B2B Newsletters With Something to Say Sure Beat the Alternative

You may recall that last year I wrote about how holiday e-cards are a window into brands and how companies think about customers. I spend much more time on e-newsletters, and just like holiday cards, there’s a difference that separates the few with vision from pointless marketing blather.

Mark Brownlow illustrates this in his video showing what it would be like if a bad B2B newsletter had to be delivered out loud. If you’ve ever made a newsletter, I’d recommend forcing yourself to watch it.

I’ve just spent most of two weeks producing a highly personalized newsletter that addresses readers based on their vertical markets, previous reading and buying, and requests.  We ended up with about 500 versions of a single newsletter, but that’s what gives it a fighting chance to connect with its audience.

New rules for enewsletters:

  1. Don’t start by talking about the weather. (“Well, it’s fall, so it’s time to write something again…”)
  2. Sentences that start with the company name, or a pronoun representing it, are never about customers.
  3. Target messages away from those who would not be interested.
  4. Nobody wants to read your product’s diary.  Try it; your privacy statement and the unsub link will get more clicks than the “learn more” link to your article.
  5. If you want it to sound personal, then write it well.  Allow different voices and reward them. This means pay for content.  That way you can pick the topic and the execution.
  6. Frequency only matters relative to interest. My favorite eNewsletter publishes each full moon. It sets a nice tone, and reminds me to look up and enjoy the Earth’s beauty. Pretty good for a newsletter.

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