In an age when attention spans are rarer than platinum, we have to admit that at first glance, email newsletters wouldn't be considered one of the trendiest marketing techniques.
Some newsletters are veritable goldmines. You can make emails with personality, style and value. And the numbers don't lie.
After reading this article, send me an email (email@example.com) to tell me if you still think that a (good) newsletter doesn't have a chance of becoming one of the pillars of your lead generation.
Why is a B2B newsletter strategically important?
Contrary to popular belief, it's an enormous marketing lever. Let's talk numbers.
According to a HubSpot study from 2023, the ROI of email marketing is 36 (!!!).
Yes 36, I didn't forget the comma. For every euro invested, emails generate an average of 36.
It is literally the channel with the best return on investment among all existing marketing channels.
And for a number of reasons. An effective B2B newsletter can attract the attention of potential customers, help prospects move through the sales funnel, build a relationship with customers to encourage them to work with you again, improve your company's reputation and increase the number of opportunities you get.
It's easy to see why, if we analyze newsletters using an AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, Referral) growth marketing framework. Although they are particularly useful for Activation, they are actually involved at almost every level:
- Activation They improve your activation in two main ways: they demonstrate your value (for free, making you almost automatically a bargain), and they allow you to be seen and seen again and again. If you're unfamiliar with the principle of cognitive biases, the simple exposure bias (or Zajonc bias) is characterized by an increase in the probability of having a positive feeling towards someone or something simply through repeated exposure to that person or object.
- Retention B2B newsletters maintain engagement by providing regular, relevant and useful content. By staying top of mind with your audience with valuable information, product updates, and practical tips, you build loyalty and reduce churn (the proportion of customers you lose over a period of time).
- Referral You can encourage subscribers to share your content or recommend your services through newsletters. This can be done by creating easily shareable content, offering incentives for referrals, or highlighting case studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of your service or product.
- Revenue B2B newsletters can contribute directly to revenue growth by promoting offers, announcing new services or products, or providing content that leads to clear calls to action.
The ideal content for your newsletter
A good newsletter should inform and inspire your subscribers to find out more and interact with you in a variety of ways:
- Consult your site or networks
- Respond and commit to your content (webinars, quote requests, etc.)
- Spread the word
Here are some ideas for content you can include:
- Recap of your latest blog articles or videos, or even your latest great social networking posts
- Educational content
- Industry news
- Webinars and upcoming events
- Case studies
- Best practices
- Launching new services or products
- News about your team and your company behind the scenes
- New opportunities and job offers
- Big announcements, awards
Best practices for B2B newsletters
Keep it short
In principle, and even more so in B2B, your audience has other things to do. Short, light, easy-to-read content is generally the key to a newsletter that people enjoy reading. Get straight to the point (you'd think we weren't really from Marseille if I didn't do it from time to time).
I personally does not recommend exceeding 5-6 sections.
Do you have blog articles, guides, webinars etc. to present and share in your newsletter? Think Pareto's Law. You want to summarize all this to provide 80% of the value of these contents in 20% of their lengththen provide links for those who want to delve deeper.
The entire guide, for example, will probably be summarized in 3 paragraphs of 5-6 short, airy lines in our next newsletter.
Keep one focus per newsletter
In our experience, newsletters work best if the content is either educational or conversion-oriented. But not both.
Don't be too commercial
As you can imagine, you're not going to build a community just by hammering away at your service offerings.
We're talking about setting up a newsletter, we're here for a marathon, not a sprint. You're not going to convert anyone in 2 emails (or at least you rarely will). The aim is to water your shoots a little at a time, week after week, so that you'll have a flowering garden later on.
The vast majority of your newsletters should be educational rather than commercial..
What's more, the most educated customers are generally the best customers, because they understand the value of what you have to offer and what it can do for them. Increasingly, you'll avoid having to explain the usefulness of your services to people who don't understand them at all, or having to engage in conflict resolution with a dissatisfied customer who didn't really understand what they were buying when they signed your quotation.
Telling a story is generally the best way to grab your audience's attention.
You want to have their companies as customers, but remember that you're sending this newsletter to people.
Work (a little) on the style
There's no need for an ultra-complicated design. On the contrary, it's often even harder to read.
Simple but clean.
Avoid the photo of you on stage, taken at a trade show 8 years ago with your partner's late iPhone 6s, badly cropped and magnified 12x.
We'll talk about it below.
Stay regular. Your newsletter should eventually become a real appointment for your audience. Be careful with frequency, too, as too high a frequency generally diminishes quality.
In general, we recommend sending a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly newsletterand send it as frequently as possible without compromising quality. If you've only got one busy person to write it, don't go for a weekly newsletter - go for one a month, but a good one. On the other hand, if you have the time and are comfortable with writing, you can easily do more (which will increase the value provided and the speed of conversion).
Most of the time, the sweet spot will be on a bi-monthly or monthly newsletter.
Certain sectors can also benefit from even more frequent newsletters. If you work in finance, for example, your audience probably wants to have your insights as quickly as possible when they come in, so they can make the right decisions. You can start with a daily newsletter without any problem (but beware, this kind of frequency requires a large team to produce quality copy).
It's said a bit bluntly, but I insist because I see it too often: your B2B newsletter is not your fan club. No one is interested in reading corporate propaganda. Remember one thing: if they're not interested, they won't read, if they don't read, they won't like, and if they don't like, they'll unsubscribe.
There's no such thing as "I'll just put it here, and those who aren't interested will pass over it". You devalue your newsletter, increase the unsubscribe rate, and don't create a community.
You must stay focused on the elements that interest your audiencenot what you'd like them to know to please you.
