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Email newsletters. Are they still effective?

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm

 

My blog entry for today is about email newsletters. To me, email newsletters are quite effective in generating leads and sales conversion. But are they still effective as they used to be? I’d like to think that if you create enough value to be given away, you’ll be rewarded with something in return – attention. Garnering prospects’ attention is key to sales conversion.

Below is a discussion of a LinkedIn group I joined that discusses the strategies you can employ to make your email newsletters attractive and effective.

Alicia posted a question on email newsletters:

Alicia Anderson 

Is anyone still doing email newsletters?

For the last few years, we have been doing a monthly email newsletter to our clients and prospects, but it gets very few clicks and is getting pretty stale. is anyone still doing these?

    The following are the feedback posted by several users:

    71 comments • Jump to most recent comments

    Mac Bull

    Mac Bull • Hello Alicia,
    Many are still doing newsletters.
    There are a handful of newsletters that I receive on a regular basis and read without fail. If your newsletter seems to be running dry, maybe it is time to change your methods. This could be as simple as calling it something different. Or send it out every other month on CD. Another option would be to do it quarterly or bi-monthly. By making it less frequent, you bring scarcity into the picture. We all know that scarcity in direct response is a WINNER.
    By the way, I actually went to your company website to sign up for the newsletter. I was hoping to provide more insight by having actually read an issue of it. The problem is that I am in Japan. Japan was not an option in the fields that one is required to fill-in. "Other" was not an option either. If you lost me, you may consider how many other prospects have left or were lost because of this.
    Newsletters and the like are in abundance, but I recently read some statistics showing that readers are sponges looking for information to soak up. Consider your content in light of this. Is your newsletter only providing company product updates and other related selling? Or is it providing information readers will find useful? The content/information should have them reaching out for more…and then…reaching out for your products or services.
    If you would like more insight as to the content of your newsletter, send me a few issues by attachment to: copybymac@copybymac.com
    Then we can talk.
    Best of luck,
    Mac Bull
    Your "Go To Guy" in Japan

    3 months ago

    Ed Tallents 

    Ed Tallents • If you want it to work, you need to freshen it up, and provide some valuable content.
    We offer SEO services, and noticed that competitors were charging £100 to put your business on Google Maps. We offered a free guide to DIY, and that got lots of people interested in doing SEO on our site, looking at our guaranteed SEO service.
    At Christmas, we did an email campaign which thanked all our subscribers for their support and (as they are all businesses), we offered 200 email credits for our software, and six Christmas card templates to choose from so they could send a coropoate e-greeting rather than spending a lot of time and money on paper cards. The email just said we’d got them a present, to open it, they clicked thru to a customised landing page where we offered them the free service.
    Finally, we made a flash game, branded it with our products, and sent it out at lunchtime on a friday before the bank holiday. We had people spending hours on our site playing the game, but also browsing our products and services.
    If you can keep-up this level of "free and interesting stuff", you’ll rejuvenate your campaigns, and engage better with your audience.
    It’s too easy to resort to selling, or finding news for the sake of it. You should try to find ways of adding value to your newsletter so recipients are always looking forward to seeing what you are going to give them next.
    Hope this helps!

    3 months ago

    Ed Tallents 

    Ed Tallents • Another thought – if you are struggling with a monthly newsletter, do it quarterly instead, and save-up your resources to give the emails more clout, rather than diluting them – probably much cheaper too.

    3 months ago

    Tessa Dunn 

    Tessa Dunn • Yes; in addition to Inbound marketing efforts as well.

    3 months ago

    Mark Amtower 

    Mark Amtower • Lot of people. I get about 15 each week. Some of these are market specific (my market is B2G), some are focused on marketing or sales.
    I have considered re-laiunching my own, but have opted to do it through the groups that I manage on LinkedIn.

    3 months ago

    Marney MacFadyen 

    Marney MacFadyen • We do a quarterly newsletter as well as special announcement emails to our prospects and clients. We track the read rates on the newsletter and found that it continues to be one of our more popular items of communication with our prospects. We did notice an uptick in reads when we went from monthly to quarterly. The trick is to keep the content interesting and relevant to your prospects and clients.

    3 months ago

    Paul da Silva 

    Paul da Silva • I have a number of clients doing email newsletters and they are still working as well as always. As others have commented, the frequency needs to be right for the kind of business you are and the quality of the content that you can come up with for each issue. If you can’t get enough good content together to make it monthly then do it slightly less frequently.
    My other big point is preparing an editorial schedule in advance. If you know what will be in each issue long before you need to send it you can pull together much better material. If you’re looking for ideas two days before you send it then you’re always going to struggle.

    3 months ago

    Alicia Anderson 

    Alicia Anderson • Thanks, everyone, that is great feedback.

    3 months ago

    Dan Sharry 

    Dan Sharry • Hi, Alicia:
    Have you looked into LinkedIn user groups like Constant Contact Customers and Business Partners. I’m not affiliated with the company, but it seems that groups like this would be a good source of information, both practical and strategic.
    In my experience, relevant content trumps everything, but as mentioned elsewhere frequency, navigation and template design issues are also important to your success.
    Good luck.

