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Newsletters: Are they for our industry?

12 July 2017

Garry Lewis, Marketing & Communications Manager, Mitsubishi Electric asks whether newsletters have a place in 21st Century marketing.

Did you know that ‘Millennial’ (born in 1995 or later), and even more so Generation ‘Z’ (post-millennial) consider email passé? 

Some universities have even stopped distributing email accounts in preference to sharing news updates on private or public social media channels. Lecturers are using eReaders, iPads and Tablet technology, sharing notes and information via video conferencing and even Whatsapp.

With this in mind, perhaps the question should be raised in a much wider context… do newsletters have a place in 21st Century marketing at all? The answer in my humble opinion is still very much a yes; as long as the reason for sending is clear, the audience is targeted and the content is ready to excite.

Let me give you an example outside of the industry and I promise to link it back! Just bear with me for now.

In 2011, Artiphon* was launched through a seven-figure Kickstarter campaign as a way to empower people to play different music apps the way you would an actual instrument. 

The launch was carried out via email, with a brief to make them ‘worth reading, absorbing and learning,’ to the extent and I quote: “We like to deliver content where people can see themselves in it.”

From a sign up form embedded on its website, Artiphon collected a list of 1,000 subscribers to email about the launch of their Kickstarter campaign. The night before it went live, it sent an email to get subscribers excited, which had a 54 percent open rate and 25 percent click rate.

The next morning, it sent another email, again with a link to the Kickstarter page. This e-newsletter had an open rate of 50 percent and click rate of 28 percent. Just for the record, the average open rate is 27 percent for the arts industry, with a click rate of 2.85 percent**.

Through the campaigns, Artiphon continued to send emails and grew their list size about 90 percent. On completion of the campaign, it added a compliant checkbox to its sign up form to capture email addresses from people who might have missed the campaign but wanted to know when its produce would be available. A series of four automated emails introduces new subscribers to the product and those opted in, are sent each email, unless they have made a purchase since they received the previous one.

The emails all remain consistent in being very clean and content specific. Their aim is to pull customers towards purchase, not push.

Today, Artiphon sees email newsletters as an integral part of its marketing mix, but all whilst sticking to its very clear initial brief. It enjoys a community of 5,000 loyal music makers, who are happy to promote their commitment and extend the reach of any email content received through their own social media – all for the benefit of Artiphon.

Now back to our industry, what can we learn and how can we incorporate any lessons taken to show how email newsletters are a valid part of any marketing mix in our industry?

The critical lesson to take is to plan newsletters, in terms of their content and timings.  If you have a new product, new service, an event coming up (company focused or industry exhibition), new marketing sales material, styling content is key right from the subject line – don’t hide or clutter the news.

Secondly, remember the recipients of your newsletter have signed up to receive your newsletter. Or this better be the case, especially with regards to GDPR regulations coming into force next year.  

With this in mind, it is your duty to keep your recipients interested and your newsletters targeted to news they want to receive – which may depend on their sector interest or if they are new or existing, or potential customers. 

One size certainly does not fit all when it comes to newsletters.  

Finally, be consistent in your style and the sending of your newsletter. This will reflect on the quality of your news, which is much more important than quantity to achieve desired results of followers and engagement.  

To see how you’re really fairing, make sure you check your statistics on a regular basis – key to success are the open rates and number of click-throughs achieved.

In summary, newsletters are right as a valuable part of the marketing mix. Latest statistics suggest in manufacturing, the average open rate** is 21.74 percent, with a click-through rate of average 2.33 percent; which is on par with other industries. So we must be doing something right but as with everything, there is always room for improvement!

So, despite inbox fatigue amongst newer generations and the rise of social media, the humble e-newsletter remains the workhorse for manufacturing. Like all marketing, its nature has evolved and in a world of personal marketing, will only be successful when planned meticulously.

Continued success in our industry at least, is in the details. Get this right, and your newsletters will look like they are written for the individual recipient. Why is this so important for us to get right? Because of the heavy emphasis we place on relationships and what better way to make an impact, than sending news of interest on a regular basis?

* Detail of Artiphon taken from Mailchimp’s blog
** Latest statistics from Mailchimp’s “Average Email Campaign Stats of Mailchimp Customers By Industry”

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