E-mail Newsletter 2.0

In chapter five of Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics, he discusses social media marketing and its value to business. He also discusses the use of email marketing and its useful, but limited service in comparison to a more collaborative medium. Qualman states, “Having 12 million e-mail addresses in your database doesn’t mean much if only 1,000 open and click on your e-mails” (p. 109).

 

I have recently been applying this very concept to the remake of an e-mail newsletter I am working on for UW-Stout’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. The current newsletter is a factual list of events sent to approximately 75 individuals in the Master’s and Education Specialist CTE programs. The newsletter has low open rates at 17 percent, and even lower click-through rates at one percent. The initial plan was to overhaul the format and invite readers to engage with the text, but this has developed into a proposal to instead provide the information via a social media group.

 

We have selected LinkedIn.com to best capture the professional nature of the degrees. In addition, we can leverage the Program Director’s current 355 LinkedIn contacts. The majority of these contacts are tied to the CTE program in meaningful ways. Due to LinkedIn’s invite feature, we can easily alert them as to the creation of this new collaborative group. Of course these contacts, in addition to the existing audience will all have social networks of their own that may as a result have CTE information pushed to them.

 

Qualman writes, “To effectively leverage the social graph, every company needs to understand that they need to make their information easily transferable” (p. 14). In other words, to best utilize the interconnectedness of social media users we must present information in a manner that makes it easy to share. This concept has essentially become the ultimate goal of the CTE e-mail newsletter: To leave the static newsletter format behind completely and transform the content into a collaborative forum that will entertain and educate the CTE audience with frequent updates and relevant information.

 

The challenge will be in creating content and managing discussions so that the resulting information successfully compels members to share it with others in their network.

Posted on October 21, 2012, in Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. That sounds like a great strategy for revamping the newletter. It should really increase your audience and participation.

    I hope I can steal some of your ideas. I will probably be taking over producing the newsletter for our area nature center. It is currently printed on paper and mailed. Because ours is an older audience, I assume that will remain the case for many of the readers, but I’d like to produce the newsletter in another format as well. Using already-established groups in some type of social media might be really effective for the nature center.

    I sense a user-centered survey coming on.

  2. Reading your post reminds of the UW-Eau Claire newsletter I receive everymonth via email. I rarely open it. If I do, I usually just read the topics being covered and typically close the email. Most of the content is of little interest to me. However, if the newsletter were interactive, as you discuss, I may be more inclined to read and participate in the conversation. It would be interesting to hear how this new format works out for you.

  3. It has been a very interesting experiment to play with the interactiveness of the e-newsletters. Please, steal away! I would like to claim responsibility, but a lot of the newsletter ideas came from a HubSpot article. Check it out here…

    http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/32606/The-9-Must-Have-Components-of-Compelling-Email-Copy.aspx

    I am excited (yup, geeky, I know!) to see how it the interaction/readership is effected by moving to the LinkedIn group. I will be definitely keeping the e-newsletter active for awhile to try and ease over.

  4. I think that is a grea idea. I use groups in LinkedIn a lot, and the groups that really work are the ones that use a combination of tools. They post questions and have discussions within the group, but they use a blog to capture the longer stories. Unlike Facebook, I find that LinkedIn is a really good tool for work. I just posted a question about DITA to one of the groups dedicated to it and I’m sure I’ll have some answers in the morning.

    If your newsletter can serve as a space for networking as well as a source of information I bet it really takes off.

  5. I think expanding your newsletter to LinkedIn is a really good idea. I would be more likely to read articles posted in a LinkedIn group than from my email purely because of my motives when I’m accessing each. When I check email, it’s to see if I received anything that I need to address that day (or in the case of school email, that will impact my homework for that day); in this case, I’m on a mission and am not likely to stray from that. When I use LinkedIn, though, it’s when I have some downtime. I’m usually looking for something interesting to see or read, making it much more likely that I’ll read an article.

    It will be interesting for you to see if this helps your readership!

  6. Wow–this LinkedIn idea is great. I know you mentioned the # of contacts the program director has, but will there be ways to track interaction? I know when Julie ran an MSTPC ad on Facebook she reported back with statistics about what regions of the country clicked on it most, etc. I’m not sure if that’s a group on campus who does that, but it’s something to look into!

    Also, will I see more about this in your final paper? 😉

  7. Thanks everyone for the great feedback! Daisy, I’m not totally sure about statistics on the LinkedIn group page, but I will certainly look into it! Hmmm, maybe I will work on this for the final paper. I hope to get the group up and going next week. It would be nice to have some initial feedback for the paper.

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