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Topic: Newsletters
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Dec 18, 2018 11:07AM)
I am curious how many here are still using newsletters as part of their marketing? Then, if so, which format are you using - hard copy or digital/e-format? Anyone willing to share this info?
Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Dec 19, 2018 03:35PM)
I will say I "receive" a physical newsletter from Brad Ross.

Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Dec 19, 2018 07:53PM)
Yes, many get Brad's physical newsletter each month which is very nice. I'm doing a bit of research just to see what people do in their business, what people prefer personally (physical or digital), and as a marketing tool, if which they feel they are getting better results for them (of course each of our mileages may vary), and is it is still effective for them? Yes, I know Brad swears by his.

A lot has changed over the years with current tech and trends however for many newsletters are one of those things that long prevails regardless of trends and tech as do many staples in our business (whether we like it or not). There is one newsletter (not entertainment-based) that still comes each month in the mail with a CD and I've been subscribing to it for close to 30 years now. At one point he changed it to a pdf and audio mp3, but he received so many complaints about it he went back to the old format after about four months.

Thanks for your thoughts Oscar999.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Dec 20, 2018 07:01AM)
I don't send a newsletter. A writer friend of mine swears by them.

I realized some time ago that I deleted more newsletters than I ever read and started unsubscribing to most of them. Hard copy newsletters just seem wasteful to me. Just my opinion.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 20, 2018 08:57AM)
It is easier for me to delete a digital copy than to throw out the physical copy so digital is my preference.

It is also better for the environment. So I would go digital.
Message: Posted by: imgic (Dec 21, 2018 03:23PM)
There's a few sites I follow that I get reminders/updates about new blog postings, but not a "newsletter." I like it as I can click and see if I'm interested in anything.
Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Dec 28, 2018 11:10AM)
I feel a little guilty since Mindpro thanked me for my thoughts although I didn't really provide any.

So, here they are:

I like to receive physical newsletters, but the only magic one I get is from Brad Ross and it's really pretty good. Yes, there's a lot of hype about his upcoming events for magicians, but he also includes an article of value for magicians as well.

In my day job alter-ego, I work as a copywriter or sales and marketing writer, selling programs that help individual investors become more successful. The firm is quite successful and all of our business is done online (well, most anyway, we do have a customer service department that fields calls, answers questions and completes sales for less tech-savvy customers). We have a blog/newsletter and depending on your subscription level, send out a ton of content every week.

I don't know which is better, physical or digital, but I do know from experience that digital is very effective.

@Mindpro: You're a professional who has graced us with a lot of super good advice on this forum, which are you currently using in your business?

Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Dec 28, 2018 05:23PM)
Oscar, thanks for your comments. I agree with you about Brad Ross' physical newsletter although it seems sometimes he doesn't follow his own 80/20 rule of content, lol. I wish he wasn't so concentrated on being a guru (he is highly influenced by the online marketing community of gurus) and would just stick to the valuable information others seek. I am happy he is a highly-motivated person and focuses on other things outside of business, but it does seem that while he believes he is sharing his experiences, it is often not sought or wanted info to his readers. For example, lately, the fitness, weight-loss, bodybuilding groove he is into (good for him) strays off what his core topic and expectations are from his audience (my belief and also from others I've discussed it with).

It is a nice physical newsletter and because his products and events are high-ticket (priced) I can see how he justifies the expense. I do like many of his views on entertainment business as we share many of the same perspectives and I greatly respect him and would love sometime to work with him on a project. He does often speak from his own experiences rather than an all-encompassing perspective that he may not have experience with, but knowledge of.

I agree that digital can be quite effective. I guess the difference really comes down to the perceived value of a glossy, physical hardcopy, received in the mail vs. the digital version in your email inbox. In actuality, the content is/can be the same, so it then becomes a matter of perceived value and preferred format.

I rarely discuss my own preferences as I mostly speak from the perspective of a coach, mentor, consultant, and trainer or from the industry positions I have held, from which I try to leave my personal perspectives out of it, again unless specifically asked.

