Ah, the company newsletter—carefully honed and sculpted. Each line contains thoughtful relevant prose. Each week you send it out to your customers who’re waiting with baited breath to read your latest breaking headlines…
For most of us, we’re lucky if our company newsletter hits a 25% open rate (which by the way, is above average), let alone clickthroughs and a low rate of unsubscribes. Most of us try to eke out an acceptable newsletter to remind customers and clients we’re alive and relevant, and hope for a little engagement. Knowing that only a quarter or fewer of our recipients are even bothering to look at our newsletters can be a little deflating—why even bother?
The truth is, email marketing still offers a significant ROI and is a proven effective method for engaging and reaching your customers. Using a consistent, relevant message, marketing across platforms (email, social media, even direct mail) and targeting segmented customer groups with messages relative and specific to them can all help boost your engagement to hit your ultimate goal: happy customers who love your brand.
So if you notice your customer engagement sliding, your newsletter getting ignored or your unsubscribe rate steadily climbing, it might be time to revamp your approach. There are a few reasons you might be losing customer engagement and interest.
1. You’re Coming On Too Strong
When it comes to your newsletter, there are a few factors to consider—first, not every customer is going to read every newsletter, and that’s perfectly okay. If they stay subscribed, and open every few communications, you’re staying ahead of the curve. Your goal should be to keep newsletters relevant, focused on customer engagement, consistent and not overwhelming. In fact, one of the main reasons customers unsubscribe has nothing to do with relevance, but is because the correspondence is too frequent.
When it comes to relevant content, it’s about quality, not quantity. If you send out a newsletter every week and you find you aren’t hitting your engagement target, try scaling back to every other week. It may sound counter-intuitive but it’s far better to leave customers wanting a little more than making the cardinal mistake of leaving them wanting less.
2. Your Subject Lines are Blah
“Standard Company Connect Newsletter: Jan 1, 2017” will almost always get ignored. Why? Because very few people are awaiting the next issue of your newsletter. Instead, try to make your subject lines as riveting and interesting as possible. Subject lines should create a sense of urgency; they should match your content but pique the curiosity of your readers.
“Why we’re breaking up with boring emails today!” will make readers much more intrigued and get them clicking faster than simply telling them “here’s our newsletter”. Ask a question in your subject line, hit on a relevant current event or topic, or give customers an incentive to find out more.
3. Your Format is Snooze-Worthy
Most mail clients like MailChimp offer formatting options. Just because you’re limited to the body of an email, doesn’t mean you have to keep things text heavy and black & white. While a header with your logo is important, offering a nice mix of text and imagery keeps your newsletter interesting, visually stimulating and mobile friendly.
Always include links to read more, and simply offer a teaser rather than a full article in the body of the newsletter. This keeps customers clicking to read further, and it also keeps them from running away from a bunch of text that looks overwhelming. Teasers should follow the rule of thumb with your subject lines—leave them wanting more, asking questions and dying to click to find out the whole story.
4. Your Delivery is Inconsistent
If your customers receive your newsletter irregularly (or as we said before too frequently) it can be frustrating and cause them to unsubscribe. There are many great newsletters out there that fall onto one talented employee’s to do list. When that employee leaves, or has a shift in priorities, the newsletter becomes inconsistent.
A/B test your newsletters, and follow your analytics to see which customers are clicking and opening your emails and how you can leverage your email list to boost your sales. B2B emails might differ from customer reads, so know your industry and your audience. Look at which headlines and content pieces are getting the most clicks, as well as the time, day of the week and other delivery factors. Maybe you should send emails out overnight, or first thing in the morning? Maybe your customers like to catch up with your newsletter during their lunch or afternoon break.
Consider letting your customers know what they can expect when they sign up for your newsletter. Tell them how often they can expect to hear from you, and constantly assess the frequency and relevancy to make sure it’s meeting your customer’s expectations.
5. You’re too Internally Focused
Another email mistake? Making your newsletter too internally-focused, using industry jargon, inside jokes or stories that aren’t relevant to your customers. While it might be interesting that your CEO was honored at a banquet, your customers probably don’t want to read more than a caption on a photo or a small blurb about it. Don’t make internal news the focus of your newsletter or you will lose your audience. So often the newsletter writer ends up creating the newsletter they would want to read, not what their customer cares about.
One of the easy fixes to this problem is to get some extra eyes on your newsletter. Ask a coworker in a different department to read your newsletter, send it out to a customer/friend first to ask them their feedback, or better yet? Ask for your customers to tell you what they would like to see, and then follow it! Most people prefer newsletters and cool emails that apply to them directly. Segment your customer list, and keep notes on their preferences. Use a CRM to target the needs of your customers and make sure the content you’re presenting is something THEY would want to read.
Keep your newsletters fun, engaging and interesting. Share tips and tricks, news and pieces of information. Give your customers pointers on how they can use your products or services. Share video—make it funny, emotional or informative. Tell a story and talk about how your company is changing lives, helping or making the world a better place.
Your newsletters should be newsworthy. Keep the information interesting and engaging. Reach your customers with pieces they want to read and news they need.