Marketing: Newsletters 1

This is the first of my series of Marketing Articles. It's not as good as I hoped, but I hope to get better with experience.

The most important ingredient to make sure e-mail marketing works is the massive amount (minimum of 20,000 subscribers) of targeted e-mail addresses we have. From our experience, sales out of newsletter is tiny compared to the amount of newsletters sent. This of course is highly subjective to the kind of e-mail list you have. Though our e-mailing list is highly targeted, it overlaps and competes with, in our case, other vendors. What should differentiate our Newsletter than the one sent by our competitors is the offer we can give to our present newsletter subscriber.

Newsletters are a good way to keep staying in touch with customers. From the first 'welcome' e-mail we sent when a customer purchases our product, or download a product from our website, or sent a query to our support team; adding these to the e-mailing list keeps your relationship with customer on going rather than forgotten by them(or us).


The purpose of sending Newsletters to our e-mailing list is to remind them of PocketCraft Software, to keep them interested in our company, and build a relationship with our customers. Newsletter content must also be created around the reader itself. Instead of making the content of the newsletter geared towards just telling the reader. Newsletters can be made more effective if they could be made more dynamic; that the reader responds to the content of the Newsletter for example, through an e-mail dialogue (will be explained in future) .

In marketing and understanding customer behaviour, I have always used the concept of Verstehen*; i.e. to understand human action by putting oneself in the the subject's position; a concept I learnt during Sociology class in school (Thank God I dropped it!). Newsletter content, or any content for that matter are re-designed to suit the targeted reader to bring about the action we want them to (read and respond). An important thing to remember about designing content is that there are many types of readers out there. A programmer's language may seem alien to tech-cursed person like me! Understanding human psychology will definitely help you communicate better to the different kinds of people.

Like commercials on TV or radio, you only have 15 seconds to attract the audience. Same goes with Newsletters. You have less than six words to entice the reader to read further. I have always found sales pitching very tiring and off-putting. In creating content for our Newsletter, I carefully choose language and tone that does not excite too much, but are reader focussed and sincere.

Less is more. Make content short and concise. People generally subscribe to many newsletters, and what's more off putting than a newsletter that's just has too many words! Make headlines and link them instead if you have much things to say about many different topics, rather than give a synopsis of EVERY single topic in your newsletter. Use graphics to make your newsletter more interesting. Remember: A picture can represent a thousand words.

Keep content fresh and interesting. People get wise to your tricks quickly. Readers can smell 10 miles away that you are trying to sell something. Of course, Newsletters are made to sell something, but just don't make it too obvious. Add other non-selling content like surveys or articles or questionnaires to encourage other reader response other than purchasing.


Depending on how large our e-mail list is, how often can we put in fresh content, effects how frequent we send out our newsletters. I think, more importantly is how much 'fresh' content can we serve our readers should be the main factor in deciding the frequency of sending out our newsletter. Too often of the same thing is boring and tiring to readers, and don't be surprised if they don't bother opening your Newsletter.

Talking about fresh content, reminds me of a marketing effort from one of our vendors. The same content to the same readers. How boring! And as predicted, our e-mail marketing campaign through them slowly deteriorates. Out of this experience, I have come up with a term, 'user replenish cycle'. Frequency of e-mails should also take into consideration of new subscribers to the list (will explain in future).

Conclusion Article 1

E-mail marketing is a powerful tool to get in touch and build a relationship with your customers. The key word here is a relationship, to remind them of your presence and get them involved in your company. Good newsletters are reader focussed and mix other types of contents in addition to the sales content, to generate reader's interest. Newsletters is also a good way to test your customer's response towards your products or company from their participation in sales or other dynamic content like surveys and questionnaires.

5.00 am, September 9, 2004


* Verstehen (German): to understand.  1. To perceive and comprehend the nature and significance of,  to know. 2. To know thoroughly by close contact with or by long experience of the phenomenon.  3. To grasp or comprehend the meaning intended or expressed by another. 4. To know and be empathetic toward.  Weber used the term to refer to the social scientist's attempt to understand both the intention and the context of human action.