What Are They?
Email Newsletters are a form of direct mail sent to groups of prospects or customers, often periodically (monthly, quarterly, etc.). Since these newsletters are delivered electronically rather than to traditional mailing lists, small manufacturers can easily maintain and manage lists of recipients for little cost with minimal effort.
Email Newsletters are a form of ‘permission marketing’ – recipients give their permission to receive newsletters from your business, or they may decline the offer via an ‘opt-out.’ When using these tools for your business, it is important to follow the laws set in place to prevent abuse of email and protect Internet users from it (see below).
Why Are They Important?
Email Newsletters may be the most important, powerful marketing tool available to small and medium contract manufacturers, when properly used and integrated within a strong marketing strategy. The core strength of newsletters is that they allow you to communicate with potential and current customers regularly, to keep them up-to-date with developments at your business. Examples of sound topics to include in newsletters include:
new equipment purchases/additions
new markets or processes
product line information
qualifications (new or updated)
industry events your company will be attending
It’s likely your business has been passed over for jobs before – probably more than a few times. In the era of offshoring and severe pricing pressures, many of your prospects and customers are forced to select suppliers that are either at the end of extended supply chains or are the ‘cheapest.’ These distant or low-cost suppliers are often difficult to manage, and unacceptable quality, incorrect tolerances or materials, shipping delays and other factors are more disruptive the deeper they go into production schedules. Add to that unstable shipping and freight costs, civil unrest and many other intangibles, and the risks your prospects face often put them in one of two conditions:
They’ve experienced a significant supply chain disruption or supplier failure, and they’re under serious duress to find a solution – right now.
A buyer in one of these conditions, 3 months after passing you over in favor of another supplier, is likely to go first to sources she’s familiar with. If this buyer has been receiving a quarterly newsletter from your business, she’s more likely to remember and reengage you.
Bottom line: Email Newsletters help keep your business at ‘top-of-mind’ with prospects and customers when they’re looking for help. And there’s no better lead than that (link to MFG_MMSKC_Leads) for contract manufacturers.
Key Elements & Considerations:
It’s important to send Email Newsletters regularly, but not too frequently. Once a quarter is usually the right cadence for small job shops communicating with prospects – too often may turn prospects off to you and cause them to ‘opt-out’
It’s perfectly acceptable to send an unscheduled business update outside of your regular schedule, but not too often and only if the event is significant enough to your customers
If the list of newsletter items above sounds a lot like Blog posts to you, then you’re paying attention. Blog posts – updated regularly – are excellent content pieces to repurpose into your newsletter, and they’ve already been written
It is critical that you only send Email Newsletters to your Leads list or those that have asked for them. The rampant misuse of email by oversaturation or mass mailings has resulted in negative connotations throughout commercial and business-to-business (B2B) markets, giving birth to terms such as ‘junk mail’ (physical mail) or ‘spam’ (email). This misuse has also led to legal penalties for those that abuse it through overuse or fraud, especially in email form (spam). You could face severe fines or lawsuits from misuse. Just don’t do it
There are several third-party options for managing your Email Newsletter campaigns. Not only are they inexpensive and reputable businesses, they make creation, maintenance, delivery, measurement and Lead list management easier. They include:
iContact – another option with a full suite of Email Newsletter options, plus mobile apps and connectivity to other software programs