Newsletter Content that Your Customers Will Welcome
Creating a newsletter every month may not seem like a tough assignment...until it's yours. In the beginning, everyone has lots of great ideas to share. Consultants promise project stories from the field. The support team will supply a steady flow of tips and tricks. Management looks forward to sharing their leadership and best-practice advice. All the ingredients for a read-worthy newsletter.
Then they get busy. And you're on your own.
Newsletters Build Customer-Lifetime Value
Newsletters may be the most important marketing activity to support partners' cloud business models. More dependence on subscription-based relationships means that building customer-lifetime value should be a primary focus of the marketing team. Monthly newsletters may not be sexy, but they are the workhorse of ongoing customer engagement.
Creating a monthly newsletter that customers will actually open and read is daunting indeed. Their inboxes are stuffed and their attention is short. But you do have some advantages -- they know you and they view your organization as an expert source. Build on those strengths and throw in a dash of personality.
A few ideas to inspire:
- Be the Microsoft filter. The amount of information Microsoft creates each month is staggering. Help your customers sort through it by summarizing a couple of top stories and providing a link. The Fire Hose is a good central source to monitor.
- Multi-part customer success stories. Your clients are interested in hearing about businesses like theirs. They want to hear about common challenges and how other businesses dealt with them. While most case studies are boring and lifeless, they don't need to be. Give some background and tell the story in real words, describing the challenges and the solutions. By writing the story in "chapters," you can keep installments short for readability and, if done well, a reason for clients to tune in next month. (It sure worked for The Martian.)
- Top problem solved this month. Dealing with real customer problems every day, your help desk should be a rich source of material. They may not have the time or inclination to write something up for you, but you can interview them. Ask clarifying questions to translate the issues into common terms that non-technical readers will understand.
- Use Microsoft marketing resources as a foundation. The content that Microsoft makes available through Ready-to-Go marketing has dramatically improved over the past couple of years. There are templates and artwork you can use to make your newsletter look more professional. Use the content, like campaign materials, as a base, then add examples and commentary to make it your own.
- Office diversions. A little fun can go a long way. Something as simple as a monthly cartoon can entice your readers to open the newsletter. A subscription to a business cartoon service is a low-cost way to show customers you have a sense of humor.
- Ask your customers. While it's tempting to send out a survey asking what your clients would like to see in the newsletter, you're not likely to get much input. Instead, ask them in person at your next event or call them on the phone.
Coming up with interesting content isn't as hard as you think. Stand in your customers' shoes and write about the business issues that they deal with every day. Don't worry about being a great writer; practice is the only way to get better. Outsourcing is an option, but an outside writer won't reflect the personality of your team.
A good newsletter provides an incredible marketing value to your organization. It takes time. It takes commitment. And your customers will appreciate both of those.
How are you engaging with customers to build lifetime value? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on March 02, 2016 at 11:03 AM