Let’s get this sorted once and for all. Sending out a monthly newsletter does not count as lead generation activity.
We’re not going to tell you to ditch your newsletter entirely. An email newsletter is a worthy part of your marketing mix, but you must recognise the purpose it fulfils. And this purpose is not to bring warm leads onto the plates of your sales team.
Do lead generation and newsletters have anything in common?
The only real similarity between the two, as far as we are concerned here, is that GDPR applies to both. Both kinds of email require gathering personal data (in the form of email addresses) and so they must be compliant in all aspects of the regulations. Legitimate Interest is a suitable basis on which to send out both. So, you don’t need to be unduly concerned about securing opt-ins if you’re new to either or both of these.
Sign up to my/our newsletter here” is probably the most common pop-up or landing page content you’ll see on a website. It’s hard to find exact data, but it seems that the average person subscribes to between 20 and 30 email newsletters.
If you’re one of the above people, you probably signed up because you liked a piece of content and thought you’d get value from reading other posts. You didn’t intend to join the buying cycle, indeed the company may not sell anything you need, or you may not be a decision-maker. How would you feel if you then started getting sales-type messages? This is why newsletters have their own signup link and form; they allow you to signal a very specific type of interest. The current GDPR legislation does not specifically mention newsletters as a subset of email. However, common sense will tell you that signing up for a newsletter doesn’t count as consent to receive sales messages.
Compare this to submitting your email address to download a whitepaper on lead nurturing best practice. You’re showing a deep interest in what the company in question does, which would earn you a place in the sales funnel. Even if you unsubscribe after the first lead generation email, you shouldn’t be surprised to receive it.
Think of the last email newsletter that you read. It most likely contained some good tidbits of industry news, a product update from the sending company, and a final whimsical aside about what their team get up to “behind the scenes”. But did it drive you to do anything?
This is the core of why your monthly newsletter is not lead generation activity. A good lead generation email is a window into a specific problem that you solve for your customers. It aims to make a good number of them think “yes, that is a problem I’m dealing with” and look deeper into how you can help them personally.
Comparing a lead generation email to a newsletter should make this difference clear. A lead generation email will contain a call to action, either a straight-up “book a demo today” or a lighter, “save your seminar seat here”. Newsletters will not be so direct.
In addition, newsletters are more likely to link to external content, such as an industry publication or news site. This content undoubtedly has value, by showing your awareness of broader trends and events. But a lead generation email is not the place for them. The purpose of lead generation emails is to entice readers to spend more time on your website, accumulating a web score. Sharing content from other sites is the opposite of this!
Won’t weekly emails annoy my leads?
We’re not just being flippant here. A survey of over 2000 people conducted by Marketing Sherpas found that 91% of them had no objection to receiving promotional emails. Receiving a weekly email was preferred by one-third of respondents. This makes it significantly more popular than monthly or quarterly sends. Most surprisingly, 15% of those questioned said they would be happy to receive a daily email!
While Marketing Sherpas didn’t specifically ask about content, it should be obvious that the above results only apply to well-written lead generation emails.
The CommuniGator Way
We’re big fans of the weekly lead generation email. Ours include one brand new blog, a related blog from the archives, and a longer resource for anyone immediately interested.
We keep newsletters for customers and partner organisations, as a way of keeping them engaged and showing off what’s new in the product. The focus is on reducing churn, making sure our users know we are thinking of them. The product updates are a form of pre-emptive support; the idea being that we answer user queries before they ask them.
Getting value from both lead generation emails and monthly newsletters is definitely possible. You just need to remember what each one is and isn’t for. With the right approach, the two can support and complement each other.