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Christopher Knight

MarketingSherpa President Advocates Email Newsletter Investments Based on Best Friend Theory
By Christopher Knight



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While at MarketingSherpa's Email Summit in Miami, I was able to catch up with Eric Stockton, President of MarketingSherpa... to discuss the state of email newsletter strategies and how MarketingSherpa uses ezines to drive community engagement and be of 'service'. First, some stats: MarketingSherpa was recently acquired by MECLABS Group (MarketingExperiments.com); they have over 237k+ double opt-in email newsletter members and last year, they sent 12,573,966 emails to their members (source: A poster on their booth exhibit).

MarketingSherpa's Main Purpose For Using Email Newsletters?

"To be of service to their community." There's no hard sell and the main objective is to develop relationships. They don't view themselves as being in the "list building" business, but rather becoming valuable to their readership... as any friend would do. I asked Eric if he had the normal list attrition (churn caused by members letting their email address go dead and not updating or changing their address) of 10-33% as many others say is the norm? He smirked and said that if you moved from one location or one cell phone number to another, your friends would still find you, right? Their email newsletter objective is to be a good enough friend to their members so that their members take them along with them as their email address changes over the years... thus, reducing list churn.

Best Email List Building Strategy for MarketingSherpa?

Readership forwards to a friend... The number of forward to a friend is directly related to how well they are serving their readers. Their current primary objective is to go deeper with their current members instead of wider. Yes, they want to serve new clients that have not heard of them yet, but deepening their existing member relationships is a first priority. Eric said, "Growing the list is a by-product of producing great content."

Best Kept Secret Ezine Publishers Often Fail To Implement?

Eric indicated that many email newsletter publishers don't produce enough unique original content. At MarketingSherpa, their reporters will interview and research to understand what the marketers' needs are. They don't just summarize what everyone else is doing, but they go 1200-1500 words deep in most of their original articles for each newsletter. Nothing is "auto-assembled" and they produce each newsletter from scratch (minus the template of course).

But Eric, What About Email List Segmentation?

He wouldn't reveal what they segment their list by, but said that if email newsletter publishers are not segmenting their lists today, they will be tomorrow. I agree. Email list segmentation is not for email marketers alone! Email newsletter publishers can benefit also from segmentation to increase the relevance and value of each email sent.

What Should Email Newsletter Publishers Test?

Test everything, Eric said. "If you're not testing, you're not marketing." Two areas to test or focus some of you're A/B split testing on:
  1. SUBJECT LINES
  2. Adding User-Generated Content for the benefit of your members.

Closing Email Newsletter Thoughts:

Eric concluded with, "If you want to be good friend, you must invest time with them." Producing an effective and valuable email newsletter is not a trivial event; it takes work, creative energy, and an intent to deliver "must read" content. To learn more about MarketingSherpa, surf: http://MarketingSherpa.com/

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter: http://www.emailuniverse.com/subscribe/.

Ezine-Tips for February 26, 2008

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