Thursday, February 21, 2008


Decision 15 marketing communications integration

There is a tendency to plan our e-mail newsletters with blinkers on. If this happens, we lose opportunities to leverage the strengths of different media for different purposes. Here are some ideas on how to avoid this:

  • Use the e-newsletter to preview future offers and product developments before other media. Highlight unique web offers — this will be an incentive for audiences to open the e-newsletter.
  • Use the e-newsletters to reinvigorate recent or current campaigns or promotions that were first highlighted in other media.
  • Use the e-newsletter to give more detail than the offline newsletter or house magazine provides — refer visitors to the online version and reduce the size and cost of the offline communication. Alternatively, put the whole magazine online, as with http://
  • Rather than referring the media or other audiences to press releases or a media centre, refer them first to an e-newsletter item. This will give them a more complete picture of what the company stands for, and your current news.

Decision 16 e-mail integration

Alongside the e-mail newsletter, there will be many other e-mail communications from an organization. This leads to decisions about what is the best way to break major news such as a product launch or upgrade.

Internet 2010

I have seen newsletters where a major initiative such as a product launch or an event invitation becomes lost in all the other news items. Many newsletter templates could be improved by avoiding the newsletter being a list of items with similar weightings. This danger can be reduced through themed subject lines, or an e-mail newsletter design that gives precedence to certain items and is not too long. However, the danger of diluting the message still occurs. In the case of the product launch, it is best to use a separate e-mail to give this message. The opt-in form should give this option, so that the e-mail received is in keeping with the subscriber's expectations.

Decision 17 web-site integration

One of the benefits of e-newsletters, compared with their paper-based equivalents, is the ability to deliver a large amount of valuable information at a low cost. Of course, this is a double-edged sword. Too much information will make the e-newsletter unwieldy, and your message will not get across or the recipients will not be able to locate the information relevant to them. So when you want to convey a lot of information, as is the case with many newsletters, you have to decide on the split of content between the e-mail newsletter and the web site, where more detailed content may be hosted.

To simplify an example, let's say this newsletter contains just three different content areas, or three different articles. The options are:

1. Minimal content in e-mail, full content on web site in multiple pages. Here, the e-newsletter contains the links and a very short summary of the article, linking through to the full article on the web site. This has the benefit that the newsletter can be scanned very rapidly by the recipient for articles of interest. However, there is no indication of the quality or relevance of the content, which is possible with approaches (3) to (5). It also less easy for the other articles to be read than in the next option, (2).

2. Minimal content in e-mail, full content on web site in a single page. As in the previous case, the e-mail has limited information, but on clicking through to the web site a single page newsletter is presented that contains all the articles. This has the benefit that the interested reader can rapidly find the information in all articles.

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