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Most manufacturers educate retailers and customers about products using sales staff and advertising.
Hydroponics industry leader Advanced Nutrients decided to go the extra mile by creating customized newsletters for customers and retailers.
Advanced Nutrients is an international Canadian-based company that makes the widest range of hydroponics plant growth products available to indoor growers.
Company founders Michael Straumietis has been lauded in Forbes and other business magazines because his products, website, and marketing are at the top of the hydroponics nutrients industry.
Now, Advanced Nutrients has taken it to the next level by designing monthly newsletters for customers and retailers.
According to Michael Straumietis, newsletters are emerging as a key tool that companies use to create personal relationships with important groups.
“Our hydroponics products are the best in the industry, but that doesn’t guarantee that customers will buy them or that retailers will carry them,” he says. “We have to educate people to show them why our products will do more for them than products made by any other companies.”
To educate customers, Straumietis’s customer newsletter features in-depth articles teaching gardeners all about hydroponics.
Hydroponics is a specialty type of gardening, Straumietis says, so gardeners can’t get much hydroponics advice from discount stores or regular garden shops.
“We give expert hydroponics advice they can’t get anywhere else, and we apply it directly to their real-life experience,” Straumietis says.
But the newsletter doesn’t just include expert hydroponics advice. It also includes non-gardening information such as updates about youth culture, music, movies, books, computers, vacations, investing and other topics of likely interest to gardeners.
Straumietis says he personalizes each newsletter so customers feel a connection to the company and to him personally. In a recent newsletter, for example, he tells customers to go see the new Will Smith movie- “The Pursuit of Happyness.”
“I talk to the customers about how I overcame lot of huge challenges to get where I am today,” Straumietis explains. “And I encourage them to have goals and never give up. That’s how we made our company the most successful one in the hydroponics industry.”
The customer newsletter contains information about contests and special promotions that award customers thousand of dollars or provide customers with discount prices for selected products.
Straumietis says that customers look forward to the newsletters and respond to them by purchasing more products more often.
Making a newsletter for retailers presented different challenges. Straumietis and his colleagues first polled retailers and Advanced Nutrients sales staff to find out how the company could help retailers stay in business, make more profits, and sell more Advanced Nutrients products.
Straumietis and the Advanced Nutrients co-founders have run their own retail hydroponics store, so they already had a good understanding about the topic.
After talking to top retail business experts and collaborating with his Advanced Nutrients co-founders, Straumietis wrote 15-page newsletters that give retailers detailed information about store displays, training in-store sales staff, advertising, how to conduct sales, product knowledge, upselling and other topics.
He also included inspirational stories about himself and other successful businesspeople, and advised retailers to read books that teach people to improve their attitude, belief in themselves, and have better mental organization, energy and memory.
“These newsletters are not like if they were reading a business textbook,” Straumietis says. “I make them personal so the retailer knows that I have experienced running a retail store. The tone is personal so they know that we care about their success, not just about how many of our products they sell.”
The Advanced Nutrients monthly retailer newsletter preps retailers for special pricing and materials that the company will provide to retailers.
A recent newsletter told retailers about a surprise contest that will award a new 2007 Mercedes and a trip to Europe to the retailer who most demonstrates loyalty to Advanced Nutrients.
And there are also non-business topics, such as humor, sports, interesting anecdotes, lifestyle information, and other topics of interest that will engage business owners.
“I spend a lot of time researching what’s really fun, interesting, and useful for our retailers,” Straumietis says. “I also go to lots of business seminars and plant science conferences. Sharing this retailers develops a team approach and gives them insight into how we can work together to help customers.”
Straumietis says he’s gotten mostly positive response from customers and retailers. Most of them appreciate the free information and find some of the non-hydroponics information to be entertaining and useful.
He believes that newsletters and other non-advertising outreach are creating a partnership between Advanced Nutrients, customers and retailers that will benefit the company and all who associate with it.
“In today’s business environment, you can’t take for granted that just making the best products is going to guarantee loyalty from customers or retailers,” Straumietis notes. “Reaching out to make partnerships with these audiences is essential to us continuing to be the most successful company in the hydroponics industry, and our newsletters are part of that effort.”