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Why you should bother to write to your best customers

It never ceases to surprise me how many companies don’t put out regular email communications because they “don’t have much of an email list”. Effectively, they’re saying that it’s only worth them writing an email if there are hundreds of people out there willing to read it. Meanwhile, on the other side of the office, there’s a sales account manager looking for an excuse – any excuse – to get in touch with their most important customer or prospect. They’d willingly spend an hour or more crafting an email to achieve that, if they knew what to put in it.

Can you see the disconnect here? If you have one – just one – important customer or prospect who’d read something interesting from you at regular intervals, it’s worth writing to them. Even if you accept that only 10% of marketing emails get opened and read, you only need a mailing list of 10 customers or prospects to make the exercise worthwhile.

Now, what you need to send them should be good, obviously. But there’s no end of hints and tips about your products and their applications which they’d appreciate. A good technical newsletter with three or four items is surprisingly easy to compile, especially if you have a brainstorming session or a Slack group to map out ideas ahead of time.

And don’t just send to every email address you have. Accept that many people won’t want your information, however proud you are of it. I believe the best way is to telephone them and get their verbal agreement; surprisingly, the majority say yes. We’ve found that someone good at the job can reach most of a list of 100 people over the course of a fortnight, without it taking up all of their time, and our experience is that over half of the people asked would be happy to receive what you’re offering. So you can compile your list of willing recipients for significantly less than £10 a name. And yes, writing a newsletter for 50 important people is very, very worthwhile.

Finally, the email should be just that – an email. Don’t be tempted by clever, multi-item newsletter templates offered by the email software companies. Simple, single-column text emails with only essential graphics (and your company branding) are what get read.