Why Most Newsletters Don’t Work
part one: Success and How to Monitor it
Some people beleive that newsletters don’t work. Often, they’re right. In a world where most newsletters don’t work, confusion about how to define newsletter success is common.
what’s it good for
Over the past twenty-plus years, I have paid attention to many newsletters. I can tell you why most don’t work. It starts with confusion about what newsletters are good for. Confusion about how to monitor success comes from that.
how many next-day phone calls
Many newsletter issuers expect their newsletter to generate results as soon as it arrives. Most newsletters do generate results. Yet, when the results expected are new sales promptly following each issue, many newsletter issuers eventually conclude that newsletters don’t work. By that gauge of success, they’re right.
check your perspective
From a short-term sales perspective, an ineffective newsletter should be cancelled. But first, consider other perspectives. For example, think from the perspective of the impression left on readers. What impression would it leave on you to receive a few newsletters, then none at all, from your accountant? your lawyer? your investment advisor?
what newsletters do
Because of mismatched expectations, many who issue newsletters conclude either that newsletter success is hard to achieve, or that newsletters just don’t work. Yet, I see something in these situations that often escapes people struggling with an unsuccessful newsletter: A newsletter shapes people’s perceptions.
four brand effects
Every newsletter functions as a reputation-shaping instrument of brand management. Any newsletter will:
a newsletter makes an impression
How does this fit into a context where more sales and good referrals are wanted now? Consider the following example.
maintain meaningful contact
Thousands receive a newsletter from their local credit union and would never attend a competitor’s grand opening in their own neighbourhood. They’re so loyal to the credit union that they don’t want the bank’s cupcakes or door prizes. A good read every time, the credit union’s newsletter refreshes their loyalty every three months. It maintains meaningful contact with them. It’s a tool of client retention. Good referrals come unsolicited from its readers.
effective at what
The problems solved by the credit union newsletter in this example include:
watch the numbers
Watch-the-books managers of enterprises that issue newsletters should measure and monitor:
monitor over time
Review these metrics on a quarterly basis and compare each quarter for at least two years while issuing a newsletter that readers like. Use this review to adjust newsletter performance goals in tandem with updates to business performance goals.
steady; no spikes
A good newsletter might not cause a spike in sales. It can prevent losing a client to wooing by competitors, though. It can also get clients to broaden the range of business they bring to the newsletter issuer (e.g. a mortgage renewal application after years of just chequing accounts). What business problems do you want to solve? Is it reasonable to expect a newsletter to help solve them?
client relations success
Newsletters shape market perception, first and foremost, and can help to maintain hundreds of business relationships with meaningful engagement. Those who accept this and apply it wisely can find great success with newsletters. Those who expect each issue to boost sales or to bring new customers ought to consider other methods to achieve those objectives. A newsletter regarded as good by its readers can improve business measurably over time as a tool of client relationship management.
- Glenn R Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.
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