I don’t shine at meetings. It was with some reluctance that I attended one early this week to put forward a suggestion. It was for an e-newsletter to fit in between our bi-monthly magazine, my fear being the two month gap might be a big enough hole for competitors to exploit.
I was then hit with a list of what some of those present did not like about newsletters. A colleague, whom I’d briefed, suggested we could include trailers, events, answers to questions, links to technical information, a video or two and a competition. We were told, ‘That’s not a newsletter.’ And therein lie opportunities.
There is no set form for an e-newsletter. It is exactly what you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be a weekly/monthly publication. You can have it triggered by events. If it is B2B, as most are, a little bit of news might be enough to generate it.
Similarly, the content is not defined by the name. There are a number of purposes of ours. We want it to keep our organisation in the mind of our customers, to generate interest in the bi-monthly magazine, and to encourage responses, hopefully on Facebook.
Ask yourself what a newsletter can do for your. You cannot use it as email marketing, but you will want to support it. One priority might be to get readers to sign up to your email marketing list, to click through to a specific landing page, to become more familiar with your company name and to feel some degree of loyalty.
Then you need to discover what your readers want. This is not so easy and requires research. You can ask people face to face, send questionnaires, opt for focus groups, use your experience, go via your returns, etc.
You segment lists for email marketing campaigns but most companies think that one size fits all when it comes to e-newsletters. After all, what is to stop a reader just flicking through the contents and stopping at those items which generate their interest?
You will, most probably, aim at those people who are busy. Whilst there is evidence to suggest that recipients are willing to take a bit longer to assess the Subject line or heading of an e-newsletter, they won’t take forever. If the first few items are of no interest, most will delete it. This, as you know, makes them more likely to delete subsequent ones.
You have the information to hand as to what is most likely to interest specific types of people. You can predict what is likely to make them read on.
Produce a number of different e-mails by content, putting those items that will be of most interest to specific groups at the top, those you want them to read next and then add click throughs, with adequate descriptions, to the items you have excluded. Segment your lists according to how they will react to the content.
If you design content for specific groups you can then include what you want, such as click troughs to join your email marketing lists.