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Sign Me Up!: A BeTuitive Book Club Review of a Marketer's Guide to Creating Email Newsletters

Posted on September 27, 2005 by Sarah Eaton.

Sign Me Up!: A Marketer's Guide to Creating Email Newsletters that Build Relationships and Boost Sales
by Matt Blumberg and Michael Mayor with Tami Monahan Forman and Stephanie A. Miller

A book review by Susan Fisher

Permission marketing is just what it says it is. It’s marketing centered around customer consent. You secure permission from your customer and prospective customers to market your products and services to them. Permission is a covenant: As long as you give customers something they want, mainly information they find valuable, they will accept your marketing messages.

The advantages to a system built upon mutuality are obvious. You actually manage to get the ear, and hopefully the mindshare, of customers who are bombarded daily with hundreds of both stealthily subtle and blaringly blatant marketing messages.

The disadvantages are equally obvious: How do you gain consent? How do you get your customers to not only say “Okay, fine,” but to exclaim “Sign me up!”?  Once you gain permission, how do you keep it? How do you build a strong relationship through these communications, rather than end up as an annoyance and be perceived as one more interruption in a busy day?

Here’s a simple answer that should be considered the golden rule of e-marketing: “Create Email That People Love to Read.” “Content is king: If recipients don’t read your email, it has no chance of building your business, and no one will read it unless the content is relevant and interesting to them.”

That’s “Rule #4” in “Sign Me Up!:  A Marketer's Guide to Creating Email Newsletters that Build Relationships and Boost Sales.” Written by a team from email services firm Return Path, “Sign Me Up!” addresses those basic e-newsletter development questions in a practical way. It offers a primer on:
1. content strategy (really the basics on how to write and design a newsletter, rather than tie newsletter content into a greater marketing communications or sales strategy)
2. list strategy (how to build a very basic list; there’s not much on list segmentation – which we at BeTuitive Marketing find critical)
3. optimization strategies (how to improve response and measure how the email program is working in a very general way.) 

The points are reinforced by examples from Kimberly-Clark, eBay and other companies with well-known brands. 

One of the best features of the book is that it clearly states points that should be obvious but, from our experience, unfortunately aren’t. For example, here is advice about email customer service that we also emphasize to our customers.

• “Have a real, live person monitor all incoming mail.”
• “Don’t tell your customers not to reply to the messages you send.”
• “Ask for feedback.”
• “Handle spam complaints the right way.”

Quite frankly, as the editorial director at BeTuitive Marketing -- which creates email newsletters to build relationships and build sales -- I found little new in the book. It did not break any new ground or offer any insight particular to B2B marketing, which is a slightly different animal than B2C communications. Most importantly, experience tells me that a 164-page book can only scratch the surface of the exacting and sometimes grueling – but always rewarding -- effort it takes to get an email newsletter off the ground and to keep it high flying, so customers get what they want to hear along with what you want to tell them.

Nonetheless, the book and its helpful glossary offer a solid introduction for email newsletter novices and a helpful re-introduction to the process for businesses that have tried email newsletter campaigns and ended up with less-than-stellar results.  At $6 for a pdf version (and $17.95 for a trade paperback), it’s worth the download or the dollars for the paperback. Plus, the authors promise to donate 10 percent of the purchase price to the nonprofit The Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis. So, read the book, and then come to a professional for a deeper level of expertise.

For more on the book, visit www.returnpath.biz/signmeup

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September 27, 2005 in award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, build credibility, Business editorial, Business newsletter, Business relationships, Corporate newsletter, Corporate publications | Permalink

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Comments

I am interested implementing a newsletter, and e-mail marketing campaign in the Piedmontarea of NC...
I am looking at cost parameters

Posted by: Mike Huffman | Sep 29, 2005 11:06:54 AM

i would like to have the news letter having gone through yr site.

Posted by: Nelson otigbu | Oct 18, 2005 4:08:05 AM

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