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Developing a Successful Email Newsletter – Part 2

Last week Jeanne Jennings wrote a guest blog about taking a reader-driven approach to your email newsletter campaign.  This week her blog continues to discuss how to develop content and measure your newsletter’s success.  Click here to read her previous blog post.

Valuable, Engaging Content

This is the fun part of developing an email newsletter – the content strategy.  I developed the newsletter sections working from the reader-driven approach.  Creating original content is great, but you should also think in terms of repurposing content.  Repurposed content can be information you create in house for other channels or it can come from third parties.

Here’s the content formula we developed for McKinley’s email newsletter:

  • Brief introduction from Michelle Boggs, McKinley’s President, CEO and Co-Founder
  • A brief summary of an engaging marketing research report or article, with a link to the full original item and brief thoughts on the research from three of McKinley’s Marketing Consultants
  • A marketing challenge submitted by a McKinley reader or client, along with an answer from one McKinley’s Marketing Consultants
  • A brief, interesting marketing statistic with a link to the original source
  • A brief quote about marketing that will resonate with readers, with a link to the original source
  • A call-to-action to drive readers to contact McKinley if they are in need of an interim or full-time marketer, possibly with an incentive

A good rule of thumb is that 60% or more of your email newsletter content should provide value without a purchase; no more than 40% should be directly promotional.  This content formula is well in line with these guidelines.

Showcasing McKinley’s Unique Selling Proposition

This is probably the most important aspect of the newsletter.  McKinley isn’t just telling readers that their marketing consultants are experts in their fields – they’re showing them.  Each newsletter provides marketing expertise to help readers – directly from people they could be hiring to help their organizations improve marketing performance.

It’s a soft sell.  It’s all about the reader and providing them valuable information, but it also plants a seed – “Hmmm.  That’s an interesting take on that marketing issue.  I wonder how we could leverage that in my organization.  Maybe we should bring in someone like that to help.”

Bottom Line

This is all well and good, but the big question is: how well did it work?  Did the newsletter achieve the goals we set for it?

  • Drive professionals currently looking for marketing consultants to contact McKinley proactively
    • Goal achieved.  McKinley received proactive inquiries from readers who said the newsletter spurred them to call – about half were people they’d been in touch with recently; the other half were leads they hadn’t spoken to in a long time (which is an even bigger win).
  • Encourage referrals to other professionals looking for marketing consultants now, or in the future
    • The jury is still out.  Just as there’s a margin of error with most offline conversions as it is difficult to track referrals.  If the quality of newsletter content resonates with readers, then the reader will hopefully forward the email to colleagues or make them think of McKinley when someone mentions needing a marketing consultant.
  • Position McKinley as the “go-to” source for high quality marketing consultants
    • We’re on our way.  The focus on showing, not just talking about, the expertise of McKinley Marketing Consultants supports and will help strengthen McKinley’s reputation in the industry.
  • Keep the McKinley brand top of mind
    • The key here is consistency – sending a high quality, engaging newsletter once a month will put the McKinley brand in front of clients and prospects on a regular basis and keep them top of mind.

The key to success with email marketing isn’t the send – it’s what you send. Thoughtful, engaging content attracts readers – and business.  So now it’s your turn.  Take a look at the email newsletters your organization is sending and see if you can apply some of the techniques we used here to improve performance!


by McKinley Marketing Partners