R.I.P. Email Newsletters?
No, the email newsletter is not dead. It’s very much alive and still one of the best ways to build trust, generate demand, and regularly stay relevant with your customers and prospects.
In other words, unless you’re blatantly violating anti-spam legislation, your email subscribers have elected—or raised their hand—to receive information from your company. This is not something to take lightly. This is something to take advantage of on a very regular basis.
However, there are things you might be doing to kill your results. So, consult this list of 5 newsletter “don’ts.” In fact, ignore them at your peril.
1. Don’t start a newsletter unless you can commit.
Your customers and prospects need to know that you’re reliable. If your home page promotes a monthly newsletter, commit to sending it every month like clockwork—on the same day, at the same time—if possible. Oftentimes this is your subscriber’s first indication that your company delivers on its promises, and goes a long way to develop trust.
According to Forrester, more than a billion people will have smartphones by 2016. And, Worldata Research claims that 87% of C-Level executives check the majority of their email via mobile device. Clearly, if you haven’t designed your newsletter for easy readability on an iPhone, Android, etc., your regular monthly cadence won’t matter. Ensure that your design renders properly in major email clients.
3. Don’t assume that blogs take the place of newsletters.
Blogs are not permission-based. Email newsletters are. It’s far more impactful to send content to contacts who have asked for it vs. hoping the same people find your blog on your website. However, the best scenario is to cross-pollinate, or to use both vehicles to convey your message. Point to specific blogs in your newsletter, and refer to a story in your newsletter in your latest blog. These two tactics can work together for optimal results.
4. Don’t bore your readers.
Your e-mail newsletter is not the place for a stiff, long-winded introduction accompanied by a “glamour shot.” Avoid the “scroll-fest” (causing your readers to page-down unnecessarily through a manifesto in search of valuable content). Today’s newsletter copy should consist of 2-3 teaser sentences, accompanied by a link to a very scannable article or blog, a video, your social media properties, or to a subtle promotional offer. Include a “colorful” mix of content, drawing from a variety of sources, taking multiple forms. Above all, ensure that your content is relatable, concise, and compelling. Avoid fluff at all costs.
5. Don’t treat your newsletter like a sales tool.
As tempting as it is for Sales to hijack your newsletter at the end of the quarter in a mad dash to make their numbers, this is not the tool for that. Newsletters are best suited for relationship marketing and nurturing contacts (customers and prospects alike) as they travel along the sales cycle. Consider their journey. Put yourself in their shoes. This is the vehicle for reminding them that you exist, for providing value in terms of content that will make their job/lives easier, and for steadily building demand. This is hardly the forum for “the close.”
Maybe you’re completely new to email newsletters? Don’t be afraid to get started. A little bit of discipline goes a long way to establish and sustain customer intimacy. And, aside from the “don’ts” above, you should also consult the mConcierge Newsletter Tactical Marketing Guide. This 2-page “cheat sheet” gives you a basic overview, best practices, tips on measuring your newsletter’s success, as well as a sample timeline.
Again, the email newsletter is not dead. It’s just evolving like every other tactic in your marketing toolbox. In a world seemingly dominated by social media, there’s still nothing more powerful than a database of customers/prospects who have actively opted in to interact with you on a regular basis. Don’t disappoint them.