    3 months ago

    Nora Bäckman 

    Nora Bäckman • Hi,
    great discussion, it gives fresh ideas to me too, as we are also doing a monthly e newsletter – which is at the moment mostly focused on new products and services.
    What is your experience in what kind of percentages of receivers read it and click forward? We have had around 5 – 10 % of receivers reading the newsletter (total amount of receivers is 6500).
    Thanks,
    Nora

    3 months ago

    Ken Boos 

    Ken Boos • Although people are overwhelmed with email newsletters, we create, produce and distribute them for our clients with varying success. Our "open" rates typically range from 12% to 40% (on a good day). As with direct mail three elements need to work cohesively: (1) reach the correct people with the list; (2) employ "creative" that attracts attention and is easy to read and understand; (3) have an offer worth responding to. The frequency levels are campaign-specific, from monthly to quarterly.

    3 months ago

    Dan Sharry 

    Dan Sharry • Hello All:
    Here’s a recent article from Inc. Magazine with great information and links to additional resources.
    http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/05/email-marketing-tips.html?partner=newsletter_Success
    Good luck,
    Dan

    3 months ago

    Steven Lowell 

    Steven Lowell • Yes, but if you do it wrong, you cant say the effort failed because its an email newsletter. It has to be done properly.

    3 months ago

    Jennifer Sheran 

    Jennifer Sheran • Hi Alicia, my firm regularly puts out enewsletters for our clients and will be launching our own soon. I concur with everything listed above. People still enjoy regular, relevant content delivered right to them. The is in addition to "selling" which should be a soft sell, you need to provide added value & insights. It is a great brand building tool. Good luck.

    3 months ago

    Jeannie Odza 

    Jeannie Odza • Absolutely. If your content is of interest to your readers they will read it. If they are not reading it, then you may want to revamp the content, the messaging/copy, times it is sent etc.
    Newsletters may include new products/services but should not be the main focus. Offering valuable information to your targets, even if it means multiple newsletters, will increase readership.
    In addition to being relevant, it is important to make it short and easy to read.
    I am working as a marcomm consultant for a bookkeeping & tax firm, since revamping the newsletter they receive between 25 – 40% readership, whereas the industry average is about 12%.

    3 months ago

     

    Stuart Hall-Cooper • Steven has got this spot on. If the content of your email newsletter is poor, it will ultimately fail – but this doesn’t necessarily indicate that email newsletters in general will fail. Make the email newsletter relevant and interesting to your target audience and they’ll want to read it, and come back asking for more.

    3 months ago

    Janet Bates 

    Janet Bates • I am a freelance writer who writes newsletters on occasion for a variety of organizations in many different industries. Short, specific and relevant content is king. Too often organizations want a customer "newsletter", but they don’t think through what kind of content they are able to provide.
    I frequently get vague input such as "let’s talk about best practices in our industries" (which I believe don’t really exist) or "just come up with some industry-related filler" or they spend too much space talking about their own structure, anniversaries, history, etc.
    Less is more. Don’t lock yourself into newsletter that has to be a specific length and has to include certain topics. If you only have two things to say in a particular month, say those well and end it.

    3 months ago

    Kirsti Scott 

    Kirsti Scott • The Direct Marketing Association does a "Power of Direct economic-impact study" every year and for every $1 invested in e-mail campaigns ion 2009, businesses earned a return on investment of $43.62. The return was $21.85 for internet search advertising, $15.22 for direct mail, and $7.32 for catalogs.
    So, e-mail marketing is still a great way to reach your customers.

    3 months ago

    Adam J. Wilbur 

    Adam J. Wilbur • Absolutely! We have found that newsletters are much more effective as a cross-selling tool to additional lines of service to existing clients rather than a lead generation tool for net new customers. If nothing else, its a great way to strategically toot your own horn, showcase a breadth of offerings and/or showcase company momentum. By no means should e-newsletters be used as a stand-alone communications tactic, but rather as a complimentary communication channel to a more integrated loyalty/cross-selling strategy.
    If resources and content creation is an issue, you may want to consider re-purposing (non-competitive) 3rd party content that is relevant to your audience and helps to position your organization as an expert/thought leader. We have established many great business partnerships as a side effect of this process, which only helps to generate additional awareness via backlinks to your branded content. Hosting online versions of your newsletters can also, to some degree or another, aid in your organic search rankings but that’s another story altogether.
    It goes without saying, but….at the end of the day, if your newsletter is overly promotional or focused solely on the interests of your organization, you will have a difficult time connecting with your audience. The best content marketing focuses on the readers interests first and foremost. An e-newsletter these days should read more like an industry insights overview with brand content strategically weaved into it rather than a long copy-ridden advertisement.
    Good luck!
    Adam Wilbur
    Account Director
    http://www.jacobsagency.com
    312-664-5000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting   312-664-5000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting x111

    3 months ago

    Carol Worthington-Levy 

    Carol Worthington-Levy • Original content is what makes people read our newsletter. It’s a free, 100% educational monthly, and there’s no pitching at all. Like many here, we believe in education to make everyone’s business stronger. We have an incredibly loyal following.
    The only thing that I have to say is that admittedly we don’t do a great job of using our newsletter to pull in new business for ourselves! It supports our position in the marketplace but we really treat it as education.
    To check it out for yourself you can see it at
    http://www.lenser.com/index.php/category/newsletter/2010/05
    or, you can sign up for it at
    http://www.lenser.com/index.php/newsletter-signup
    Ah yes, there are probably ways we could use it to drive new business more effectively — but we love being able to provide all this content since it’s "from the trenches" stuff that people tell us they want to know.
    Our audience constantly thanks us for that.
    Maybe that’s enough for us!

    3 months ago

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