Do you ditch most of the print or email newsletters you get without opening them? So do I, because they’re full of generic marketing fluff that’s useless to me. Here are some tips for keeping your newsletters out of the trash bin or deleted folder.

DON’T just repeat old news or advice. Every winter or summer the AAA mails me a newsletter telling me to check the belts and hoses, the antifreeze, battery and tires on my car in advance of the coming season. If I don’t know this after hearing the same advice for the 30-odd years I’ve been a member, it’s not likely to suddenly make me value my AAA membership more.

DO pair old advice with new insights, suggestions or offers. For example: "A recent AAA survey shows you can save an average of $25 by doing your seasonal car checkup yourself." Or (even better): "Here are ten new service rip-offs to avoid when you bring your car in for its seasonal checkup." In the IT space, if you’re recapping the top product or customer win for the quarter, supplement that with a customer case study or a Q&A with a product manager about industry trends.

DON’T waste space offering readers generic information. Every spring, my accountant sends me an email with tax advice like "Be sure to max out your contribution to your (401)k." He thinks he’s being helpful but is actually showing me I’m a faceless customer by giving me the same advice that’s true for 95 percent of his clients.

DO provide advice that is tailored, if not to individual customers than at least to broad swaths of your customer base. If the economy is up, my accountant could offer advice on how to minimize taxes when your pay jumps suddenly from year to year. If the economy is down, offer tax tips for a recently laid-off senior manager. In the IT space, if your customer base includes both OEMs and end users, what are some of the top industry trends each group needs to know about?   

DON’T be bland. My Realtor sends me helpful tips about selling my home, like putting a pie i the oven so the place will smell more homey. (She obviously hasn’t tasted my cooking.) I bet she’s got better, more spicy tips up her sleeve. For example: Prices are up 10-15 percent in community "A" because of a favorable news story about their school system, while prices are down $5,000 to $7,000 in condo complex "B" because of a recent roof repair assessment. In the IT space, share some of the common best practices — or mistakes — customers make in implementing your product, or which technologies are hot in the various verticals you serve. None of this information is top secret or libelous, but including it in your newsletter makes customers far more likely to read it, and to consider you an industry expert. 

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email or call me at 508 725-7258.

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