#UKvUSA: why buyers will never read your e-mails

UKVUSA_newsletter2Two continents: US and UK. Two different buying backgrounds: procurement and agency. Two alternative ways of looking at things. I’m delighted to have teamed up with Deborah Corn from PrintMediaCentr to bring two extremely different views to some important print questions. So welcome to Print Buying: #UKvUSA where Deborah and I share information about our experiences from both sides of the pond.

At the end of this post I have linked to Deborah’s answer to the same question. We wrote our answers (each limited to 500 words) without any idea of what the other was writing. As Deborah says: “Maybe we will agree, maybe we won’t, maybe we don’t even see the question in the same way – who knows… that’s the fun part!”

Please do leave comments, thoughts and support at the bottom of this post and on Deborah’s post.   It would be great if also posted your thoughts on Twitter, using the hashtag #UKvUSA Remember to watch out for our answers to another question next month.

#UKvUSA: why buyers will never read your e-mails

Why can’t printing companies market themselves better?!

Increasingly, printing companies are moving to update customers regularly. Some use that old-fashioned method of communication called print 😉 However, the majority are using e-mail (although, many are complaining that e-mail newsletters are exactly what is killing the print industry…)

More and more printers are asking me why their e-mail campaigns are not bringing in better results. This is something I could talk about all day. But, I have restricted myself to just three key points.

Let’s start with getting your e-mails opened.

Most e-mails have boring headlines

Your customers are becoming deluged by e-mail. Think about how many you receive in a typical day. And think about how many you delete without even opening.

If you want to grab a customer’s attention quickly, your e-mail has to stand out. It doesn’t matter how interesting the content: if you don’t have a great headline then people are not going to open your e-mail.

I receive countless e-mails with headlines like:

“Update from xyz company”

“January newsletter”

“Announcing our new whizzy press”

These headlines are BORING. Why would I open an e-mail like this? The third headline brings me neatly along to my next point.

Most e-mails are all about print

Most prospects and customers these days neither understand print nor care about it. Telling them about your new press will not interest them. Even updates about finishing options or how to set up files will be ignored by most readers.

If you want to grab prospect’s attention, it’s important to be in their world. Talk about what matters to them. That’s the only way to make sure they stay engaged with you.

If you are not sure what matters to your customers, make sure you ask them. However, there is one subject that grabs most readers, and which is lacking from most e-mails.

Most e-mails don’t talk about pain

Most people have some challenges in their work lives. If they think your e-mail might help them solve a work challenge or pain, there’s a good chance it will be opened and read.

So how does this work in practice?

Here’s an example of how to get better engagement rates

I worked with a magazine printer. We asked their customers what issues they faced and what they would like to read about. They talked about raising page yields, hiring good sales staff and improving magazine schedules.

Only one of these subjects was about print. But as soon as they began writing about these subjects their customer engagement increased. It became easier to follow up on this communication and make a sale.

There’s one other way to substantially increase reader engagement

Think about using direct mail. I know a number of printing companies that have had fantastic results by using the communication channel they should be championing: print.

How did Deborah tackle this question? See here.

Look out for the next #UKvUSA battle next month: “How can printing companies get more work from their customers?”

PS There are some more very useful ideas on how to engage with customers in my free e-book below. Make sure you download your copy for free right now.

Download your free copy of “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them” (worth £19/$29) right now

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