In the Trenches: Are Customer Newsletters Worth It?
As someone who is frequently bombarded with spammy newsletters from a million different sources, I'm always hesitant to add another newsletter to the mix. After a year of only sending infrequent emails when news came up, I decided the time had come for our business to get started with something more formal. I just needed to make sure we did it right.
There's no question that consistent customer communication is important. You always want to stay top-of-mind, of course. Previously, I thought our communications were consistent enough, but a couple of things changed. See, I had been sending emails to clients whenever there was news to report. My problem, however, was that my definition of news was fairly high, so the emails were becoming less and less frequent.
When I did send the emails, I would get responses from a couple of people noting how they ended up in their spam folders. Other times I would get emails from clients saying how they had forgotten to have us work on a trip for them. This was a problem, so I decided to dig in and find a solution.
I had learned a fair bit about customer communication products from my last job, so I knew that I wanted something that was not only easy to set up but also affordable. I ended up going with Constant Contact, because frankly, the price was right. I also knew it would do a better job of getting through spam filters than I would.
I set up a template that I could use for a monthly email, and I was off. Now all I had to do was come up with worthwhile content. Knowing that I wouldn't always have a ton of news, I tried to come up with some ideas of what would still be interesting on a monthly basis, including fare sales and new route announcements. Then I set up a couple of spots in the letter for news and tips, and that was that. I figured that a monthly newsletter wasn't too much, but it would be frequent enough to keep people engaged.
Our first newsletter went out in November and had more than a 50 percent open rate with no spam reports. After it went out, I had two or three people sign up for follow-on trips and another few people say how much they liked the new format. Now I'm getting ready to send out the second newsletter, just in time for the holiday travel rush. So far, it's proving to be a good plan.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.