Are we REALLY suggesting a newsletter? Does anyone even check their email anymore? Why are we talking about a hated form of communication?
Because, as it turns out, when used properly, newsletters can be very effective. And, there are some situations where a newsletter makes sense for your B2B company.
Let’s look into the value newsletters can offer you.
Why have a newsletter?
Newsletters can be internal or external marketing. That is, they can provide information to your clients/potential clients OR to your employees. We will talk about utilizing newsletters for both types of audiences.
As we literally just said, newsletters are a way of delivering information that your current or potential clients want to know. For B2C businesses this can look like emails advertising sales. For B2B businesses that don’t typically utilize discounts as a way of getting leads in the pipeline, marketing managers may be left wondering how they can utilize newsletters to lead to new clients.
Internal Marketing: In regards to internal marketing, newsletters are a great way for companies to keep their employees feeling like they are in the loop. Staff finding out information about big decisions or new ventures from gossip is demoralizing. That’s why it’s important to have a structured way to regularly communicate important information to staff, whether you are a small group of 5 or a large company of 500 – keeping your employees in the loop is important!
What makes for a good B2B newsletter?
Since “30% off” isn’t going to be an offer you are likely to make, you need to think of what you can offer readers that will make them not only want to open the newsletter, but not immediately unsubscribe. A good B2B newsletter provides information the reader wants to know. Depending on your industry it could be an update on current events in your field, the key takeaways from a recent event, or even a sales promotion (when relevant).
The more niche your market, the more readers will appreciate insightful commentary on regulations or other deliberations that are relevant to your industry. That’s because there are probably fewer media organizations offering these types of pieces, and if you are talking about decisionmaking that will impact your reader, they will venture the click to learn more, or perhaps even share your newsletter/blog post with others.
A good newsletter can also inform about things other people/businesses are doing. A list of upcoming events related to your industry adds a lot of value in that it saves the reader from having to do that research on their own and is something likely to be shared.
If you’re lacking insightful commentary, you can always share useful information. Links to blog posts that discuss tips for operations in your industry, terms for people trying to get the lingo, or other lessons learned from a recent project are examples of general information that makes you look experienced in your field without being overly promotional. The key to sharing information is to make sure that the goal of the article is to provide valuable information to the reader and NOT just to let them know that you are awesome and a thought leader in your industry.
Internal Marketing: Depending on the size of your company, you’ll want your employees to put together the content for you. For one client I ask each department to send updates for me to share by a deadline. This removes the burden from one person getting all of the information and potentially forgetting something and allows you to set up an ongoing email/event reminder so you can set and forget your content requests for your newsletter.
Aside from staff letting you know what they are working on and what they are proud of, it’s nice to also include an employee spotlight or other opportunity to highlight staff and help coworkers get to know each other in a more casual way. Employee spotlights may also be nice for an external (B2B) email to put a human face on your company’s activities.
How often should a newsletter be sent?
A good newsletter isn’t sent out too often. If the recipient sees too many of your emails unread in your inbox they are probably going to unsubscribe. I recommend only sending a newsletter when you have something of value to offer. This is a great way to ensure repeat readers. You might want to give a goal of once a month to yourself or marketing staff just to make sure that you aren’t missing opportunities, but if the reminder comes along to send a newsletter and you really don’t feel like you have ANYTHING to send – don’t.
Internal Marketing: For internal marketing, it’s valuable to send out newsletters on a regular basis (such as every Friday morning while staff are drinking coffee and getting ready for their day, or the 1st and 15th of the month), so staff will know to expect it. Regular intervals also keep the newsletters short enough that they are more likely to be read. A once-a-month newsletter might have too much information and just be skipped.
Alternatives to newsletters
You might be thinking, these all sound like great ideas, but they just aren’t relevant to MY business. Newsletters serve a specific purpose, so whatever alternative is offered would need to check those boxes.
A social media group (such as WhatsApp or a Facebook group) could be a viable alternative way of updating clients about information. Social media groups are great for Community Management, that is post-sales customer success management (yes those are a lot of buzzwords, but they mean things) for many industries. Posts will be missed, but then again a 20% open rate for a newsletter campaign can be considered successful.
Internal Marketing: A common feature for businesses, especially ones that are remote or with many satellite offices is a company portal that shares relevant news and updates. For a smaller business, a bulletin board (for in-person offices).
There you have it – the in-and-outs for newsletters for your B2B business. Interested in more advice on how to improve your business’ marketing? Contact us via the header or footer on this page and let’s talk.