Thursday, February 21, 2008


3. Some content in e-mail, full content on web site (multiple pages). This is similar to approach (1), but here the e-mail newsletter is longer since it contains a short extract from each article. Typically a more >> option link will be available to take the user through to the web site. This makes it easier for the reader to decide whether the content is relevant to them. This is a common approach; Figure 5.14 is an example.

4. Some content in e-mail, full content on web site (single pages). This is similar to option (2), but again has the advantage that an idea of the relevance of the content is given in the e-mail, and also it is easier to find other content from the same newsletter on the web site.

5. All content in e-mail. This approach is being used by Freepint ( at the time of writing. A lot of detailed content about web searching is provided in two detailed text e-mails, sent each month. Here, a clickthrough is not required to the site at all(although some longer articles may require this). It is typically used by professional or technical plain-text newsletters. This approach is arguably the best method of communicating information to the recipient. However, for the marketer, calls-to-action encouraging further participation are more difficult to achieve from the newsletter than from the web site.

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This decision is difficult, since the preference on length varies according to the individual. For many, including this author, part of the power of e-mail newsletters is to be able to get a rapid briefing on developments about a particular topic. If you have to clickthrough to a web site and then understand the structure of the web site, as is the case with the What's New in Marketing web site (, this slows down the experience.

A related question is, should we archive? For a B2B newsletter, the question is perhaps not should we archive, but how? Archiving a B2B newsletter, provided it has quality content, provides an excellent resource for your customers. They will return to the resource as they face particular issues. As mentioned above, this can also assist in generating new subscribers, since specialist articles indexed by search engines will gain new visitors who may look to tap into your expertise. For a B2C newsletter, the issue is not that clear cut. If the e-newsletter is providing news or interesting content, then similar arguments apply — it is a resource that will encourage repeat visits and can also, via search engines, act as an acquisitions tool. For B2C newsletters from an e-tail site it is inappropriate to archive the content, since product information and offers will quickly date.

When an archive is content-rich, which is typically the case with a media or news site, the utility for the user can be improved by developing 'related article' features. ClickZ ( has a good related-articles feature. This lists items related to the current article according to which category they fall into, or according to similarity in key words in title or body.

Decision 18 how do we gain subscribers?

There are two aspects to gaining subscribers: first, there are various sources where e-mail addresses can be collected; secondly, there is selling the benefits of the newsletter so that potential subscribers are happy to give up their e-mail address. You may want to refer back to Chapter 4, where approaches to gain customer e-mail addresses were covered in more detail. This explains maximizing our use of online and offline touchpoints with our audiences to explain the proposition, and offer the opportunity to opt-in without building too many barriers.

On the web site, we need to ask these three questions to maximize sign-up:

1. Is our opt-in given enough prominence? Is it on the home page? Is it 'above the fold'? Is there enough screen real-estate devoted to it? Is our archive and proposition indexed by search engines? Is it prominent throughout the site?

2. Is our proposition clear? Does the messaging say more than 'opt-in to our e-newsletter'? Does the sign-up page highlight the benefits? Are the benefits for different audiences clearly described? Is the quality of content demonstrated through an archive or example newsletter?

3. Can we overcome barriers to subscription? Reassure potential subscribers that you will not be overloading them with e-mail. Show how the newsletter will be relevant and targeted. Reassure them that details will not be passtd on to third parties by using those six magic words: 'we will not share your information'.

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