eNewsletters – stuff frequency, it’s all about relevance

Reading through recent articles and company eNewsletters, it has become apparent that people still think an eNewsletter is just an opportunity to blab about how great their company/product is.

The problem with this aberration is that while you may get-off on hearing about how wonderful your goods are, how many awards you’ve won and all the neato features your product/service offer – your users don’t.

As part of this mindset people also still seem caught up with the question “How frequently should I send my eNewsletter?”

What they fail to realise is that it’s not really their choice, it’s their users and the answer is: As frequently as your readership will tolerate.

That’s it. No science behind it, because at the end of the day if you over-hit someone’s inbox, they’ll hate you for it. It doesn’t take testing or user studies to tell you that – it’s fact.

Now the issue with this is that your readership will only tolerate an eNewsletter if it’s perceived by THEM to be relevant. That’s right, they rate relevance over frequency.

The main reason for this is that when companies decide to do an eNewsletter they often end up creating content for the sake of getting the eNewsletter out to a schedule and that’s when you get your company back-slapping and ego-inflating content.

So, stop thinking frequency and start thinking RELEVANCE.

Stop asking the question “How frequently should I send my eNewsletter?” and start asking “Is this piece of content really (really really really) relevant and valuable in the readers mind?”.

Now, because this is important I’ll say it again just to make sure it sinks in – it’s not about frequency, it’s about relevance.

Relevance is about ensuring your CONTENT and message in your eNewsletter actually makes a difference to the reader. Corporate propaganda and marketing hype really doesn’t make that much of a difference to a reader. So, what does?

Value-added information is what matters, and the less overtly related to your product/company, the better.

Shock, horror – but what about getting our brand/key messages/value propositions/specials in front of them? What about the fact that eNewletters are a great way to get all of our long winded guff and back slapping praise in front of our prospects and brainwash them into buying our product? – you ask.

Stuff it (well most of it anyway).

Your eNewsletter (and by association you) will be valued more highly if you’re actually helping the reader or giving them information they don’t already know, or may know but need from another source explicitly to help them win a case for buying just such a product/service as you happen to offer (that case could be in their own head may I add).

So, rather than getting wound-up about the frequency and including bland information such as your latest media release about the newly appointed GM of Widgets, or the fact you won the latest “We paid lots of money to win this” award, think about a few common problems your audience may be facing or information needs they may have and write about those.

Even better, find third party information that validates your offering, include an overview and link in your eNewsletter to this information (I don’t mean someone praising your product, either).

Then you’re providing REAL information and not just you-centred information. This will be of greater interest and will be more relevant to the reader. In doing so they’ll feel more loyal to your eNewsletter and your brand or product by association.

Now, I’m not saying get rid of all of the overt propaganda, but try to balance it with stuff that actually adds value to the readers life, otherwise you’re just bugging them and it doesn’t take much to swipe you outta their inbox permanently.

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