Quarterly newsletters. Not Monthly. That’s the first rule for B2B. If you belong to Girl Guides, a school or something you commit time to on a regular basis, you want to know what’s happening for the month. That’s not the case for most businesses, where monthly info is brand overkill, and generally regarded as a nuisance.

So go quarterly, but feel free to send very short e-blasts in between, if you have an important update – a new product, advice of legal or market developments, or get an article posted. Short means no more than 4 lines long, brief enough to be read in the mail preview window. Include a splash of colour on your e-mail template, but avoid images if you can. The more irregular the e-blasts, the better chance that they will be read. If you send on the 4th Tuesday of every month, regardless of urgency, your readers will quickly learn to delete without reading.

There is considerable research pinpointing the best months for quarterly newsletters:

  • February
  • May
  • August
  • November
August is the best of the summer months, but expect readership to be lower than any other release. I frequently recommend delaying until late September – earlier in the month is usually chaotic with worse readership than summer. Resume your regular schedule in November. if you have US readers, make certain the November newsletter is at least a week before Thanksgiving.
Tuesday to Thursday releases. I probably don’t have to explain why. And not in a short week ever.
Don’t send newsletters from Outlook or other personal mail systems. In Canada, the PIPIDA legislation (I probably spelled that wrong, but it’s pronounced that way) calls for the ability of automated unsubscribe for recipients. If you have to manually remove people from the mailing list, you are breaking the law.
But you want an automated e-mail/newsletter system for tracking as well. You typically get these kinds of information:
  • Bouncebacks (bad e-mail addresses, or rejected by recipient as spam)
  • Open rate (which tells you how many people – not who – has opened and read the e-mail)
  • Click-thru rate (which tells you that any links in your e-mail have been followed to your website)
Open rates indicate the value of your name or your company name in getting your e-mail read. Click-thru rates indicate the interest in the content.

If you send out from a recognized person’s address (e.g. kevin@growthpath.ca instead of info@growthpath.ca), you will greatly decrease bouncebacks, and increase open rates.

Your goal should be to drive recipients to contact you, or head to your website. Which means you need links to do both in your e-blast or newsletter. Then you can relate any new business to your efforts.

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