It might be stunning photographs, tempting recipes, or fascinating factoids. And, of course, you can reach countless subscribers at the click of a button. No stamps or envelopes required!

There’s just one problem with email newsletters: everyone is using them. (If you’re not, be sure to download our top email marketing tips!).

You may feel a little jealous, but yours isn’t the only newsletter appearing in your customers’ inbox. So try standing out from the crowd. To climb even higher than the rest, supplement your email newsletter with a retro throwback… A real life, physically printed newsletter. On paper.

Printed Newsletters That Surprise and Delight

We love to work with thoughtful food brands that attract equally thoughtful customers.

These customers tend to focus more on values, ethics, artisanal quality or hand-crafted detail. They seek out ethical produce. Often they visit farmers markets. They feel the products in their hands, and appreciate its texture and aroma.

They’re exploring older, more labour-intensive forms of food production. They choose pickling, bread baking and brewing their own beer. You can bet they’re into analogue; vinyl records instead of mp3s or film photos instead of phone snaps. This appreciation extends to printed newsletters, that can be turned over in the hand. Just like a lovely farmers-market gourd.

But, printed newsletters take time and money to produce. They need paper, envelopes and stamps. They must be folded, stuffed, and stuck – a frustrating process. But it doesn’t have to be a burden. Consider including a printed letter in packages you’re already mailing out to customers.

This method works well for subscription-based services like veg boxes and meal kits. A single sheet of paper adds less than half a gram to your package weight. Slipping in a printed newsletter gives you a virtually free venue. Use it to share stories, recommend new products, and reiterate your brand message. Your customers will enjoy receiving a personalised, paper surprise along with their packages.

But What About the Environmental Aspect?

As an environmentally-conscious company, you may be wary of paper-based communication.

You can ease the environmental issues by using 100% post-consumer paper. Include a message that encourages your subscribers to recycle or reuse their letters.

If you market to families with kids, you can get extra creative with your reuse ideas. Try printing puzzles, cut-out paper dolls, or origami instructions on the reverse.

Even adults may decide to hang on to your newsletters if there’s something useful on them. Try recipes or calendar pages. You may even have some especially loyal fans who will cherish your newsletters as keepsakes of their favourite brand.

Three Examples of Great Printed Newsletters

Speaking of favourite brands, we’ve been keeping an eye on a few print trendsetters.

They’re far from being Luddites. These cutting-edge companies are all fluent in the intricacies of digital marketing. They use print as a way of pumping marketing power into their existing delivery chain.

#1 Farmdrop

If you’re looking for the quality of a farmer’s market with the convenience of Ocado, you’ve probably heard of Farmdrop. Farmdrop is an online grocer that connects ethical, organic producers with customers in a few major cities around the UK. They deliver produce in boxes designed to keep everything at optimal deliciousness. From fruit and veg to farm-fresh eggs.

Those boxes also happen to be the optimal vessel for a printed newsletter. Like the Farmdrop blog, their printed newsletter includes a well-rounded blend of topics. They include recipes, fun-fact “tidbits” and information about their products and suppliers. This carefully curated content complements the equally curated items on Farmdrop’s virtual shelves.

#2 Oddbox

Oddbox is a subscription fruit and veg box with a difference. The UK is teeming with produce delivery services but only Oddbox delivers “rescued” fruit and veg. That is, produce that doesn’t quite meet the supermarkets’ strict superficial standards.

These unfortunate rejects would normally become animal feed or join already-overloaded landfills. But Oddbox lets them reach their full potential in kitchens across London. The contents of an Oddbox depends on what produce needs rescuing each week. But each box also contains a simple, printed newsletter details what’s in the box, where it came from and why it was rescued.

Oddbox’s fun, quirky printed newsletter is a firm favourite among their subscribers. The recipes are especially useful as some of the produce is rarely found on the supermarket shelves – Kohlrabi, anyone?

#3 A Grape Night In

Kiki and Laura, the founders of A Grape Night In, are entrepreneurs overhauling the stuffy, traditional image of wine. Their wine shop and bar in Tooting Market is a taking the “ponce and fuss” out of wine.

They run a six-week course called The Grape School and offer a private event service alongside their popup kitchen.

In addition, they run a wine subscription service, cheekily named “Box Wine” which includes an especially creative printed newsletter. Each shipment of Box Wine comes with an issue of The Grape Times, a wonderful, pun-filled newsletter that looks like a real newspaper.

The design alone makes this printed newsletter worth collecting. Everything from the typefaces to the masthead resembles a classic, mid-century gazette. The Grape Times includes all the best parts of a newspaper. It has weather reports, crosswords and interesting articles. And cleverly, they’re all centered around the month’s chosen wines.

Despite this clear homage to print media, The Grape Times is far from an analog-only project. A prominently-displayed box directs readers to a webpage that only subscribers can access.

Long Live Print!

These fresh, exciting examples prove that print is far from dead. When used in partnership with digital media, print can edge your marketing strategy ahead of the crowd.

Sure, you can’t collect data with a printed newsletter. But there are other ways to learn about your subscribers. Include easy links to social media so readers can find you and engage when they get back online.

You can also really drive home the pre-digital theme. Share your mailing address and invite readers to write to you. Imagine receiving those handwritten, stamped letters from your devoted fans? Then you’ll see how meaningful this form of tangible correspondence can be.