Rethink Your Marketing Newsletters

Most of us are asked to process an enormous amount of potentially relevant information during the average workday, which makes ensuring that important messages reach staff or clients through the noise harder than ever.

That reality has prompted best-of-breed solution providers such as Signature Technology Group and CDI to rethink the way they approach their e-newsletters to drive higher open rates and deeper engagement. "The cost to experiment is very low," said Aaron Zeper, vice president of Signature Technology, a CRN Fast Growth integrator based in Phoenix.

Over the past year, Zeper and a team of two content development and marketing specialists – who help him with the task on a part-time basis – have transformed Signature Technology's random customer communications into a monthly newsletter that is sent to both current and past clients on an opt-in basis.

The reason for the switch was initially pretty tactical: the company adopted HubSpot for some of its other marketing outreach, and it made sense to convert the email outreach as well. What's more, Zeper realized that by taking a more mindful approach about the types of news and tips included in this outreach, his team could subtly reinforce its corporate tagline, "delivering legendary service."

Every issue offers a mix of both original content such as testimonials, relevant and clickable articles curated from respected IT publications, blog posts, press releases, and softer news that showcases the company's talent.  "We always get an example from an employee," he said. "It gives the employees a sense that they are participating."

Right now, the newsletter isn't locked in to any particular theme, but there are ongoing features that don't always have to be serious. (One example is the video entitled "The Expert, A Hilarious Sketch Video About the Pain of Being Only Engineer in a Business Meeting").

"We try to maintain levity in everything we do, it doesn't have to be completely technical," Zeper said.

By leveraging existing content, using interns to help ghostwrite articles from senior team members and making use of existing social media outreach, Signature Technology keeps its expenses minimal. It has also learned plenty by collaborating with media students at a local university, who can contribute ideas about useful tools, applications and process tips. One unusual technique that Signature Technology recently tried was sending out the last issue on a Saturday, as opposed to the middle of the week, which is when many organizations schedule their email blasts. The open rate for that issue was higher than ever, and the team plans to continue experimenting with what works, moving on from what doesn't.

"If we look at the number of conversions and leads as an indicator, those continue to increase steadily," Zeper said. "As long as everything is performing better, we will continue to do it."