PUTTING TOGETHER A B-TO-B E-NEWSLETTER? FOCUS ON THE ACTUAL READER, NOT THE COMPANY
Craig Fitzgerald, editorial director of Waltham, MA-based e-newsletter firm IMN, offers some quick tips on what types of content do — and don't — create B-to-B e-newsletter reader loyalty.
Look at who is actually getting a particular newsletter. For example, say you run a dental equipment supply company and your audience is dental offices. Now, if you know the office administrator is reading your newsletter, you need to try to reach that person, rather than appeal to the dentist. Consider content on vacations. Since it's B-to-B, it might not make sense on the surface, but it works. If you're targeting car dealerships, provide content that's not only on topic, but also highlights fun things to do that are within a day's drive of the dealership. Those articles are read more frequently than the ones about the dealership, and create the opportunity to connect with the reader.
Don't get too frivolous, but remember that B-to-B marketers are people too. If your newsletter is only offers like, “Hey, here's what we've got to sell this week!” no one is going to opt in to that. It's the cover. Good content earns you the right to advertise.
Don't bother with things like a welcome letter from the president. Use content that can actually help people with what they do. If you're providing something mechanical, consider links to videos of product demonstrations.
Don't just use the medium as a secondary press kit, or force what materials you already have to fit into a newsletter format. And you can't just be repetitive and provide the same content in a newsletter that you put on your Facebook page. You need to customize your content for the medium, make it fresh and interesting, and optimize it for your newsletter.
Got an email tip to share? Contact Beth Negus Viveiros at email@example.com