Effective Print Design in Newsletters

Make your next print promotion successful and accountable

Do It with Print Newsletters  Newsletters are a fantastic way to reach out to current and potential customers by offering relevant news and events about your industry or organization. While this WCD page compares print with digital newsletters, it covers print newsletters; see Warren's pro-and-con discussion and examples of digital e-newsletters.

Newsletters can contain informative articles and resources, opportunities, and advertisements while helping you connect with new or existing customers. Your newsletter will need one or more writers, a designer, and a mailing list.

Print newsletters stand out as being more successful than digital e-newsletters in terms of response rate. A good direct-mail print newsletter might generate a 3 percent to 5 percent response rate, whereas a good e-newsletter might get only a 0.5 percent response. Print newsletters simply have more influence.

Comparing the Two Types  Print newsletters have more influence but can only be sent periodically. They're more expensive to produce; however, they tend to generate a better response rate. They're portable, meaning they're more likely to make it to the "reading room." E-newsletters are cheaper to send and can be sent every day; but they are easy to ignore and tend to generate a lower response rate. When done right, both types provide a good overall return on investment.

So Which Is Better?  For most companies, churches, or organizations, the answer is both. Because each delivery medium has unique virtues, it's a good idea to take advantage of both print and e-newsletters by using them in tandem. Using both types builds powerful brand recognition. Your daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly e-newsletters supplement your periodic print newsletters, which in turn lend credibility to your e-newsletters by letting recipients know there's a real, grounded company behind them.

Newsletters are one of the most powerful ways to build lasting relationships with your customers. See the following examples of WCD print newsletters.

Print Newsletters

•  Click the thumbnail images to see entire newsletters.

Click to see entire newsletter.

Chapel in the Pines

Combining a custom vertical-text nameplate, a seasonal graphic image, color-coordinated text boxes, and a few photo thumbnails, Warren created an easy-to-read newsletter highlighting and promoting several of his church's newscasts, updates, and invitations.

Warren put two months of information on four pages; some pages use two columns, some use three.

Pages 2 and 3 have colored columns of news on the left or right; other pages have colored rows of text at the top or bottom.

Page 4 is divided into two halves: the top half includes two updates with photo images; the bottom half serves as the mailer.

Click to see entire newsletter.

Computer Diagnostician

Subscribers in the greater Arnold, California, community can learn from each quarterly issue of this two-page print newsletter how to proactively optimize their Windows computers.

Warren designed a front-page graphic that highlights the diagnostician's company name. The newsletter also has a left sidebar, two columns of text, a logo he created that also appears on the client's custom door hanger, and a summary of what each issue offers.

The back mailer page has similar styling, additional content, and room for postage and an address label for local subscribers. The client uses an e-newsletter version to communicate with those outside his community.

Click to see entire newsletter.

Home Repair and Remodeling

For 12 years, Warren designed, wrote, and published a 12-page print newsletter for his home-repair, home-remodeling, and real-estate clients. Produced quarterly and mailed to 4,000 or so Bay Area homeowner subscribers, his All-Points Bulletin newsletters were filled with informative how-to articles, remodeling industry news, legislative updates, tips and pointers, real-estate facts, home-inspection guidelines and recommendations, and more. See and read the final A-PB issue.

Using two text columns and a left or right sidebar, Warren laid out the pages to provide room for a three-hole-punch format that encouraged recipients to retain his company's print newsletters.

Subscribers found value in its four pages of advertisements (shown below).

Click to see entire page.

Newsletter Ad Revenue

To help make a newsletter profitable, ad sales can be a key source of income, as they were for Warren Camp's home-remodeling newsletter All-Points Bulletin (described above).

The Resource Guide — All-Points Bulletin's top income producer — enabled the publisher to earn steady revenue by leveraging subscriber relationships and content. In addition, A-PB's revenue streams included newsletter subscriptions, product sales, and lead generation.

Putting paid advertisements in a newsletter encourages advertisers to display current issues on their counters for customers. See page 2, page 3, and page 4 of the Resource Guide.

Click to see entire newsletter.

Stamp Collector Club

Clients decided on a monthly, four-page print newsletter to present club news to members and subscribers. Warren created a stylish nameplate to suit collectors of vintage items. He used one-, two-, or three-column layouts for articles; photos were placed in a variety of locations on pages.

His clients print each issue on their color copier using glossy 11 x 17, 24-pound paper.

The mailer page folds in half and complies with US Postal Service regulations. Images and text run down from the top of page 4 without interruption, making it easy to read.

here Warren Camp has extensive experience creating many types of high-quality business cards, posters, door hangers, postcards, bookmarks, newsletters, brochures, and so on. He enjoys designing and executing print advertising and marketing pieces. See many more of Warren's recent print design productions in the left column. Or see a number of his digital design creations.