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Calling a Monthly Email Newsletter a Nurturing Program

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Business-to-business marketing has evolved quite a bit more than we expected in the past two years.  Mistakes have evolved along with it.  What follows is based on Sherpa research via:

Calling a Monthly Email Newsletter a “Nurturing Program”
When you get a new inquiry, perhaps via a white paper offer or contact us form, and that person gives you permission to email him or her, what happens next?

If you’re like many B-to-B marketers, you dump that name into the “house email file” which includes all sorts of prospects, customers, and leads.  Then, you send that entire house file a routine monthly email newsletter.

Why is this a bad thing?  Well, consider the following:
• Not everyone likes to read emails.  Some prefer images, some — audio, some — meetings, some – print, etc.

• Not all email gets through, especially in the corporate environment where estimates of filters stopping permission emails are as high as 40% per send.

If you send through your own server or use an outsourced ESP but don’t pay for your own IP address, you’re probably on the high end of being filtered.

• Your customers, true leads, and general inquiries are three very different groups with extremely different areas of interest in your company and offerings.  The same content cannot (and should not) serve all three.

• Newsletters can feel like a one-way mass communication (especially when they are in HTML.)

If you’re trying to start a one-to-one relationship with a new inquiry, you need more interactive email than just a newsletter.

What’s best?  Our suggestion is to isolate new email opt-ins from inquiries on your list and send them something special — either instead of or in addition to your newsletter.  That special something might be:

- A site resources map featuring links to your best canned webinars, white papers, etc.

- A survey, quiz, or questionnaire for their opinions on your industry

- A handy calculator or glossary

- A case study about a company similar to their own

- A personal-looking text email “from” their assigned sales rep containing a highly relevant white paper or canned webinar to click to (i.e., not your offer-du-jour.)

- A postal direct mail package with response device

- Offers via other media (podcast, vidcast, etc.)

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