E-newsletters: ‘Raise the bar and ditch the junk’

on 18 October, 2011 Email this Email this - Print this Print this

Business-to-business, e-newsletters have become the ubiquitous communication channel. Quick and easy to create, they are a cost-effective and speedy way of reaching  clients and prospects.

But they are often done badly, with little thought for the needs or interests of the recipient and ignoring best practice. Jon Hepburn from the Fedora Consultancy looks at some of the key preparation areas to consider when planning a campaign.

Targeted, measurable and able to drive traffic to your website, an e-mail newsletter can underpin and support company goals and objectives, enabling the sender to share a professional opinion, impart knowledge or rapidly broadcast sales messages in whatever priority they see fit. As long as it avoids being relegated to junk via the DELETE button.

1) Do it properly or don’t do it at all?

Whilst e-mail newsletters are cost-effective (cutting out print and postage costs) and easy to implement due to the development of technology, they are in essence a permission-based marketing activity governed by best practice principles that companies ignore at their peril.

Poorly timed, overly sales-oriented, over-designed material that is randomly or relentlessly fired off to unsuspecting recipients is not only ineffective, it has the potential to seriously undermine a company’s reputation and act as a ‘turn-off’ – especially if the recipient can’t even find a link to ‘unsubscribe’. The e-landscape is evolving quickly and so there is a need to keep abreast of what is best practice in order to compete effectively for a reader’s attention.

2) Creating a dialogue

As with any communications or marketing activity, some groundwork is key to the successful delivery of an e-mail newsletter campaign. At the heart of it all is a focus on creating a dialogue with people who have (or potentially have) an interest in who you are, what you say, what you stand for, what you sell etc.

This means that an e-mail newsletter should only be sent to people who might wish to receive it, not to a random list of email addresses from business cards scooped up at networking events or collected on a piecemeal basis over a number of years.

3) Data Quality

The effectiveness of your campaign will depend heavily on the quality of your data i.e. how ‘clean’ your mailing list is so it is vital that you take a good look at your intended recipients list and see how up to date it is. In addition, and this is becoming increasingly more important as e-mail services tighten up their spam criteria, ensure that you have permission to send.

Even then the perception of ‘spam’ is not just limited to items being received from unknown email addresses or ones that the recipient hasn’t consented to.

4) Fresh, not too frequently and with their permission

According to a study by Q Interactive conducted in conjunction with marketing research firm MarketingSherpa:

  • 56 per cent of consumers consider marketing messages from known senders to be spam if the message is “just not interesting to me”
  • 50 per cent consider “too frequent e-mails from companies I know” to be spam
  • 31 per cent of respondents said that they consider“e-mails that were once useful, but aren’t relevant anymore,” to be spam
  • Five per cent click-through is the typical level now – ten years ago it was over 20 per cent. Without consent, recipients vote with the “move to spam” button.

Source: http://atriumgroup.com/news/respect-isnt-option

5)  Consent – but not forever

If you’re considering renting a list of email addresses, think hard whether the list vendor genuinely sought consent to sell it to you, a third party. If they haven’t, it’s highly likely you will be damaging your brand. Buying lists of people who apparently have agreed to ‘Yes, please send me anything’ could be a recipe for disaster.

Remember too that the consent to remain in contact is not forever. If your emails remain unopened after 10 messages, would it not be better to ask the recipient if they are happy for you to stay in touch?

The objective should be to build a database that increases client loyalty, response levels and traffic to your website.

To find out more please contact Jon  Hepburn at The Fedora Consultancy on 01743 366288 or visit http://www.fedoraconsultancy.co.uk/

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Topics: Business development · Hot Topics · Law Firm marketing · Marketing planning

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jason Cobine // Oct 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Great advice. I like the way you have opportunities to measure results.

    Assessing why content is not moving subscribers to take action is essential.


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