Time to read: 3.5 minutes. Email newsletter effectiveness. It’s a taboo issue for many marketers. They don’t want to discuss it, let alone measure it. After studying this for years I’ve discovered why and re-arranged my business to exploit what I’ve learned.
The truth: Email newsletters may not be a viable strategy for you.
What is a newsletter? It is a stream of messages businesses send to customers to “keep on the radar.” Messages yakking about … well … the business. At best, most newsletters share valuable content. Whatever that means.
It usually means broadcasting un-provocative information subscribers already know.
Starting to get the picture?
Let’s pretend your email newsletter does add value to customers. Mine did before pulling the plug. How, exactly, does educating potential customers drive sales inquiries?
The best way to generate leads with an email newsletter is to deliver “results before the sale.”
One day I stopped educating potential buyers. Literally. In fact, I was over-teaching my customers. Big mistake. I was scaring them off with all the value I added.
It was too overwhelming for them. Plus, giving all of my knowledge away didn’t lead them to contact me and ask questions.
Instead, I focused on proving I could deliver results—before they invest.
This creates confidence in both your brand and the customer’s own abilities to reach goals and/or avoid disaster. It gives buyers confidence that makes buying the next logical decision.
If you’re not following the trend of disposable and/or temporary email addresses your email marketing is heading for disaster.
Simply put, everyone has an email account that we save for junk. Right? We want something that’s being offered in return for our email address. But damned if we’ll offer our actual email address.
Forget that noise!
So we offer the marketer an email account that self-destructs (is temporary, just long enough for us to get what we want from the marketer) or vanishes immediately. Or one we rarely (if ever) check.
How prevalent is this trend? Google “disposable email” or “temporary email.” Count the hundreds of free providers of throw-away email accounts.
Then ask yourself, “why would so many people need a disposable email account?”
Look no further than your own behavior.
Bottom line: It’s a sign of newsletter overload and a broader distaste for email lists in general.
Are you taking notice? What’s your marketing team’s game plan to combat it?
How do subscribers end up on newsletter lists? In many cases, email newsletter subscribers are leads who filled-out opt-in forms for a “digital goody.” Then they were automatically slammed onto an email newsletter list.
When is the last time you were placed on a newsletter list without being asked it it was cool with you?
It’s pretty common.
You downloaded a white paper, tip sheet, cheat sheet. A digital goodie. Once you got that value-added goodie (using your email address that isn’t) you were subscribed to a newsletter.
But is this what you opted into?
90% of the time the answer is no. Most marketers enroll one-time opt-in leads in their newsletter.
Honest? Good practice? Effectiveness of this tactic?
No, no and zero.
But this practice is VERY common. And common is always less effective. Want exceptional results? Invest in exceptional practices.
Your email list is filing-up with people who you treat as warm leads. But are they? Increasingly, no. But there is a better way.
Ditch the email newsletter format completely.
The best way to generate leads with email is to deliver “results before the sale.” Educating potential buyers but also proving you can deliver results before buyers invest.
By actually delivering some. Free. Think you’ve heard this before? Bear with me.
Can you literally give potential customers a tangible “mini taste” of success? Can you help them solve a problem that relates to their ultimate goal? Can you dramatize the exceptional results of your service—the emotional end result of what it is you get paid to do for customers?
This creates confidence in your brand and the customer. Confidence that makes buying the next logical decision.
In my business, buyers are looking for effective InMail templates … ways to I use LinkedIn’s InMail more effectively. So I provide a 7-day drip sequence of templates complete with guidance on how to use them.
I give my prospects idea-starters to actually test. Immediately. Some customers implement and experience better results. Sometimes within 24 hours.
They get results in advance of spending money with me. They’re filled with confidence. In themselves and, also, in me. They want more.
As part of the email drip sequence leads are invited to attend a live online class. A “clinic” where I help someone like them improve. I give away more more recommendations. I offer more help to people who already experienced benefit from my tips.
I use a Webinar to let leads tap into confidence I just created (via my email tips) for my “volunteer guinea pig.”
Starting to see the difference between adding value and actually moving the needle for customers? Your email subscribers cannot just get smarter—they must get better.
Even if just a little bit.
Giving away “results in advance” creates confidence in both your brand and the customer. Confidence that makes buying the next logical decision.
This primes the pump for a sales person’s interaction. Plus, educational sequences rely on users providing their best email address—not a disposable one.
“Want the improved results over time? You’ve got to give me your real email address.”
When is the last time your newsletter moved the needle?
Given how tired customers are of hearing about us-us-us, are traditional newsletters a viable customer acquisition or account growth strategy?
It’s the question that few marketers are willing to ask. But the more my clients and I ask it the more we sell using email. Good luck!
Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks
Jeff Molander is the authority on starting sales conversations online. He teaches a proven, effective and repeatable communications process to spark buyers curiosity about what you're selling. He's a sought-after sales prospecting trainer to individual reps, teams of sellers and small businesses owners across the globe. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe.
Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.