Are your enewsletters helping customers engage with your brand?

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If you run a regular enewsletter, make sure you have a content plan to best make use of your database. Send valuable messages  to your customers and prospects and you’ll be rewarded with increased engagement, leads and retention.  Newsletters are a valuable and cost-effective communication tool, which can help your brand resonate with your target market.

‘Your’ newsletter: The time has come to put your newsletter together and you’re thinking to yourself “what do I have to say that’s news worthy and customers will want to read about?” Well here’s where the term your newsletter becomes redundant. Just because it’s yours, doesn’t mean it should be all about you…

So how do you know what to write about and when?

1. What’s trending

Start by looking at search trends to work out what’s coming up. Google Insights can help you identify search trends in your market, and this is a great way to anticipate topics that are clearly of interest. http://www.google.com/insights/search/

2. What’s topical

Social networking platforms are a great way to identify hot topics and up-and-coming ones. With the world conversing openly on social networks, you have easy access to the kind of insights that marketers used to pay for. Look at the discussions your target audience are having and don’t ignore them – use them to your advantage. If they’re relevant (your number 1 priority!), make sure you don’t miss out – produce content around the topic and use that in your newsletter.

Use your annual marketing plan to create integrated content. You’ve planned out the year for a reason. Make sure your newsletter features valuable content related to your wider marketing campaigns to maximise their reach.

3. What knowledge is at your fingertips?

Your client base and commercial partners are great sources of content too. Just putting a line in your newsletter requesting guest bloggers is a start, and why not ask commercial partners if you can use their videos, images and other media?

Make sure you tap all the following resources for content and content ideas:

– Client base – Employees – Board of directors – Outsource options – Commercial partners – Your personal and professional social networks

Top tip: On Twitter, use bit.ly reverse spying to see how your competitors’ shortened links performed – just add the plus symbol to any bit.ly link to see the stats. If topic a doesn’t work for them – focus your attention elsewhere.

 4. Let customers tell you what they want

Giving your readers options of what you contact them about will seriously increase your chances of your newsletter being opened or read. Set up a simple email preference centre asking questions related to your offering, such as ‘are you involved in specifying green roofing?’ or ‘are you interested in CPD seminars?

If you are operating in a B2B environment, split up your preference centre by brands or services, or specific industries, depending on your product and service areas. It’s a sure way to increase open rates and engagement.

Most people will fill out their preferences if it means they get the emails they are interested in; it also shows that you care about your customers by giving them the option.

However, if you are going to go down this route, you need to make sure you follow through on their requests. Nothing more annoying than filling out your details for them to be ignored! You can use email platforms to help you create dynamic content and segmentation queries to manage the process effectively and automatically, saving you time and making insight and tracking easy to see how much more engaged your customers are being?

Guest Post by Emma Raw,   Marketing Executive at the DotDigitalGroup  Follow dotmailer on twitter @dotmailer

ESI.info provides qualified lists of professional designers, specifiers and buyers, enabling you to confidently target the right people. So if you’re looking to increase your email marketing activity then talk to our Research Manager,  Liz Robertson  Tel. 01786 407009 to discuss your data requirements.

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