Four Tips for B2B Marketers to Save their Newsletters from Dying

  • Ishan Bhattacharya

Compared to their B2C counterparts, B2B marketers indeed have limited options when it comes to promoting content. And not only that, whatever few options they have, opportunities to play around with design and content tone is not much owing to stringent brand guidelines. But let’s not get pulled back. B2B marketers can still innovate staying within boundaries.

So, as we all know webinars, newsletters, blogs, infographics, white papers, eBooks, in-person events and videos are some of the major means of driving content. And even though marketers have started experimenting with new channels, online newsletters by far remain the most used channel.

According to Content Marketing Institute, 81 percent of B2B marketers use online newsletters for tactic usage. But when it comes to effectiveness, it struggles to compete with in-person-events, webinars and research reports, all of which happen to be expensive.

Then how can marketers enhance effectiveness of newsletters or in technical terms boost click-through-rates of newsletters? Here are few tricks we tried to build better newsletters.

Capturing a Reader’s Area of Interest

To build a newsletter that ensures high click-through rates, it’s important for marketers to understand the type of audience they are trying to engage with and more importantly understand their area of interest. It’s not necessary that all senior level executives of an IT company will understand technology like a CIO does.

An easy way to go about it is dividing a target audience into two major buckets–BDM (business decision makers) and TDM (technical decision makers). Again these two buckets can be further categorized depending on their seniority levels. Although that makes content building complex, but if marketers are confident about their team’s level of expertise, then it’s not much of an issue.

To understand this better let’s, consider this. Imagine your company is trying to sell cloud solutions to enterprise customers using a lead generation campaign. Newsletters are almost inevitable for such campaigns. As mentioned earlier, the effectiveness of a newsletter’s content can significantly surge if it perfectly aligns with the interest area of the target audience.

For instance, chances are that BDMs will not click on a story that reads–How large IT departments can reduce complexity by moving to the cloud. Why? Simply because they are better versed with the integrities of the business side of the company and not IT.

On the other hand, a blog post that says–How moving to the cloud can reduce CAPEX–will be much more appealing to a BDM audience. Simply because it talks about an aspect that directly impacts the profitability of a business. Similarly, the first headline will work better for a TDM audience owing to the technical details the headline promises to delve in.

Now, think about the futility of polluting a newsletter, targeted at BDMs, with articles like–Understanding security automation and how it’s evolving or Ten things to consider when implementing a DLP solution. Failure is inevitable. A CISO or CSO would have been the apt audience. We knew that but our brains can get mechanical at times!

Don’t be a Con Man

Also, while personalizing content, it’s a good practice to ensure that a blog or an article delivers what its headline promises. A blog that only talks about business but is accompanied by a very technical headline can contribute significantly to a marketing campaign’s failure. Imagine the frustration of a person who books an Uber premium and gets a carpool instead!

Newsletters that Trigger Curiosity

When it comes to writing the text accompanied by a headline (leaders as we say), it’s a good practice to be a little vague or general so that it does not end up revealing the entire story. Even though editorially it’s not a best practice, but majority of the time it helps generate a sense of curiosity that translate into a clicks.

Making Newsletters Engaging

Now once the content, that is the headline and the following text, is fixed it is time to make the look-and-feel of the newsletter more engaging. Some quick additions on a newsletter can make a big difference.

A business executive after opening a newsletter might not be sure as to how long it will take for her to read a particular blog or go through an infographic. Hence, unsure of the duration and the busy schedule she has, it’s more likely that the person will not go through the content at all.

On the other hand, if your newsletter tells its readers how long it will take to go through a blog, a story or a video, chances are that it will be read.

For example, just below the short description of a content piece, if marketers can specify that ‘it will take 2 minutes’ or ‘1:30 minutes’ to read this story’, or ‘watch this video’, they can see significant improvement in click-through rates. Free tools like Read-o-Meter are available, that can quickly tell the time required to read an article. Specifying the time conveys a sense that marketers value the time of a reader and thereby facilitates engagement.

Then things like adding the word ‘trending’ or ‘most popular’ beside a blog that has been generating great page views can also grab a reader’s attention. A statement or a call-to-action like–Know why 36 of your peers have read this blogcan also impact a newsletter’s performance.

These are few tricks we feel can enhance the engagement levels of a newsletter. And we are sure B2B marketers across the globe have more innovative ways to make newsletters effective. Let’s keep sharing what we learn.


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