Today I confess and confront my BIG, FAT publishing hypocrisy.
It’s Q&A time again.
Q. If print insurance newsletters work so well, Jim, why do you fulfill prospect sample requests with PDFs instead of actual print newsletters?
A. My bad.
I used to answer this question by saying our newsletters are formatted the same way in PDFs as they are in print.
The flaw in that response is that a PDF does not have the tactile, intellectual or emotional impact of print insurance newsletters. Getting a PRINT newsletter in the mail is an entirely different experience than getting a PDF attachment to an email!
Which is kinda the whole point….
That I was missing.
The point of a PRINT newsletter isn’t about how it’s displayed on a computer. It’s about how you react when you get it in your hands.
How it arrives in the mail.
How you open the envelope that contains it.
How you take it out.
How you engage with it as a tangible thing.
How you browse it. Skim the headlines. Or maybe even read it (it happens 🙂 ).
How you at least read the nameplate and recognize the name of the insurance agency that sent it to you.
Even after quickly looking at it, what do you do with it?
Do you put it aside to read more later?
Do you underline something in it before you save it? Maybe you’ve been meaning to call the agency and their phone number is in the masthead, so you circle it as a reminder.
Do you pass it along to someone else?
Do you throw it away? How?
Do you put it in the trash? Or the recycling?
It’s a completely different experience than clicking on a PDF icon attached to your email. You open the PDF with a click and there it is just like any other kind of digital content on a computer or mobile device.
A print newsletter is not constrained by its visual dimension though. It’s three dimensional. It has to be physically delivered to you, which impacts you, the reader more vividly.
Q. Aren’t you being a little hard on yourself to make a point? It’s the same content regardless of how it’s delivered.
A. Yes, the same content. But you’re missing the point. The medium is the message. Remember that canard? Well, it’s true.
PDF or PRINT, it’s the same content. But it’s not perceived the same way, is what I’m trying to say. People react differently to PRINT than digital content. And when I say digital I mean not just PDFs but email, too.
This is not just quantifiable. Like the HUGE difference in open rates between email and PRINT, which is 5X more for PRINT.
It’s about the emotional engagement you get with PRINT.
Q. So content doesn’t matter, you’re saying?
A. Of course it matters. Though to be honest, content is not as important a factor with PRINT as it is with digital.
What if someone who gets your PRINT newsletter never reads it? They just open the envelope, see your agency name and branding and throw it away.
Theoretically, your newsletter content could be pure garbage, nothing but spaghetti and meatball recipes and knock-knock jokes. That person has only seen your branding. What they briefly held in their hands had the physical characteristics of an insurance newsletter. And for that particular reader, it was sufficient. At least they know you make the effort to reach out to them and you do it consistently. That inspires a certain level of trust.
If you were sending that same person an email newsletter, they probably wouldn’t even know it. Because if they haven’t already marked anything they get from you as junk or unsubscribed from it, they’re clicking delete as soon as they see the subject line. Zip impact.
Of course, I’m not saying your newsletter should be crap. Obviously it’s got to be relevant, interesting and well-written. Many people will read it. In fact, many more people will read it simply because you made it so easy for them to do so by providing it to them in PRINT.
Q. Okay, so what are you going to do to make up for being so clueless?
A. So, we’ve made some changes.
If you go to the Smarts Publishing website now and request samples, your full address will be requested because you will now get the print insurance newsletters samples of your choice MAILED to you. PLUS, if you provide you logo, we’ll create a nameplate for you and include that in your sample newsletter, so you can see what your actual PRINT newsletter will look like when you place your order.
Q. Anything else?
A. Yes, we are no longer offering email as a standalone newsletter solution. We just feel we’re doing potential clients a disservice to offer them a product that will not get best results.
Email marketing is a great tool that insurance agents should be using, but newsletters are not the best way to optimize its impact. PRINT is the best way to optimize newsletters.
Even though you must purchase a print newsletter now to get it, we do offer a FREE email version of your newsletter if you want it, when you order at least 100 print newsletters. All customers get a word file of their newsletter for posting to social media and elsewhere.
Q. Where do I get my FREE samples?
A. I thought you’d never ask.
You can request sample print insurance newsletters and an order form when you: Click here.