Newsletters play a critical role in building and maintaining brand equity and loyalty and are often overlooked and relegated to just “another customer touch point” by marketers. Newsletters carry a highly emotional appeal to customers, so expectations run high. By contrast, websites are deemed as “functional” and social networks are best suited for alerts, conversations and condensed messaging. Studies have shown this stems in part from the trust customers demonstrate in a brand when signing up for a newsletter, they do so based on a perceived promise to deliver value, and in turn provide their personal information. Deliver Spam, marketing dominated messaging, or irrelevant content and you will not only see unsubscribe rates rise but your brand equity will diminish rapidly!
Now is the time for brand managers to reexamine e-newsletters; resolve to check your newsletter for potential flaws and optimize the experience to provide customers with the brand experience they are expecting. Customers are more time-starved and information overloaded than ever before; newsletter success can be achieved by following a few key guidelines:
1. Get real…fast! In a recent study by Nielsen Group it was found that the number of new or unread messages in users’ email accounts is 300% higher than it was 4 years ago. Recipients are now paying greater attention to subject lines and message previews than ever before, so avoid catchy or trite subject lines and get to the point in as few words as possible. In the preview pane viewing area (approx the top 300px) ensure your unique value proposition (UVP) and messaging are not image dependent, since more than fifty percent of all recipients will have images suppressed.
2. Everybody is getting mobile. The current adoption rate of mobile devices and e-readers is nothing short of wild. Studies are finding that users will read newsletters and longer format content on mobile devices while in transit or during spare moments. Capitalize on this fact by making design considerations to accommodate the emerging mobile reading habits of your brand advocates.
3. Keep loyalists loyal. Your newsletter subscribers are some of your most loyal brand advocates, prioritize them over the general public or individuals within your social networks, and make the content matter, send your newsletter before you tweet the content.