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Enewsletter marketing – are you getting the sell, inform, entertain balance right?

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 14 Feb, 2011
Essential Essential topic

Creating an enewsletter that keeps subscribers engaged

As I've shown with these examples, the design and layout of your email newsletter is important, but it's the content of course, which really helps engagement. The chart below shows that online users aren't set on shopping primarily, rather it's learning, having fun or socializing!

Source: RF Intent Index

The sell-inform-entertain balance

For me, getting the correct balance between using your newsletters as a sales tool and adding other types of value is key to their success. This applies equally to other e-communications like a blog, Facebook or Twitter.

This is example of how NOT to do it. I have subscribed to the Dell e-update for over ten years now I think in the vain hope they might go beyond pushing the latest promotions and voucher codes at me every week.

Fine if I want to buy, and keeping Dell in mind, but nothing to help me learn about the latest developments, discussions or how I could use my PC more productively.

I'm sure you will have seen other examples of overselling, but maybe also underselling where the call-to-action or connections to products is too limited.

As well as different types of feature, think about how you can use your e-newsletter to give a sense of community and engage the audience.

You should explain your newsletter proposition i.e. how it will deliver value to subscribers, for example, through:

  • Saving time. By providing a single, up-to-date source.
  • Learning. Increasing knowledge and solving day-to-day problems.
  • Saving money. For instance through exclusive offers or offering new ways of working through a company’s products.
  • Entertaining. All newsletters can and should be fun for their audiences – this is not only the preserve of consumer newsletters.
  • Sharing. Sharing information about your organisation or facilitating sharing of content from customers.

These type of offers are similar across B2B and B2C, but you need to sketch out how you will benefit the reader. I think many of the examples of design and layout of your email newsletter show the following well:

B2B Proposition B2C Proposition
Make my work easier Make my life easier
Help me develop Help me learn / have fun
Make me look good Make me look good
Give me a great deal Give me a great deal

Having clear goals around the value you want to offer will help internal copywriters focus and can also be defined on the website to encourage signup.

For business-to-business e-newsletters, think about how you can add value by acting as a filter for information about your market sectors. Your enewsletters can potentially Alert, Aggregate and Distil information as we try to do through the SmartInsights.com enewsletter with market alerts, industry trends and in-depth best practice case studies. But to deliver this information-based value will not be cheap as the content will have to be up-to-date, relevant, accurate, concise and clearly presented.

What works for you? How do you define your enewsletter proposition? Who do you think does this well? Please let us know!

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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