An Example of How Targeted Content in Newsletters Pays Off

I’ve said before and – watch out – I shall say many times in future that the number one rule for newsletters is: write for your reader. That’s because if you make the content relevant to your readers’ interests, they are more likely read your newsletter, engage with you and – frankly – buy stuff.

So it’s nice to see some concrete evidence that changing a newsletter so that it directly matches the interests of the reader brings about a bump in results.

Marketing Sherpa produced an interesting report today about how Sprint used dynamic content to deliver content targeted at readers’ preferences. Now, most small business aren’t going to be investing in dynamic content (it requires an IT investment) but they can a) make sure their newsletter is targeted at their readers’ needs, and b) produce several, highly targeted newsletters according to segments of their client lists.

Here are the takeaways from the Sprint results:

  • Sprint had already started a move in its newsletters away from promotional material towards using them as a customer loyalty tool. (Smart move – people in general don’t want to receive a bunch of ads.)
  • They focused on new content and features to make the newsletter a benefit for existing customers.(Note the word “benefit” – you want to make your customers’ lives better.)
  • They wanted to offer the most relevant information – personalized content targeting each subscriber’s needs and interests.
  • The team began using dynamic content features that would deliver a
    customized, highly targeted version of the newsletter to each customer,
    based on their wireless device, service plan and interest areas. They
    also adopted a rigorous testing strategy to optimize layout, content
    selection and subject lines.

Here are some of the results:

  • Clickthrough rates are typically twice as high as those achieved through Sprint’s promotional email blasts.
  • Dynamic content is a large contributor to the monthly results. For
    example, the personalized image of a subscriber’s phone (that links to
    that phone’s supplier)
  • Although the newsletter is positioned as a customer-loyalty tool, it is outperforming the company’s promotional email campaigns:
    The newsletter produces more than double the number of phone purchases
    and plan upgrades as that of promotional email campaigns.