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Targeted Email Marketing

Many companies email newsletters to prospects, customers, partners etc. According to a survey cited in e-newsletters.com, 62% of companies use email newsletters as part of their communications plan.

There is no doubt that an e-newsletter can be a powerful communication and marketing tool. But many companies blast out email newsletters and hope for the best. Or, copies are given to the sales force with the instructions “Send this to customers you are visiting this month” or “Email this newsletter to your customer database”. Your newsletters can help you generate more sales but only if it forms part of a targeted B2B marketing effort. Newsletters can indeed help to drive sales

The secret is to measure

If you are using an email service provider, make sure they enable you to measure things like:
  • The number of recipients who receive and open your newsletter 
  • Which items in the newsletter were most popular / had the most clicks 
  • How much time was spent reading the newsletter and how much time was spent on each topic 
  • How many recipients discarded the newsletter without even opening it or how many did not receive it 
Monitoring such statistics will allow you to clean up your database and also fine-tune your content so you maintain high interest in your newsletter. Your customers and prospects will look forward to your newsletter as a valuable resource, and the information you gather by measuring their responses can be used to feed leads to your sales team. But do take the time to brief your sales team on how to use the newsletter when talking to prospects and customers. 

For example, if a recipient shows deep interest in a particular product, sales can call them to follow up. And make sure the sales team have the answers to questions that may arise from the newsletter content. Don’t let them be caught out without the information. By tracking and targeting interests, you can provide solutions, up sell to existing customers, strengthen relationships and generate real leads, which can be tracked to see how many lead to orders. In the end, like many of the elements of B2B marketing and communications, it all boils down to numbers.

How to engage your audience with a newsletter

1. Keep the content focused on the needs of your audience:
We all have an overload of information and the last thing anyone needs is yet another irrelevant email. So, prevent your newsletter going straight to the trash without being opened by focusing on your prospective readers. Create interest by giving them information that helps them work smarter or the latest industry trends. Prospective customers will stay “warm” if they are getting information that helps them, even if they are not ready to buy. 

2. Have a theme
The content should contain a few elements that are linked to a central theme or feature article. Provide a fresh perspective on a topic your audience cares about. As mentioned above, the newsletter can be an important element in a targeted email marketing campaign. The content should change over time to include:
  • Customer success stories 
  • Testimonials 
  • Tips (Technology or otherwise) 
  • Announcements of workshops, customer-focused or educational events 
  • Features on members of staff / executive profiles 
  • Feedback or responses to previous issues / feedback to surveys 
  • Useful resources on your website (or elsewhere) 
  • Customer success stories and testimonials 
  • Special incentives (especially when inviting them to take part in surveys) 
  • You could even insert a short YouTube video link showing a live demonstration or video presentation if it is relevant. 
3. Offer your audience something original and genuinely valuable
This could be a copy of a report, a white paper or difficult to compile industry stats. You could even have an invitation to the client / prospect to consult you on a customized solution. Just make sure that whatever you offer, it’s something that the newsletter recipients will not want to pass up. Also, make sure you act fast when you get a response to your invitation.

4. Open two-way communication channels
Invite the readers of your newsletter to give their feedback, either through a public forum or via a private email. And remember to respond to their feedback personally.

Final words

Keep sending out those newsletters but not in a random, “let’s-cross-our-fingers-and-hope-for-the-best” way! Make your newsletters part of a strategic, targeted communications plan, where you have put in place metrics that allow you to measure outcomes and determine their effectiveness.

(c) 2011 - Nithia Devan

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