Your Newsletter Sucks, But You Can Fix It!
Tips on creating awesome newsletters with data
I am a big fan of email marketing, and you should be too! Despite the numerous channels you can use, email remains the most effective channel. But how do you create a fantastic newsletter for your customer community? How do you get them to open and, more importantly, engage with your content? Today I want to share some of the tips I’ve used to have outstanding responses to community newsletters.
It starts with a cardinal rule: NEVER use your community platform newsletter feature for a customer community newsletter. The community platforms suck at email newsletters. I have never seen a community platform do them well. It’s the lazy person’s option, and this is the hill I will die on. I know how much this feature means to community builders, but I am here to tell you that you can do better, and we all should!
So how can you do better? You're a step ahead if your company already uses a marketing automation tool like HubSpot or Marketo. You see, it’s all about the data. If your marketing team is doing the right things, they already measure what the folks in your community do across your digital footprint. They know what categories of products they are looking at and are interested in. They see the content they are consuming on the blog. They are likely already in persona buckets, and your marketing team can easily create lists based on this data. And they are following your members in the community, too, right? (I hope so - I’ve written much about measuring your members across your brand's digital footprint - so I will assume this is done).
Why is all of this so important? Because the idea is that your newsletter should use this data to offer a tailored newsletter. This is where the fun comes in. Most marketing automation software provides ways to have standard and “dynamic content” in the same email. What content shows can be determined by the criteria you decide. Isn’t that cool?!?!
You can work with your marketing team to have community content highlighted for each segment. To get ready for each newsletter, during the month, I would use a Google Doc to save links to content I thought would be attractive per identified segment. Ideally, you should only really have 3-5 personas. It should be content that is differentiated by a combination of experience and interest.
If different content is challenging, use the same content but word it differently. For example, an experienced member might be asked to share their advice, while a new person may be asked if they ran into the same issues or where they are stuck. Even if your first attempts are basic, you will see significant gains - because you will speak directly to the right audience.
Of course, it’s all about testing and iterating until you have the recipe that works for you. Speaking of which, you can also test your subject lines and create specific ones based on personas. Don’t be shy to ask your marketing guru to show you the power of your marketing automation solution. It will open up a new world to communicating with your customer community. You won’t be disappointed to learn all the options at your fingertips to bring more value to your members.
I know some of you might groan and say this is more work. I won’t sugarcoat this - it is. However, I ask if the goal is for your content is to be helpful and of value - or are you doing a newsletter to check a box?
It’s not about speed - it’s about quality. Make the best use of the most crucial channel. With my tips, you will see drastic changes in your engagement in your newsletters.
If you have concerns with a bespoke newsletter, one quick way to win would be to focus on a community corner in your overall monthly customer newsletter. So rather than needing to create a complete community newsletter - you get some space in the existing marketing newsletter. However, I urge you to work with your marketing team to tailor the content based on interest and persona. They have the data and the tools, but they need your expertise on the content. I know you got that covered. Go forth and create that awesome newsletter!
I hope in today’s edition, you’ve learned something new. Thanks for reading this edition of my newsletter and sharing it with your friends!
Here’s to your continued success!
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