Some of you probably live in very mild, even tropical, climates, so you didn’t experience the freezing cold, snowy winter we did in the Northeast. It was a tough one, with huge snow banks, icy roads, and chilling temperatures, keeping us stuck in the stale indoors. Not any more — it’s springtime!
There’s something about spring that makes us want to start cleaning. In the spring, people clean out their closets, basements, and gardens, creating room for new things to grow and expand. It’s a good idea to do the same with your newsletter. Today, I’ll suggest some ways to take a fresh new approach with content.
First, find out what no longer works from a content point of view. There are three ways to do this:
- Use analytics to find out what readership trends are from month to month. What types of articles repeatedly get attention and which collect dust balls?
- If you don’t have a sophisticated set of analytical tools, you can run a survey to find out what people’s favorite articles are.
- If you don’t have that capability either, call a few customers to get their feedback. It’s old-fashioned and somewhat intrusive, but it’s imperative to know what your subscribers read and what they value.
Throw Out Whatever Gathers Dust
If you have articles no one ever reads, month after month, guess what? It’s time to get rid of them. Cut the cord! Delete them from your editorial list! If you can figure out why nobody reads them, great. If not, just break free of the excess baggage.
Fix What’s Important
If those articles you consider to be most important for conveying your message are the ones read the least, don’t quite throw them out. For example, if your product updates convey critical information but no one’s reading them, perhaps you need to repackage them. Instead of a long-winded, boring article, try a sidebar with a bulleted list of bare-minimum facts and a link to a microsite containing the nitty-gritty details. That way, people will find what’s important to them in a quick, convenient way.
Add New Energy!
A couple of ideas to get people reading again:
- Get your executives to talk. Your customers want to know your company is real. If you have a column each month that’s a personalized insight from the CEO or company VPs, customers will get a sense of what your company is all about. Don’t worry if your executives don’t have time to write themselves. You can hire writers who can conduct quick interviews and write the columns for you.
- Provide an industry perspective. Your customers will be grateful for a quick update on the latest developments in your market. They don’t have time to figure out what’s going in your industry, so help them out. Create surveys with trend questions, then publish the results. Seek articles and/or research data from industry pundits on the Internet.
- Let your customers speak up. Full-blown testimonials must often go through lots of legal channels, but newsletter articles in which customers voice opinions about your product’s usability usually don’t have to go through an extensive approval process. It’s easier getting a few paragraphs approved than a whole story. Combine a few different customers’ thoughts in the same story, and you’ll have a tale to tell!
- Create your own experts. Every company has people who are thought leaders. Find one who can tackle a tough topic every issue, and give her a column of her own. This is a good way to test this person’s ability to lead a forum. Who knows? Perhaps she is an ideal candidate for a future corporate blog!
What are you struggling with in your newsletter strategy? E-mail me your thoughts about what’s gone stale. I’ll offer some advice on how to give it a fresh perspective.
Meet Kathleen at ClickZ E-Mail Strategies in New York City on May 19 and 20.
Many companies use SMS, email and push notifications to deliver updates to customers and stakeholders, and such notifications are especially important to publishers ... read more
Online presence requires a lot of work. Your team has to be keeping an eye on search rankings, competitors, security, web mentions, website performance, trends, and so much more. Here are five multi-purpose tools that can manage every aspect of digital marketing and save your team time and money.
Email marketing is nothing new, but as our ability to harness big data improves, so does email’s potential as a marketing channel. In this article, we discuss data-driven personalization, what it means for email marketing, and how to deliver 1:1 communications at scale.
Email marketing automation may be the secret to a successful marketing strategy, provided that you know how to use it. Here’s how to get started.