This doesn't mean you should never tell stories about your team or celebrate your customers' successes, but it can't be the main focus of your newsletters. These elements should remain a (very) good way of humanizing your content, but not be the bulk of the content itself.
Design tips for your newsletter
Don't try to be too sharp or too sophisticated if you're not a seasoned designer.
Not just anyone can be Coco Chanel.
You want your newsletter to reflect your branding, but you also want it to be pleasant to read and focus on its content.
Keep it simple and efficient:
- Keep headers and footers simple and clean
- Use high-quality images
- Use the same text font from beginning to end
- Avoid overly complicated structures with lots of columns
- Make CTAs clearly visible
- Always check responsive, it's 2024, mobile is 85% of traffic now.
Monitor your newsletter statistics
What's the point of doing all this only to find out when you're doing it right and when you're not?
Keep a close eye on your open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates and spam rates.
It indicates the percentage of people who have opened your email compared to those who have received it.
In concrete terms, your open rate indicates two things:
- Your audience's general interest in your e-mails: your reputation. If you always send gold, your open rate will be higher over time.
- The availability of your audience: shooting on a Friday at 7pm is not the same as shooting on a Tuesday at 10am.
- Your audience's interest in the subject of your newsletter: this is usually given in the subject line.
In B2B, a good open rate is between 35 and 50%. It's not uncommon to see B2B newsletters with 50, 60 or even 70% open rates.
To work on it, you choose the best time to post, you work on your hook (A/B Testing if you have a large enough audience for it to be meaningful), and you remain constant in the newsletter's value contribution and quality (to build a good reputation). Basically, everything your audience sees or knows before for opening the email.
This is the number of people who received the email out of the number of emails sent.
The aim is for it to be as close as possible to 100%.
Below 95% you have a poorly qualified contact base.
For your information, emailing tools either speak in CR (click-through rate) or CTOR (click-to-open rate), or display both.
I prefer CTOR because it measures the number of people who clicked after opening, whereas the other measures the number of people who clicked versus those who received it (and therefore somehow incorporates the open rate in the process, which I find confusing).
It measures how well you've captured your audience's attention.
A good CTOR starts with 8-10%It's not uncommon to see double or more.
To work on it, we work on its content, style and design. Basically, everything she sees after to have opened the email.
For commercial newsletters of course, but also for your webinar registrations etc...
Conversion rates vary massively depending on what you do and what you offer. We could write books on the subject (in fact, it's already been done, and is a profession in its own right).
It indicates the number of people who unsubscribe. It must be lower than the growth of your list, otherwise you'll hit the wall.
Having a rate that isn't too high is also important for your deliverability, as email providers will monitor this statistic to see if you have a tendency towards spam and determine whether you should be sent to spam or inbox in the future.
Aim to stay under 1%.
The number of people who have reported your newsletter as spam.
As far as possible, it should be less than 0.1%.
Please note, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are beginning to take drastic measures in this area.. Google, for example, has introduced new standards indicating that if an advertiser exceeds the 0.3% spam rate on its network (Gmail but also Google Workspace), its entire domain name will be filtered in future.
Tools and technologies for effective newsletters
Choosing the right tool for your newsletter can make all the difference. Here are a few points to consider:
- Ease of use : Opt for an intuitive platform that doesn't require in-depth technical skills to create and send newsletters.
- Personalization and Segmentation A good tool should enable you to personalize your emails and segment your audience for more targeted campaigns.
- Analyse et Reporting : Choisissez une plateforme offrant des statistiques détaillées pour suivre les performances de vos newsletters.
- Intégration avec d’Autres Outils : Vérifiez la compatibilité avec les autres outils de marketing numérique que vous utilisez.
- Conformité RGPD : Assurez vous que l’outil respecte les réglementations en matière de protection des données.
Pour vous aider, j’ai écrit un article sur le choix d’un bon d’un outil d’emailing adapté à vos besoins et votre niveau. Il couvre différents cas de figure et les préoccupations les plus courantes que vous auriez. On n’est pas affilié à ces outils, on les recommande de façon purement désintéressée.
Optimisation du temps de travail : recyclage et synergie des contenus
Enfin, petite astuce productivité parce qu’une newsletter n’est pas nécessairement une charge de travail lourde :
Soyez smart dans votre création de contenu.
Vous avez un blog sur lequel vous postez régulièrement et des réseaux sociaux ? Servez vous en. Recyclez et adaptez vos contenus vers votre newsletter en appliquant nos recommandations de best practices. Avec un peu d’habitude, vous pouvez sans problème arriver à produire une newsletter en quelques heures quand vous avez déjà du contenu ailleurs.
Vous n’avez pas de blog ?
C’est peut être l’occasion d’en faire un. Tout ce contenu que vous allez produire pour votre newsletter peut très bien être un peu étoffé, optimisé SEO, et vous fournir d’excellents contenus pour un blog.
Le tout est de comprendre que le fait d’ajouter un canal n’est pas forcément une nouvelle charge de travail complète à ajouter à votre emploi du temps ou à l’emploi du temps de votre équipe.
Pour conclure, le succès de votre newsletter B2B ne repose pas uniquement sur les chiffres ou les stratégies marketing. Il s’agit avant tout de créer un lien humain avec votre audience. En proposant un contenu qui résonne, qui éduque et qui inspire, vous bâtissez une communauté de fidèles qui perçoivent la valeur ajoutée de vos services. L’engagement est la clé : impliquez vos lecteurs, invitez-les à partager leurs opinions, et montrez que derrière chaque newsletter, il y a une équipe passionnée et dévouée. C’est en humanisant votre approche que vous transformerez vos abonnés en ambassadeurs de votre marque.