Let's talk about newsletters.

If you're reading this post, you probably email newsletters to your clients and people who have signed up to receive your newsletter on your website. How is that working for you?

  • What's your open rate?*
  • Is it getting you qualified leads (or any leads at all)?
  • Do people notice when they don't get your newsletter on schedule?

If things are going well for you, great. But you're in the minority.

According to Hubspot, 83 percent of B2B companies use enewsletters as part of their content marketing program, but only 40 percent of B2B marketers say email newsletters are "most critical" to their content marketing success. Now, 40 percent isn't a small percentage, but that means that over half say a newsletter isn't mission-critical to their marketing success.

Most people don't read newsletters because they perceive that there is no compelling reason to do so. Yes, they signed up for it. They were interested at the time in a service or product you offer or maybe they were enticed by the discount you offered as a means to getting their email address. The key words here are interested at the time. That time has passed; in fact, it's long gone.

How do you resurrect that spark of interest? Try this.

1. Abandon Your Newsletter

First, let's jettison your newsletter. If it's not working for you, continuing to labor at it is just wasted time that you could be using more purposefully in your content marketing.

I know. You've put a lot of work into that newsletter. You've managed to hit your monthly target date for putting it out regularly. It's a huge accomplishment. But you have very little to lose by experimenting with how you deliver that content if the newsletter format isn't effectively doing its job.

2. Use Targeted Lead Magnets Instead

Take the information previously housed in your newsletter and break it down into targeted lead magnets that either solve a problem, answer a question, or provide information about an event or opportunity. It's the same information you have been providing, just done in smaller, more targeted, and more easily digestible bites.

You could then segment your email list by who is interested in which types of lead magnet and make it even more compelling for those people to open your email.

Does this mean you're emailing your list more often than your typical once-a-month newsletter? Very likely. But instead of dumping a bunch of information in a newsletter they may not be reading, you are offering them a bite-sized piece of information, targeting something that will help them survive or thrive and giving you a greater chance of actually reaching them.

Come up with a catchier name than "newsletter" and send your lead magnets out to the people who signed up for news from you. Change your signup form to reflect the new name and new direction (you can even add self-segmentation into the signup form by asking "what are you most interested in?") and see what happens.

Bonus: Make sure your lead magnets feature a compelling narrative or conversational story combined with stimulating visuals and you will win the selective attention of your readers (not their shortened attention span, which is a myth).

*According to a study Campaign Monitor did for 2019, the benchmark average open rate for any email marketing in any industry was 17.92 percent. That correlates with the old rule of thumb for a good email campaign: 15 to 20 percent open rate (people opened your email) and 2 to 3 percent click-through rate (people clicked on a link or a linked image in your email). If you're not getting those kinds of stats with your newsletter, I urge you to consider trying targeted lead magnets instead.

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