Despite the proliferation of multiple online channels that everyone and your grandmother use, email marketing remains popular and often effective. However, we're here to talk about a specific type of email marketing, the controversial B2B newsletters.
Let's put it this way: Have you ever read an interesting newsletter? It's not the most exciting form of communication, is it? Imagine getting several each week from companies you work with but barely know! But the reason brands keep on producing B2B newsletters is because they can be very effective for brand engagement when done properly. In other words, if you are going to spend the time on an email newsletter filled with company business, then you need to make it something worth reading. Here's how to do it:
1. Follow the 90/10 Rule: This rule states that 90% of your newsletter should be educational content, and 10% should be promotional. There's some wiggle room here – for example, if your newsletter is incredibly entertaining, you can probably move more away from educational pieces. However, for most brands, particular industrial B2B brands, the 90/10 rule is a good one to follow. It keeps your content focused and avoids meaningless fluff that most readers will ditch rather than dive into.
2. Consider Awareness and Timing Carefully: How can you build brand awareness here – in other words, how often should you be sending these newsletters out? The answer is: Frequently enough to keep your brand present in peoples' minds, but not too often that they get annoyed by your spamming and make an email filter or unsubscribe. Look at your own clients and client goals for this point. If you have lots of regular clients that you interact with frequently, then they already spend time thinking about you (awww) and a monthly or semi-annual newsletter is probably enough. If you are more focused on new clients or clients you only communicate with infrequently, then more frequent newsletters can help – maybe even one per week.
3. Layout Matters – Keep It Simple: Generally, keep your newsletter in a vertical format with generous use of white space between articles. Stick with short paragraphs, and use only a few major pieces. Make sure it can easily be read on mobile!
4. Tease: Hint at upcoming topics in future newsletters, mention places where you'll be announcing exciting new information, and always try to give readers a reason to keep opening your newsletters.
5. Give Multiple Reasons to Subscribe: Throw out as many hooks as possible to give people a reason to sign up for newsletters. Don't promise just one discount, but promise multiple deals now and in the future – tie it to your customer loyalty program if possible. Promise insider news they can't get elsewhere. Promise crossword puzzles if it will pull in more subscribers.
6. Create a Specific Theme: For more unique newsletters, get as specific as possible. If you sell PVC pipe, instead of making a letter about the whole PVC industry, make a newsletter about one specific niche, like craziest PVC model projects or largest uses of PVC in North America or smartest PVC DIY fix – you get the idea. These themed newsletters often do very well among bored clients scanning their emails.
7. Make the Subject Line Perfect: Let's go over some don'ts: Don't get too promotional, too vague, or too weird. Avoid exclamation points (well okay, maybe one). Don't capitalize everything. Don't be boring. Don't lie. If your subject line can meet all these don'ts, that's a good sign it will give people a reason to click.
8. Find Out What Clients Respond To: Study the conversion rates for your newsletter CTAs. What do your clients respond most strongly to? What links do they follow dependably? For your next newsletter, focus more on that type of content. Repeat this process regularly.