By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
There isn’t a technology company today that doesn’t want to do an e-mail newsletter. They’re easier to send than paper and ink versions, incredibly cheap, and much faster. However, e-mailing just any kind of junk to your clients is NOT a good idea, and it can have negative consequences, especially since many of your clients have paid you money to cut down on the number of spam e-mails they get, not add to the pile.
However, when done right, an e-mail newsletter can be a very valuable tool in your marketing arsenal. But before you hit “send”, make sure you’ve figured out how you are going to overcome the following 3 hurdles. You have to:
- Get your message read.
- Capture the recipient’s interest with a compelling offer or message.
- Get your recipient to respond, buy, or take action NOW.
Every month I review hundreds of e-mail campaigns for my clients. In almost every case, the company has not thought about much less addressed the above three issues. Let’s take the following e-mail promotion I received as an example (the name of the company and URL has been removed, but this format is one that I’ve seen frequently used):Subject Line: Acme Company News – January 2006
Making IT Easy
January 2006 Newsletter
If you would like to be removed from
this list click here.
Business Technology Newsletter
Jan 26, 2006
Sign up at www.yoururlhere.com
Online newsletter version:
New Ways To Stay Connected
We have several new ways for you to receive support. Thanks to a new technology we’ve implemented…
————————————————— First of all, the subject line contains absolutely no benefit to the reader so it violates rule #1, get your message read. Unless I know that this newsletter is an amazing piece of journalistic material (and it’s not), I’m going to delete it immediately (which I did).
No one in today’s business world needs more “stuff” to read and sending a company newsletter that contains nothing but boring filler articles and content is a surefire way to put a virtual bullet in your campaign. We hardly have time to read the books and articles we actually want to read, let alone a newsletter full of self-serving information about your company.
If you get past the subject line, the first dozen lines are nothing but a waste of time. This content should have been included at the BOTTOM of the message, not at the top. Then, the headline of the first article is vague with no curiosity or self-interest. To top it all off, this entire newsletter was void of any offers, promotions, or reasons to respond. What makes this even worse is that this company sends out this SAME style communication every single month and in doing so, completely destroys any future chance of getting someone to actually read their newsletter. Once the recipient realizes this newsletter contains nothing they would be even remotely interested in reading, they will quickly opt out or delete it whenever another copy gets sent. Here is a revised version:
Subject Line: <FirstName>, they’re coming in fast and furious…
There has been a recent outbreak of incredibly devious viruses that are making their way past corporate firewalls and anti-virus software. We’ve detailed a quick report to update you on what these viruses are and 3 simple things you need to do right now to protect yourself.
To get the full story, click here now.
Dedicated to your protection,
Computer Wizards R Us
————————————————— I would then take them to a website that provides a short article on the viruses and recommendations for protecting a network or computer from them. Then, I would make an offer for a free network security audit or consultation that would only be made available to the first X people who respond to the article.
Here are 3 more tips for sending e-mail newsletters or promotions:
- ONLY send e-mails to people who have requested to receive information from you that way. Spamming clients who have not opted into your list online is a big no-no. Not only can it destroy client relationships, but it can also land you into legal trouble. Always include a free report or some other offer on your website to encourage visitors to give you their email address (opting in). To see an example, go to www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com. I offer a free CD as an ethical bribe to get visitors to opt in; they get some great information and I get the opportunity to develop them into a client.
- Personalize the subject line and body copy. This always increases the response to a campaign. I usewww.marketerschoice.com, but there are several good e-mail broadcasting systems that will allow you to personalize the message.
- Make the content interesting to read. This is probably one of the most difficult things to accomplish since most IT businesses are not great copy writers; however, if you are stuck for content, make your clients the stars. Include stories about them, what they do, and how you’ve helped them.
As a final note, e-mail newsletters are better than sending nothing but they cannot replace the power of paper and ink newsletters. In almost every case, printed newsletters outperform e-mail in terms of a financial response.