The New Year's resolution that I'm hearing the most from my clients is that they want to get their “Keep-In-Touch” or follow-up marketing pieces sent out consistently, on time and with less stress in 2007.

Whether you're doing a monthly newsletter or a postcard campaign, I suggest that you keep it easy by:

  • Planning your pieces well in advance. Make marketing more fun by making it less stressful for yourself and for your designer by planning your projects well in advance of when they need to go out. For example, if you’re working on a postcard, it’s a good idea to give your completed text to your designer at least a week and a half before it has to be printed, so that they’ll have time to go through the creative process and review cycles won’t have to be rushed. And, the digital printing processes that make full-color postcard printing so affordable these days do take a bit of time – you can get your finished cards in as little as a week, but you’ll save money if you give them 2 weeks. And, factor in another couple of days for shipping time, labeling, stamping and postponing that trip to the post office. That means you have to start thinking about your project at least a month in advance of sending them out! But, you'll get things out on-time.
  • Working in batches. I sit down every December and write out 6-8 articles for my newsletter. Then, I send them all through my proofreader, code them into HTML, put them into my newsletter template, and get them into my website template as well. Then, when the time comes to send out my monthly newsletter, I just put the introductory paragraphs and featured logos in and send it off. Many newsletter services even allow you to schedule your mailings in advance, so if your newsletter doesn’t include updates and personal notes, you could schedule it as far in advance as you like! Working in batches with print materials can reduce print costs as well – some printers will even store the additional pieces for you until it’s time to mail them out.
  • Keeping personal follow-up tools handy. If you prefer to follow-up with handwritten notes, make sure that you’ll be able to write a note whenever you need one. Keep stacks of note cards, envelopes, stamps, and a pen in your car, laptop bag, on your desk, by your couch – wherever the mood might strike. I have one client who carries books around with her everyplace she goes, and she keeps a blank note card as the bookmark – just in case.