Most B2B companies know the importance of having a properly executed digital marketing strategy that includes email marketing. As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, sending marketing emails to current clients and leads is not a dying or dead marketing tactic. It is a very useful and effective way to communicate with target B2B audiences. In fact, email marketing statistics show that 93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content[i].
Research also shows that one type of marketing email that is still used by most marketers is the e-newsletter:
- 83 percent of B2B companies use e-newsletters as part of their content marketing program
- 40 percent of B2B marketers say e-newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success
But not all e-newsletters are effective. So, if you’re considering adding an e-newsletter to your email marketing process, there are a few very important guidelines to remember that will improve your chances of success with this B2B marketing tactic.
Understand the Purpose of Your
Sending out an e-newsletter with no purpose is a waste of time for both you and the person receiving it.
Unlike B2C e-newsletters that are structured to be very sales-oriented (think of all the promotions and conversion-driven marketing tactics you receive in your inbox every day), the purpose of a B2B e-newsletter is to help your brand develop and nurture the relationship you have with your prospects and clients. This is done with content that is both informative and enjoyable for your audience to receive. Ultimately, recipients need to feel that they’ve learned something new and were provided with access to additional information that may be useful to their business (e.g., “Learn more,” “Get the e-book,” etc.).
Essays Are Not for E-Newsletter Stories
There are three things you should always keep in mind when preparing and structuring content for your e-newsletter:
- Who your readers are
- What value you’re hoping readers will get from each story
- Content must be short, direct, and relevant
Consider that 281 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2018 and that that figure is expected to increase to over 347 billion emails daily in 2022[ii]. Your e-newsletter is one of hundreds of emails your recipients will probably receive in a day. Most people barely have time to read a 200-word promo email, so they probably will not be interested in reading a 1000-word e-newsletter story.
Unfortunately, that means every time you send someone an e-newsletter that’s too long and wordy, it contributes to their decision to eventually stop reading it, or anything from you, altogether. The best way to prevent an extra-long, boring, text-heavy e-newsletter is to focus on two rules of thumb:
- Images are your friend. Use them to break up text and deliver messages visually.
- Don’t overburden your e-newsletter with the longest version of every story or idea. Use headlines and short text blurbs as introductions to calls to action that link to more information, if the reader wants it.
Storytelling Does Have Its Time and Place
There’s one exception to the rule of longer form content and how it’s used and applied to e-newsletters — it’s when you’re telling a story.
Storytelling in B2B marketing has become an important content marketing tactic. This style of writing is meant to share information with a reader in the form of a story and general narrative. Within the story, the author shares a lesson that was learned or connects the lesson to a service or product the brand offers.
A great example of marketing storytelling can be found in our Road to Marketing Nirvana Series that we launched late last year. Each piece in the series tells an amusing tale from the author’s experiences in the marketing field. The series in general made for great email marketing and newsletter fodder. But, when we shared these stories with our target audience, we didn’t copy and paste the stories in their entirety. Instead, we provided a blurb or teaser with a call to action that pointed to the full piece.
Less Is More
Ultimately, when it comes to e-newsletters, the old adage that “less is more” does apply.
Having a properly structured, informative newsletter says a lot about your business to your target audience. When done properly, it can be a strong piece of the marketing puzzle that presents you as a thought leader in your industry. It can engage readers by offering relevant, value-oriented information. And if the content is interesting enough, they will want to take some form of action by either following a link, downloading a rich piece of content, or connecting with your sales team.
[i] “The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats for 2019,” HubSpot, https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats
[ii] “Number of e-mails per day worldwide 2017-2023,” Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/456500/daily-number-of-e-mails-worldwide/