Why Most Newsletters Don't Work - part two: For Effective Newsletter Content, Get Real
Client newsletters do generate results. Yet, many business people who issue a newsletter find it frustrating to generate the results they want. Those not willing to give up on their newsletter need to get real about newsletter content. Newsletter expert Glenn Harrington says you gotta have heart and let it show.
Client newsletters do generate results. Yet, many business people who issue a newsletter find it frustrating to generate the results they want. This is why most newsletters are cancelled after a few issues. Many eventually conclude that newsletters just don’t work. Those not willing to give up on their newsletter need to get real about newsletter content.
what newsletters do
A good newsletter might never cause a spike in sales. However, if you watch other indicators over time – such as business per client, referrals from newsletter readers, and client retention – you would see how a newsletter performs as an investment in client relations. Newsletters shape market perception. Good newsletters help to build and maintain hundreds of business relationships with meaningful engagement.
What to say?
For many, a newsletter is demanding and time-consuming – especially when content that the issuer wants to communicate elicits difficult-to-measure results.
Some report news to readers already swamped with news. Some offer persuasive articles or clever commentaries to readers who really don’t need to be sold. Some offer lists, tables, and graphs. These, too, come with the risk that readers might not care. So, if a newsletter is best used as a tool of brand management, with what content?
the cost of off-the-shelf content
In a lot of situations, it is tempting just to buy good content, if you can find it easily at a reasonable price. But what is the reputation-shaping effect? Your clients can tell when your message is not really yours.
meaningful, brand aligned
Because a client newsletter is a medium for business communication, and because it assumes a business relationship between the issuer and the reader, a newsletter is a medium for client relationship management. Your clients can tell when you’re involved in your newsletter. Hence the need for original, brand-aligned newsletter content.
the cost of do-it-yourself content
Some decide to keep the connection with clients alive by developing their own content. This entails a commitment to produce meaningful, well-written content on schedule. Many then face these basic assumptions:
Put into practice, these basic assumptions stop some from issuing their own newsletters. These are worth considering, but are not must-haves. What readers really need from you is heart.
Gallup research shows that the key to wooing customers isn't price or even product. It's emotion. Gallup developed an eleven-question survey to understand client engagement (CE 11). Eight of those questions (73%) probe emotional engagement. (Alec Applebaum: The Constant Customer, Gallup Management Journal 06/17/01)
When you engage clients emotionally – which often follows from showing your own emotional engagement – that leads to more loyal, profitable business. People go out of their way to deal with businesses whose values they respect, whose style they like, and whose sincerity they like. When people believe in you, they demonstrate it with loyalty to you and bring more business to you.
medium for meaningful contact
When a newsletter makes people feel good about themselves in connection with the newsletter issuer (e.g. it validates their values) then it can create a feeling of connectedness. When that sense of connectedness is maintained through meaningful contact (e.g. a brand-aligned newsletter) then competitors’ attempts at wooing your clients have less effect.
In addition to issuing an engaging business newsletter, also set reasonable performance expectations and measures. Rather than short-term sales increases, efforts to optimize newsletter performance should reflect long-term business goals, such as:
get real sincerely
Newsletters are naturally brand-management tools, and good brand management is good client relations. If you think in terms of client relations – maintaining the connection and managing the client experience – then you can improve your business with a client newsletter that shows your true colors. That’s getting real.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Glenn Harrington is Principal Consultant with Articulate Consultants Inc. Since 1996 he specializes in consulting on authentic key messages as the basis for effective marketing, brand management, and client loyalty.