However, since you asked, here's my personal take. I would likely at first thought say I like digital versions, however, I can't stand how many format their digital versions. Many like to put a teaser description text and an immediate link(s) to videos, which I have to click through to get the goods. I despise this. Same for posts here, email updates from those of which I've subscribed to, and of course these newsletters. I simply do not want to have to do more work, open new windows for a video (worse yet have it open in the same window and then I have to go back to find the newsletter) and in the videos I do not enjoy the lengthy setups to get to the actual information on most videos. I would rather have the full text providing the desired information and THEN perhaps at the end a link to a video IF I choose to want to see it (more as an accompaniment). But to make me have to view a video to get the info bothers me greatly. I simply do not have the time to watch any more videos in my life unless it is something I really want to see which is rare. I understand some are more visual learners, but at least this method satisfies both types of learners.

A physical newsletter is more text-based, so I prefer it in this context but I then have to save it and file or put it somewhere which takes up space. Unlike others I regularly re-visit newsletters and info content received that I have opted into as part of my coaching and staying up on other's content as often my students and consulting clients will ask me my opinions on other's content, whether newsletters, books, courses, trainings, lecture notes, etc.

So if the digital format was more to my liking I would say digital, but since it is not, I enjoy either. One of my favorites that I have been getting for about 20 years ($39 a month subscription newsletter, non-entertainment related) is a physical (non-fancy, non-gloss as all the gurus will tell you is required or at least strongly suggested) front and back text on a folded 11x17" sheet (inside and out) and an accompanying audio CD each month. It is the most effective newsletter and audio program I have ever received yet is exactly opposite from what the know-it-alls will tell you works best or is most effective.

To me, it is more about the actual content provided, even if basic looking with misspelled words, editing, etc. I can see beyond this but again, most do not and will get hung up on this.

As for my entertainment businesses and agencies, I do digital each month to my business clients. In 2019 I will be premiering two new subscription-based monthly newsletters (one for entertainment business/entertainers and one for more general business/entrepreneurs that have been using my entertainment content and having great success applying it to general business). These will be $97 for the first year and will be digital newsletters and an audio mp3 each month.

My original question was if people were still using newsletters (either format) for marketing still? I wasn't really asking for my own projects but more for staying up on the non-online (vs. online) marketing methods that were still working and being used. Also, I did some research on the physical vs. digital issue several years ago and I wanted to see if views and preferences had shifted or changed since my last research into this.

So much of this depends on the markets you serve, the age and positions of the recipients, consumer or professional market preferences, and so much more. We must know our markets and targets and what they prefer in any type of marketing. So me asking here was just trying to get a local perspective from our community.
Message: Posted by: MikeClay (Dec 31, 2018 01:50PM)
From what I have seen across multiple markets people are not using them as much but they should be..
I see 8fig a month companies using them and rocking it, while smaller companies have gone away from it due to the time needed to do it right.

I am actually launching a Digital Marketing monthly Magazine (Digital, cause I cant find good pricing to print, would love to have a print version)
My goal on that is to break even cause it can be a huge marketing tool.
Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Jan 2, 2019 10:01AM)
One point I'll make about online digital content, in my opinion, most of what you get is just something slapped together to keep someone's name in "top of mind awareness."

I "could" name names in the magic community that send out daily or otherwise frequent communications that really have very little value beyond name recognition. I won't name names, that would be rude, but I've received my share of content-less emails amounting to little more than the telemarketer, simply "checking in," to see if you need anything.

Nobody keeps those for reference later.

I know how hard it is to produce valuable content on a consistent basis - our firm has full-time staff members that double as market analysts and article writers. I can only imagine the pressure to produce quality content for a one-man/person operation.

However, piggybacking on what MikeClay said about large companies successfully cranking it out, that's practically the kind of effort and resources it takes to produce consistently. It's a real challenge for individuals to match that kind of effort and ultimate results.

Not to mention the actual production itself ... someone needs to write ... someone needs to edit/proof ... someone needs to set it, code it, design and lay it out - and schedule it for distribution. Which of course, means you need to have a list and all the maintenance that goes into maintaining it.

