It Ain’t The Meat, It’s The Motion

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been lucky enough to have had Blue Penguin featured twice in The Sunday Boston Globe. Not incidental stuff either. Big, prominent, positive coverage on the first page or two of the Money & Business section. As my dad likes to say, “you couldn’t pay for that kind of coverage.”

But I’ll tell you a little secret. As exciting as it is, it doesn’t lead to all that much new business. The fact is, the vast majority of our work continues to come directly from this newsletter.

How is it possible that an electronic newsletter with just over 1,000 readers is more effective in generating sales than half a page of coverage in a newspaper with a Sunday circulation of over 800,000?

You ask some tough questions. Here’s my take on it:

• A newsletter is more targeted. If you’re getting this newsletter it’s because you are a self selected member of a highly targeted group — businesspeople with an interest in the very narrow topic of E-Newsletters and relationship marketing.

The Globe on the other hand goes to all of New England. And when you boil out the people who have no interest in business; the people who didn’t get around to reading all 16 sections of the paper that day; and the people who think E-Newsletters are a waste of time, I’d be surprised if there were even 1000 left out of that initial pool of 800,000.

• A newsletter is more frequent. So far I’m averaging one story every 52 weeks in the Globe. With this newsletter on the other hand, I’m averaging one story every 2 weeks. As the companies discovered when they spent their entire marketing budgets on a single Superbowl ad a couple of years ago, frequency is more important than reach. Getting in front of a lot of people once is not as effective as getting in front of a few (important) people over and over and over again.

• A newsletter is more personal. Although I concede that there’s a lot of credibility in having your business covered by an unbiased third party, an article writtenabout you is not as likely to lead to new business as is an article writtenby you.

When you write the article, not only do people learn about your business, they also learn about your unique perspective, point of view and personality. Unlike the distanced observer who writes about your company in the newspaper, when you write a newsletter, your prospects and customers get the chance to learn and/or remember why they want to do business with you in the first place. As they used to say about Superman, “More powerful than a locomotive.”

Bottom Line: Press coverage is great, but it ain’t no marketing program. If you’ve got a house list of happy clients, a quality product or service, and a computer, you’ve got the pieces of a sales generating machine that even The Boston Globe can’t match.

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