By Sharon A.M. MacLean who invites your comments following this blog. You can also find more modern marketing strategies for business here. http://bit.ly/1cKPcjn
Newsletters are hot again.
We can tell because Forbes top social media influencer Kim Garst delivered a training session on newsletters for her Inner Circle (including me) last week. She joins a host of trustworthy experts who agree this digital device will help grow your business. http://kimgarst.com
Seriously, newsletters? Isn’t that what your parents did back in the 80s?
Over the years, I’ve seen how newsletters helped nurture relationships with customers, motivate employees and, yes, make money for a company. Resuts are bigger than blowing your own horn over the latest new product on the shelf. Newsletters are the epicentre of what we’re all trying to do with social media—communicate and build a community.
Research carried out this year by The Quartz Global Executives Study of 940 decision makers revealed how the “world’s smartest, busiest people consume news every day, source and share industry intelligence, and respond to advertising.” http://insights.qz.com/ges. Julia Hobsbawm pictured above is at the Quartz’s forum about the next billion people to come online for the first time, largely on mobile phones. It was held in London on May 19. The hashtag is #qznextbillion.
Here’s a few stats from the study:
- 60% of executives read an email newsletter as one of their first three news sources checked daily. Next popular is to open a browser (43%) followed by a news app (28%) and, third, a news site on desktop (16%);
- 44% of executives are most focused on news immediately upon on waking up. The majority spend about 30 minutes updating themselves;
- Overall 91% of executives would share work-related content if they found it to be valuable. They almost equally share by desktop and mobile device;
- On print news organizations: 61% of executives still pay for print news. Why? Because (46%) are keen on monitoring brand reputation;
- Executives are keen on industry analysis (68%) that references new products, innovations, and leadership insights.
Here’s something else that will surprise “culture snackers” or those who view images and share them with friends and followers. Chartbeat https://chartbeat.com found that longer articles are not to be feared. “Readers recognize quality immediately.”
Yes, it’s a good idea to get the newsletter back into the content mix. Only this time, think about adding email automation and social media to the equation.
Collaboration kills silos
Development of a newsletter can even help break down ugly silos–that mindset where certain key people prefer to control rather than share information with others in the company.
Silos can take shape in any department: sales, marketing, customer service, and IT. Instead of having each group develop their own strategic plans, challenge them to ask questions that serve customers, recognize employees, and share leadership thoughts. They can think about these 5 questions:
- Are we convenient to deal with?
- Do our customers have success stories to share?
- Are our products, services, and marketing offers relevant to our customers?
- Do we respond to their needs and questions in a timely and helpful way?
- Do they believe what we promise?
This type of collaboration requires employees to find the harmony in a song. It’s also imperative that leadership agrees to a common and unified vision for the organization that informs the newsletter and all other content published by the company.
A common goal. Sometimes, it’s easy to trip over personal priorities. Participants can’t get overly precious about their own pet projects. It’s up to leadership to stay true to the unified vision that encourages collaboration and find the motivation that pursues a common goal. Organizations need someone to orchestrate the cross-channel experience, even if they don’t own it.
The Big “Mo”. I first heard this phrase from Success magazine publisher Darren Hardy. You know when you’ve got it because it’s a big WOW! Everything sizzles. It’s like my fashion retail client Leila Gumpinger who dug deep to find what makes her heart beat faster: “It feels so great…to get recharged with excitement of possibilities.” http://www.awearstyle.ca
What really defines a great leader is one who knows how to communicate the single most important message effectively to various audiences. Once the common goal has been identified, each member of the management team must encourage their employees to join the party.
Back to some best practices for your newsletter
- Don’t trick your readers in the subject line. The subject line naturally leads into the story that follows. A subject line that misrepresents subsequent content could upset your readers who may not come back because they feel tricked to click.
- Maximum 45 to 55 characters in your subject line. The secret here is the right-size subject line results in being readable in full on most smartphones.
- Personalise the newsletter sign-up process by asking readers about their interests. Here’s a caveat, though: some say more personalization, the better. Others insist that adding steps to the sign-up process causes potential subscribers to abandon the process. Picking up on reader insights, by the way, can occur over time.
- Don’t play hide-and-seek with sign-up buttons. A mistake writers often make is they think readers consume every precious phrase they’ve ever composed. Position a sign-up button on every single page of your website, for example, with an offer to sign up for your newsletter.
- Design your newsletters in a mobile-friendly fashion. Make sure your subscribers can easily read articles and click links when viewing your e-newsletters on their mobile devices.
Make it easy as possible for decision makers to do business with you. Give them a newsletter.
Need help with modern marketing? Contact me through LinkedIn or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life-long communications strategist Sharon MacLean owned and published a traditional print magazine over 21 years for business people. She now applies her enhanced knowledge in digital marketing to the needs of her clients and believes in the value of combining the best of both worlds.