Most consulting practices host and sponsor conferences to get in front of prospective clients. How do they sustain the dialogues started at these events?
Lucy Niro, marketing and communications manager for the consulting division of technology giant Fujitsu, aimed to keep Fujitsu Consulting top of mind with clients and prospects. She decided an e-newsletter would be the ticket. All she had to do was persuade her superiors it was worthwhile.
Around the same time, Niro responded to a request by marketing/sales teams to publish electronic invitations using e-communications services provided by IMN.
Niro quickly saw IMN’s content management, tracking, and reporting capabilities for e-newsletters would help provide direct feedback while keeping prospects, clients, and analysts continually engaged. “To be able to tell your upper management that you can now track recipient attention not just to the e-newsletter but [also” to the individual articles to see which have generated the most interest… from there, it pretty much sells itself,” Niro said..” They could see how it allows you to readjust your thinking and respond with even more relevant content and thought leadership.”
She went on to show how effectively an e-newsletter can drive recipients to the consulting pages of Fujitsu’s country Web sites, a critical success factor. That clinched it. The “Leading Edge” e-newsletter was born.
Niro self-publishes “Leading Edge.” Using a branded template, she and her staff simply pull in the content — there’s no need to know HTML. As you can see, the format is simple: a one-pager with short paragraphs linking to longer articles, event announcements, and so on.
She receives monthly statistics that allow her and her team to make better content decisions, create more targeted subscriber subsets, and monitor hits to the Web site. They’ve seen certain topics resonate more with their audience. And they’ve also discovered that though using surveys seems like such a good idea for taking readers’ pulse, they don’t generate enough feedback to warrant constant use in “Leading Edge.”
In just three years, “Leading Edge” readership has skyrocketed from 0 to 6,000 subscribers. The list has expanded chiefly by having the sales force invite clients to opt in. The newsletter’s also promoted at events and through a banner ad in the consulting section of the U.S. and Canada Fujitsu Web sites.
Based on the newsletter’s success, Niro now also has automated the internal, North American employee newsletter to keep some 6,000 staffers scattered across the continent feel like they all work for the same company.
“Management really wanted to know what is on people’s minds. By using polls, article-viewing statistics, and even basic delivery rates, we’re learning a tremendous amount from our employees,” said Niro. “Tell me another way to get such pure, direct feedback — from that many people — without spending hundreds of thousands in research. There just isn’t one. The metrics can’t be found in any other vehicle.”
Niro says employees respond much better to surveys than her outside audience. Through tracking, she’s found the most popular employee topics revolve around recaps of the company’s sales success.
We have a feeling Niro will have many more sales successes to report as Fujitsu continues to use email and e-newsletters to keep in touch with its customer base and keep its employees motivated.
How are your e-newsletters and campaigns doing so far for 2004? Got anything interesting in the works for the fall? Let Karen know.
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