If you’ve read many of my blog posts, you know that I always recommend paper over email newsletters because newsletters that arrive in the mail have an open rate about four times better than open rates for email. Consequently, if your goal is to build your brand, get customers to recognize the added value you bring them and sell additional products, you will probably get a better return on investment with paper than electronic, even though the investment cost may be greater.
Putting that aside, however, I want to praise some aspects of the email newsletter — and I don’t mean how cheap they are. Pennies are cheap, too, but aside from using them to scratch lottery tickets or check tire treads, they’re practically useless. If you email your client newsletters through an email service provider, such as Smart’s Publishing’s, you may have access to some analytic tools you can use to improve your sales.
When an email service provider sends a properly set up newsletter for you, it can track who opened the newsletter and which articles they read. (Smart’s HTML+ newsletters have this capability.) Why is this important?
Let’s say your latest newsletter has an article about dental insurance. You might want to see who read that article and cross-check their accounts to see if they currently purchase dental insurance.
Some email service providers also keep a database of each of your customers for you, as Smart’s does, so you can research which other articles they may have read lately. (Of course, you can be confident that Smart’s, like other reputable email service providers, offer these features in a completely secure and confidential environment.) If you look up one of your benefits client’s viewing history, for example, you may find they have been looking at a lot of articles on voluntary benefit products lately. Maybe you should give them a call? Tell them you might have some new ideas to help them increase employee satisfaction with their benefits package without costing them any extra money.
Does this capability make up for having a lousy open rate? I don’t know, but it’s certainly useful. Many agents send email as well as paper newsletters to the same list for the convenience of their customers and prospects. This might be another good reason to send your clients both paper and email versions of your newsletter. You get the best of both worlds, better brand recognition and customer sales intelligence.