A lot of companies have a monthly newsletter they mail or email to clients and prospects as a way of keeping in touch. Once a month, the marketing department sends an email blast out to the world and everyone gets the same, generic information. But does this approach actually generate leads for the sales force? A lot of marketers argue that newsletters are designed more for branding, but can’t they accomplish both?
If you don’t use a newsletter but think you need to have one, this article should save you from wasting a lot of time. Here’s the thing: newsletters are dead. In fact, recent research shows that less than 10% of people even open them. There are several reasons for this:
Newsletters Are Boring
Most newsletters are self-promotional and contain mostly information about the company’s products, recent company news, client success stories and other stuff that readers really don’t care about. We all know that people are always tuned into WII-FM (what’s in it for me?). Instead, why not send clients and prospects interesting articles about industry trends, best practices they can use and resources that will help their business? In other words, stop talking about yourself.
Newsletters Aren’t Personalized
Are all your clients exactly the same? If not, then why should they all get the same, generic newsletter? Only send people information that is relevant to their situation. Why not have different versions of your newsletter? Better yet, compile a list of articles and then let your salespeople send their prospects the most relevant information. Of course, this requires that you know something about each client or prospect. You may discover that your database is the problem, not your newsletter.
Newsletters Don’t Build Relationships (or create leads)
Most newsletters are sent from a marketing department or someone else the prospect has never met. Shouldn’t the communication come from the Salesperson or Customer Service Rep who has the relationship with the person? Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that people still buy from people–not from corporations.
If newsletters aren’t the answer, then what is?
There are several better alternatives you should consider. Here is a short list:
1. Publish your newsletter as an online blog that visitors can search and comment on. If your company doesn’t have a blog on your website, you’re missing out. Blogs are no longer a fad–they are the centerpiece of any good website and one of the best ways to create leads. Go to a site like Copyblogger.com to learn how to create compelling blog articles.
2. If you publish a lengthy newsletter (like most companies do), break it into smaller “mini newsletters” that your salespeople can email to people. Nobody has time to read a long newsletter no matter how good the content is. Instead of sending a quarterly newsletter packed with information, it’s more effective to send smaller blogs and articles on a more frequent basis, like once every 2-3 weeks.
3. Use a sequential autoresponder to automatically email your articles to people on an ongoing basis. Autoresponders will let you create a drip email campaign that you never need to manage.
4. Publish your newsletters and blogs on several of the Article Directories. Then have your Sales Reps email their clients and prospects a link to the published article. When you’re published on other people’s websites it gives you a lot more credibility.
5. Consider using video, Podcasting and webinars to publish your content. Does your article contain photos or other visuals? Then why not create a YouTube or Google Video to spice it up? Once a quarter, announce a webinar on a hot topic. If you’re not familiar with the concept of Podcasting, think of it as an online radio broadcast that people can subscribe to. Best of all, any article could be a Podcast. Simply read the article into a microphone and then post the recording on several of the Podcast Directories.
In the beginning of this article, I announced that “newsletters are dead.” Perhaps they’re only changing into more dynamic versions because people are looking for something different. The question is: are you willing to change to meet the needs of your clients and prospects?