Is Email Marketing Outdated for Channel Partners?

July 14, 2015

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The short answer to this is… it depends!  Cue large groan! But on what exactly? Well on your own personal approach to email marketing for channel partners for a start. Just like everything, it is your email strategy and activities that need to be updated and revamped and given a new lease of life. Here’s how.


Why email marketing


Email marketing has dramatically evolved over the years, allowing organisations to regularly connect and update their recipients with new information.


This is still a great way to send useful information about your brand to your partners. This could include product updates, new promotions or maybe updates to your partner program and portal. The content is completely up to you. Whatever it is, it is designed to equip recipients with relevant content to stay in tune with your brand.


When adopted correctly, it can achieve significant results.


‘Correctly’ is the critical word here.


How things have changed


The major change within this space is the accessibility, volume and technology. Whether you receive emails at work, on your tablet, or mobile device, nowadays communication is a lot easier, cost effective and accessible. It has allowed many brands to increase their global reach as geographical location is no longer an issue.


And with the advancement of technologies, creating bulk email newsletters, such as for your channel partners, has become a lot simpler and achievable.


The issues


So you adopted an email marketing strategy one, two, or maybe three years ago… but have you updated it much since? How many times have you actually reviewed what you are doing and thought, ‘I know what changes I need to make here’? The chances are not very often. It’s a bit like a new kitchen, it looks sleek and pretty at first but over time the walls need a paint, and things need to be replaced in order to bring it up to date and functional again. Trends change, we move on, and so perhaps it’s time you did too.


Competition


Let’s also not forget about the high level of competition you’re dealing with here, each fighting for their email to get noticed. Remember your partners don’t only receive your newsletters! So the main aim here is to ensure your emails and newsletters stand out from the crowd. You want them to get opened, and be the favorable ones that partners actually engage with and take the time to read.


So evaluate your current email stats, such as open, click and unsubscribe rate and come up with a plan of what you want to improve. Leave the how up to me.


Where many go wrong


It’s all about targeting. If you send a generalised email newsletter to all of your partners, with half of the content not even relating to their interests or needs, engagement levels are unsurprisingly going to be low. One size certainly does not fit all, it needs to be adapted.


And once more, if your channel partners are located globally, have you considered that some partners may be averse to reading your newsletter if it is not in their first language? That’s if they actually take the time to read it, which they probably won’t due to their busy schedules.


Getting with the program


So here’s what you need to do. Let’s first tackle targeting. Your email needs to be adapted to your recipients’ requirements and interests. Software programs such as newsondemand allow this to be easily achievable, and cost effective.


The recipient simply selects what they want to receive (you create a list of categories that they can choose from) and when they want to receive it (time and frequency). No HTML coding is required. All you need to do is upload your articles, and based upon the recipients’ preferences, a newsletter will be created and sent to all subscribers. Each newsletter therefore will look slightly different, appealing solely to the receiver.


Since using this program, SAP’s newsletter open rates are now up by 49%, and the average click to open rate is now 5.9%, with some reaching 17%. Impressive I know.


Or there are other programs that will make your life that little bit easier. For a simple approach, creating a one size fits all newsletter, you could try Mail Chimp. They have some great analytical features to really help you identify how you are performing.


If however you are looking for something a bit more advanced, there are other solutions where you put your recipients into specific groups and create newsletters specifically to appeal to these groups. So you could potentially be creating 5 or 6 newsletters each time. This unfortunately will be very costly, hence why I would suggest, and yes I know I am biased, that you look at newsondemand! It really does eliminate all the physical newsletter creation tasks.


It of course depends upon how targeted you want to be, how much time you want to spend on email marketing, and how diverse your brand really is. It’s definitely worth looking into all of these options and seeing which would work best for you.


Images say 1000 words


The visual element of your newsletter is crucial. A dull and dingy newsletter will quickly be ignored. Similarly so a newsletter with reams of writing. Boring! An interesting newsletter is always one that contains lots of images, enticing the recipient to read on. Ensure this is a key element to your email strategy. And please whatever you do, ensure it complements your brand. Adopt your brands colour scheme within the newsletters so straight away the recipient knows exactly who the newsletter is from.


Let’s be clear now


Clarity is an essential element to newsletters. Your recipient wants to be able to grab the essentials and move on. Expecting the recipient to just magically find essential bits of information and tirelessly read through everything is an unrealistic expectation. For this reason the essentials should always be at the top, in prime view for all to see. If using software such as newsondemand, you will be able to preference which articles appear at the top, without requiring any re-work of HTML coding. But alternatively you can select these yourself and alter the layout accordingly.


So together, let’s update our email newsletters and defuse this outdated myth that they don’t work. It’s not true! Try my tips above and see what a difference this makes to your channel communications. You’ll wish you’d done it sooner.

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