Business development 7 June 2018

Is the B2B newsletter dead? How direct messaging could breathe new life into your marketing

b2b newsletter
What is the most effective way to engage your audience?

Are you discovering that B2B email newsletters are generating fewer leads than you’d hoped — or maybe none at all? If so, then it’s time to change tactics if you want to breathe life into your marketing.

B2B marketing has its fashions — and its vested interests. Sometimes various services promoted actively by marketing agencies will chime with target audiences. But sometimes there’s a dull thud as a trustworthy communications channel finally keels over and expires.

And it’s my sad duty to report the death of the B2B newsletter.

Now, let me be clear: I’m not suggesting that B2B newsletters have disappeared entirely. There will be signs of life in your inbox – and more likely in your spam folder too. But they’re as good as finished in mainstream business when it comes to open rates and quality leads.

Here are three reasons why:

  1. Information overload

Today’s target audiences have too much to wade through already and have many other channels they prefer as a way to find their news — and better news.

  1. Micro tasking

People’s busy lives are now peppered by zillions of small actions, completed in a few clicks. Reading a newsletter is too big a time investment for the payback anticipated.

  1. Irrelevance

Newsletter content is broad (“something for everyone”) which often means that 80 to 90% isn’t attractive at all. How many of us would watch a TV show that was only 10% interesting?

What shall we do instead?

Social media gets masses of attention for a host of reasons. Some marketing agencies will love to work with your budgets and keep the posts coming. With B2C marketing, this may pay off to some degree.

But busy B2B decision-makers usually don’t have time to see social media posts. And gathering ‘likes’ may generate an instant feel-good factor, but it doesn’t translate into a meaningful return on investment.

My belief is that one-to-one messages are the most effective way currently to engage with target audiences. This can be as a direct message via LinkedIn or be using email in simple text, nothing fancy. You need to use friendly language and be candid about why you’re getting in touch.

This approach has some clear advantages:

  1. You make it personal

You can talk about the recipient and their business. Then they realise the message is personal. They understand you want to meet up or call them. You’re a real person too.

  1. You make it relevant

There’s nothing generic about the message. You can tailor the email to the person’s priorities and avoid wasting words (and their time).

  1. You make it useful

You avoid waffle and marketing hype, so they know this isn’t a slice of spam in disguise. Tell your audience something helpful and valuable. Even if they don’t want to follow up, they’ll appreciate your email was worth opening (and may remember for next time — when they do decide to respond).

The B2B newsletter may be dead. But the direct message can breathe new life into marketing.

Stefano Maifreni is founder and director of Eggcelerate, the business expansion advisors

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