When the online marketing gurus talk about running an online business, they make it sound like you can accomplish everything with off-the-shelf done-for-you programs from a smart phone. That's not been my experience, at least not in the places I've actually worked for that made money. It's a business like anything else, just as challenging and difficult - it just happens to be run online.

I think (again this in only my opinion) successful online marketers are not choosing online over paper for convenience or the perception of saving expenses ... but because that is where their customers are. And these days, one of the best ways to reach someone is online. It's not easier or cheaper just more efficient.

Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 2, 2019 10:27AM)
I agree with much of what you said. So much of today's methods and approaches comes from the online marketing gurus which have basically adapted many telemarketers longtime approaches revised for the online world.

I cringe at every "business" or "marketing" course for magicians (because after all, that's all they need) as they are all rehashed online guru babble packaged for magicians.

Yes, I agree, there are many here in this very forum that do exactly as you say and they seem to have no idea how it can also create a negative perception against them and their business.

Gone are the days of having an inspirational (or feel food) word or thought for the day being delivered to your inbox as welcomed. That method too is essentially non-effective compared to being more accepted decades ago.

There is not one person I can think of that I would want to hear from every day or even every other day even IF (and believe me they don't) they provided top-notch, fantastic content that I wanted.

Top of mind awareness has been taken way out of content to suit the needs and style of the gurus and then is usually taken out of context again when received by the performer or magician. It has been so far removed from its initial concept and content that it only remains similar in name only.

The same holds true for customers. I have some that have reached the 30+ year mark this year and several dozens in the 28 and 29-year mark, and believe me, I know these people and our relationships well - and none of them want to hear from me that regularly. You literally can do more damage than good and it can/does work against you. Plus in reality there are many better ways to create real TOMA than constant online blasting.

To me this is a great example of operating from the "me" perspective, not necessarily from the client's true perspectives. Or from the perspective of what is most effective.

You are also correct in that most couldn't provide regular, good useful content to save their soul. For me, there is nothing worse than when I visit someone's blog, or even worse yet a performers "Upcoming Events/Dates" page and it hasn't been updated or had any activity in months or years. TAKE IT DOWN! It is working against you. Now if they can't even produce a regular blog entry, how can they really think they can provide good useful regular content? They also miss how in these cases much of their own efforts will be in vain if they even had a chance of working partially at all.

You've offered some great perspectives from someone in the information-creation world.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 2, 2019 11:13AM)
Here is the problem with newsletters as I see it.

Out of necessity you must send out one size fits all letters and content. Unless you are somehow creating original content for each person they simply are cookie cutter no matter HOW you disguise it. I don't care what the guru's say.

So now you have to somehow create content that they ALL want to see REGULARLY. Monthly is a tough nut to crack. Weekly is really rough and daily is almost impossible. So all you are doing is getting yourself to the pain in the but level. You simply can not create enough content to please EVERYONE. In which case you are working against yourself! Not a good thing. It is counter intuitive but it is true.

As for blogs and vlogs yea same thing. Everyone starts out with such vigor. Putting out content so regularly and then they lose steam. Then it is less and less. Then none for years. It just shows exactly the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.

So I don't want to dump on anyone for newsletters. If they work for you then great. I am not trying to tell anyone how they should keep in touch with former clients. It is a very personal thing and if it works for you then cool. I NEVER read them. I simply hate being sold to. Plus if I had to spend the few minutes a day it takes to read every piece of spam email (Which in reality those really are.) that I get from every source then I would have an 8 hour day filled with nothing but reading junk mail. It is not only about them reading your email, it is about all the others that your email gets lumped in with.

And then we get to the next problem. If they start to associate your emails or letters with the dozens probably hundreds of others they will get then it is a bad thing. They will simply dump yours by association.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 2, 2019 11:45AM)
Exactly what I meant by being less effective.

Let me ask you all a serious question. When was the last time (and from whom) that you received an email with good useful content that didn't come with an offer, a call to action, or some other ultimate task or purpose? An email with good, useful practical content for the single and sole purpose of helping you and your business with unique content?

