What do B2B marketers need to know about crafting a successful email newsletter strategy in 2022 and beyond?
What’s changed with newsletter creation during the pandemic, and which fundamental qualities will endure the shifts of time as B2B marketing — and most importantly — the people who build and read newsletters, evolve?
While 47 percent of B2B marketers see email as a productive avenue for driving revenue (ANA), digital newsletters typically offer even greater effectiveness, especially as dark social, disappearing web browser cookie data, and an increase in the number of folks using ad-blocking technology are on the rise — a topic we recently explored in “Traffic’s Black Hole: What B2B Marketers Need To Know About Dark Social.”
Email newsletters offer a fantastic way to meet some of these challenges head on, while also solidifying the human connections that help drive B2B marketing success.
Let’s open up the digital newsletter engine and take a look at what gears, cogs, wheels, and other content apparatus are needed to build a successful email newsletter in today’s B2B landscape.
Expert Email Newsletter Insight From Ann Handley
Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs, is set to soon reach issue number 100 of her long-running, delightfully informative Total Annarchy bi-monthly newsletter, having grown from around two thousand subscribers when it began at the beginning of 2018 to over 41,000 today.
Ann’s latest newsletter, “How I Grew This Newsletter: What Worked, What Didn’t, Weird Metrics I Use,” is filled with helpful tips and tactics she’s learning from the growth of her newsletter, such as:
- Building what you wish existed
- Using purpose to define goals
- Building newsletter reading momentum
- Focusing on the on-boarding process
- Creating something unique
Ann explores these and more in her latest newsletter, including the suggestion to focus on email open rates and not so much on click-through rates.
Devoting special effort to building relationships with subscribers and influencers is another recommendation Ann has gleaned and shared from the widespread success of Total Annarchy.
“I’m more interested in the quality of the list than the size of the list,” Ann shared in her most recent newsletter.
Ann has also pointed to the importance of paying particular attention to that very first communication new newsletter subscribers get once they sign up, and to making sure that it reflects your particular tone and shares expectations for what will be arriving via email each month as a subscriber.
The power of asking your existing subscribers to share your newsletter in a soft-handed way with others who might benefit from the content of your newsletter was another recent tip Ann shared.
When it comes to sharing the news of your latest newsletter publishing on social media, Ann suggests highlighting the primary topic covered in the newsletter rather than a generic cookie-cutter message mentioning only that a new issue has been released.
Before the pandemic, Ann spoke in person at the Social Media Marketing World event, and we published a collection of her insights on the nuances of successful online newsletter creation, in “Dear Friend: Secrets to Creating a Newsletter People Want to Read From Ann Handley.”
In it, Ann shared more of her newsletter writing and promotion wisdom — ideas that are every bit as relevant now as we heard towards 2022. Here are just a few examples:
- Consider the newsletters you read and interact with, and pinpoint what drives your own engagement with them
- Take advantage of email being one of the few places left were people still have control more than algorithms
- Hone in less on the news portion and more on the letter element
- Keep newsletters simple and accessible
Learning From Missteps & 26 Years Of Email Spam
Sometimes when looking for what works for email and newsletter marketing, it’s helpful to also see examples of what should be avoided at all costs, and in my “Don’t Do That: Email Marketing Lessons From My 26 Year Spam Archive,” I explored five email marketing take-aways for empathizing, providing unique value, respecting your audience, using character and passion, and seeking out new connection and test opportunities, all framed with examples from some of the craziest examples of email spam.
Empathizing with your audience is an important element used by successful newsletters, as understanding the concerns and hopes of the people you’re connecting with is vital for providing the information your email audience is seeking.
Some things to ask yourself as you seek to empathize with your existing newsletter audience include:
- Why have they signed up for our newsletter?
- What are the traits common to our readers?
- If I were the recipient and not the sender, what would I change?
Another key factor to keep in mind is respecting the fact that whether you have a smallish mailing list or one numbering in the millions, maintaining your email and newsletter audience’s trust is key for long-term success, as our senior content strategist Nick Nelson explored in “Return to Sender: Email Marketing Is NOT Dead, But It Needs Rejuvenation.”It’s better to write for 10 people who truly want to receive your messages than 100 who are ambivalent or worse. @NickNelsonMN #NewsletterMarketing Click To Tweet
The Marketing Message’s Medium Takes Many Forms
When it comes down to it, your marketing message and how it drives your readers to action or even enlightenment is paramount to success, and not particularly the medium or format in which it’s delivered.
By using the clear and helpful tips and examples we’re explored here, from Ann Handley and others, you’ll have a head-start as you plan how to make your newsletter better than ever in 2022 and well into the future.
Keep up to date with the latest B2B marketing industry news and subscribe to our own TopRank Marketing monthly newsletter, which has provided top-notch marketing insight for over 11 years and more than 132 editions.
No matter how well you’re able to implement newsletter content, crafting award-winning B2B marketing takes considerable time and effort, which is why an increasing number of firms are choosing to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help, as we’ve done for over 20 years for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.