The benefits of producing newsletters for B2B customers are well documented – they can be sources of helpful, interesting, free information that double as useful marketing and lead nurturing tools. They are a great way to educate your existing customers about your products and services and can be a powerful vehicle to help you sell to them!

So why is it that so many companies miss out on opportunities that newsletters afford by filling them with poor or ill-conceived content? Good content is absolutely critical to newsletter success, but bad content can jeapordise business by actively turning customers off your company. At the very least that individual you worked hard to get on to your email list might just unsubscribe.

While eye-catching headlines, brilliant images and stylish layout are all important elements of a first class newsletter, they are redundant without engaging content. In light of Google’s Penguin 2.0 update you probably already know that good content has never been more important. An e-mail newsletter is probably one of the best ways to socially amplify this content in a technology B2B environment.

The number one golden rule is not to treat a newsletter as a sales brochure. Keep it objective and full of useful information, with maybe just a hint of ‘soft sell’.

For technology companies, one major danger is to be over-technical. This is a mistake; newsletters should convey an easy-to-read, conversational tone. Though for the reader that does want to delve deeper be sure  to provide routes to other, relevant content such as videos, infographics and white papers. And, as the majority of today’s newsletters are provided in an electronic format they are perfect for links, prominent social sharing buttons or highlighted text that will take readers to further information and/or share other great content – all of which supports ongoing SEO activities.

Bear in mind that customers will receive daily e-mails with scores of offers to “read this”, so any newsletter needs to stand out. Consider regular sections as these can soon become reader favourites. Ideas might include: practical tips and how-to articles; teaser pieces on upcoming product releases; ask the expert; customer spotlights; quizzes or competitions; thoughts from the MD; and previews of imminent events.

Ultimately there are only two types of newsletters – those that get read and those that get deleted immediately. And one obvious – though often overlooked – way of increasing the chance of your newsletter making it into the first camp is the subject line that the recipient sees in their inbox. So a bit of time spent on this simple and short text can reap dividends in terms of click-throughs, leads and, ultimately, sales.

The fact is engaging newsletters build familiarity, and familiarity inspires traffic: a great way to draw attention to any business or website.

There’s a nice infographic “The anatomy of an email newsletter” that you should take a look at. Click the image to view a larger version.

the-anatomy-of-an-email-new

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