It doesn't happen anymore. Again, the gurus show you how to use "email marketing" to get you to opt-in, visit a website, watch this video, signup for this, register for that - otherwise, you would never hear anything from these guys. Think Kennedy, Tracy, Friedman, Charach, or any others you can think of in magic or out of magic - how often do you get an email with no strings or purpose attached? They all have so screwed up the potential of emailing potential making it as truly less-effective, As Danny said, yours is getting lumped in with all the others "wanting something" under the disguise of providing content.

Now I feel newsletters that are known to provide good, useful content without strings attached can be something they actually do look forward to if done in the right (on-guru) format. The goal is to create a newsletter that they truly want to receive and truly look forward to. In my experience, this is one of the benefits of quality subscription newsletters.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 2, 2019 12:34PM)
I once got a newsletter from a guy who was just oh so happy he was working in Cancun. Want to guess who sent him there? So now what does this do to further our relationship or make me feel special like this newsletter was sent to me?

Further does anyone really care that he is in Cancun?

Also I should say that with the proliferation of Facebook newsletters are becoming a thing of the past. If you want to keep up with someone you will follow them on Facebook. Past that nobody gives a hoot.
Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Jan 2, 2019 01:06PM)
Talking about quality subscription newsletters ... we have an entire department producing subscription-level content that our members actually pay for. I write the marketing messages which come separate. And, although I try to emulate the content we produce for a price, by doing my research and riffing on the daily market news - I know I'm not fooling anybody. My pieces, sent as emails, are filled with great big "call-to-action" buttons.

This is a great topic. I've always felt that one man's SPAM is another man's source of information he can't get anywhere else. I don't see any problem with sending legitimate marketing messages to folks who've raised their hand by subscribing. But I sure like MindPro's idea about a source of content with NO AGENDA other than to inform or entertain. But what would be the point?

Even the most altruistic of motives at the end of the day lead to you hoping to either retain the customers you have, get them to buy more stuff - or acquire new customers. And so, if you did simply put something out on a routine basis that provided quality information, revealing you to be the one and only choice for "X" (let's say X equals you performing magic), if it was even a little bit successful, wouldn't you then start tweaking, optimizing your content little by little hoping for better results until one day you found yourself playing the same sales game as everyone else?

I don't know where this topic is going, just thinking out loud. But it seems the best compromise between valuable no-strings-attached content and marketing messages is to simply keep them separate.

Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 2, 2019 01:13PM)
But that approach has all the same pitfalls and has people eventually moving to having a bad taste in their mouth about you. That is always my issue. You do a great show, but they only need it so often. So it is possible to ruin that feeling with newsletters that are "use me use me" in nature.
Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Jan 2, 2019 02:13PM)
Regarding: You do a great show, but they only need it so often.

Perhaps that's the key. Within your particular universe of current, past and future clients, there's a natural rhythm or cycle that it may make sense to leverage. For example, if you know your corporate client will want you for Christmas, spring product launches and awards dinners, quarterly sales meetings and other known events; align your content with their (your client's calendar) so you're making an appearance in their inbox or mail box at the optimum time.

That cuts down on unnecessary mailings that put you in the same light as every other online marketer. Plus, if instead of simply mailing a marketing piece, you sent a valuable client-centric article or maybe a couple in a series ... and sent your marketing email separately ... you might gain more traction.

So what's good content people are willing to pay for over the free stuff nobody reads? Well, according to one professional who heads a marketing empire in the newsletter space - it's the presentation of a really good idea - backed by research and expertise.

Real news they can use. Ever wondered why there's so many articles titled, 10 Ways to ... or 5 Steps to ... those are THROW-AWAY GARBAGE ARTICLES that anybody can write and nobody would pay for.

Of course, I'm not advocating creating a paid subscription newsletter, that's simply too much work for an independent performer, but you could easily put together some thoughtful idea-rich content around certain business functions and slot them into a calendar for distribution at just the right time.

I'm going to have to think about this more ...

Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 2, 2019 03:03PM)
Ahhh, now you are starting to hit on many of the things I feel the strongest about that many just don't seem to understand.

Somewhere I contributed to a thread about why so many magicians are all copycats - cookie-cutter with each other. Their performances, the way the market, their look, the way they operate, etc.

I see this often as the worst with magicians more than most other types of entertainers I work with. They have no shame in using, taking and performing others work without concern for being hacks.

It usually goes something like this... A magician becomes slightly more successful than others in his magic club, forum, or group of friends. He (almost always a he, you rarely see this from the ladies) then writes a book, program or course detailing what he has done to achieve this. It is really nothing more than his limited success based on his personal experience. Often it's not even what he did, but what he did and what he learned so IF he ever does it again "this is how I would do it."

Others then buy this book, program or course believing all they have to do is follow the steps by steps he offers and that they too (like magic) will experience the same results for them in their business, in their area, regardless of if they are identical to the guy who is releasing it or not.

So they buy it and immediately if they take any action they start doing what he says to do - constant email campaigns, newsletters (loaded with tons of testimonials for "social proof") and of course exactly how the author does it (even using his template that is provided) and that in order to create TOMA they'll tell you, you must do this.

The problem is the guy who buys the course rarely has the same type of business, business model, performance and is working the same markets as the author. So doing what he says to do will likely NOT produce the same results for you. But yet, they do all of the same things the course said to do, how it said to do it, and guess what? They are now even more frustrated because they spent $299-$799 or whatever to buy the course, the additional costs to implement the things the course said they MUST Have in order to do this correctly (so, of course, they went out and bought a certain type of business card, promotional photos, tri-fold brochures, and of course a website done by a "professional") and none of it ends up working like they believed it would.

So unless you are the same type of performer working the same markets, you really need your own formula based on your exact type of performance, your exact area, the exact markets you serve and the right foundation specifically created for your type of act and business model. This realization costs many thousands of dollars, although it is continually offered here - for free!

So now lets review....they believed this person had the answers they needed and were the solution to their problems, they purchased and applied "his system" that "worked so well for him", purchased all of the things needed for the methods to work optimally as the author said it required, they even had a "free" one hour skype call with the course creator who did little than try to motivate them more to stay committed, lol, and now they are out hundreds to thousands of dollars and are even more frustrated than before all this started. Often they are ****ed. They often pull back more than before they started.

How do I know this? Because after doing this several (2-4) ties and having lost a great deal of money, they come to me and want me to save their sinking ship. They finally realize one-size-fits-all marketing and business operations doesn't work (or ever will) or will produce very minimal results at best. Sure they may have taken a few little things from it, but nothing worth the return from the investment they made or were expecting.

On one hand, I am glad they finally had the realization but it is truly a shame they have to do this and go through the process to learn this the hard way - especially when there are many here willing to assist them and prevent this before they ever get wrapped up in this whole process. ( I always get a kick out of the guys that said I always thought you could help me but would be far too expensive - when in reality they would have saved a lot of money having done it from the beginning, lol. You don't how what (and how much) you don't know.

Some good thoughts here. Since only a few cared to share their thoughts on newsletters as I was expected, I am glad the discussions have gone in this direction. I always think these types of discussions are much more beneficial anyways.
Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Jan 2, 2019 03:46PM)
I'm glad I had the time today to participate in this discussion.

I just deleted a long post of what I thought was an insightful response to MindPro's last comments, but realized quickly that I wasn't really contributing anything of value beyond what has already been said.

I'm an information consumer like many ... and I've bought my share of marketing systems and it amazes me how many really are the same ol' rehashed marketing information Dan Kennedy's been putting out for years.

I'll let my brain marinate on all this for a while.

Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Jan 3, 2019 12:07PM)
I'll make this quick, earlier I called out "list" type of articles as throw-away articles with little value to actual subscribers. You know, articles like the Top Ten Strategies for ... or Top 5 Destinations ... etc.

Well today, our editors cranked out an editorial listing the top six articles of the week regarding a certain type of investment.

I thought that was funny. Eventually, everybody takes a short cut. :)