Advertising / Digital

A Tale of Two Newsletters

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During the holiday season our inboxes flood with corporate well wishes from every company we have ever given our email addresses to (and even some we have never heard of!). While most of these newsletters end up straight in the spam or trash folders, sending one is still an important box for companies to tick during occasions like the New Year, Ramadan, and Eid. The question is not whether to send an emailer or not, it is how do we send a seasonal emailer that people will actual read?

During this past holiday season, I learned an important lesson in corporate seasonal well wishing. I sent newsletters for two clients who have starkly different customer profiles and operate in unrelated industries. The first newsletter was for a B2B company that sells business technology products to select clients. The second newsletter was for a B2C client in the beauty industry.

While my assumption was that the B2C client’s newsletter would receive better response, I was shocked that the B2B client outperformed the B2C client by nearly 25% on open rate! When I reassessed the two emails I sent, I noted a few important differences that led to the higher open rate.

Curated contact list
I decided to send the technology company’s newsletter to only a select 400 recipients who had actually interacted with the company at some point or were important prospects. I weeded out any people who were “cold email” prospects, and instead only sent it to people who were currently engaged in discussions with the team. For the second client, I sent the emailer to their entire client list of 5000 without any segmentation.

Content, content, content
There is no doubt that content is king, and the content of the two newsletters differed drastically. For the B2C client I put together a beautiful, but generic, New Year’s message. For the B2B client, I instead positioned the emailer as a thank you message to partners and clients that included details about the company’s 2015 operations. The latter approach is more personalised and was appreciated by the recipients.

Sender name
The general practice when sending newsletters used to be that the company name was set as the sender name. So if I was to send out a newsletter to my readers, I would have sent it from an account titled “The Marketing Spark”. This practice is fading away and now the trend is to include actual employee names in formats such as “Maya at The Marketing Spark”. For the B2C company’s newsletter, I set the sender name to be the CEO’s name and then structured the content to be written as a personal note from him. I have no doubt that this is one of the main reasons for the higher open rate.

Keep these three factors in mind the next time you send a seasonal newsletter, or any newsletter in fact, and let me know if you see an increase in your open rate!

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