Put Your Newsletter Efforts into Online Channels Instead

vitamixI just downloaded and glanced through this useful whitepaper by Kentico (which produces a nice, user-friendly CMS system, by the way), and read about the typical customer experience in the digital age.

It paralleled my and my wife’s product-shopping experience for the most part – when we want to buy a new whatchamacallit, we go online first. We look up reviews on Amazon and other sites, we visit product websites for specs, we might watch a video or two, and we might ask our friends for recommendations on Facebook. We use a desktop computer, an iPad, and our iPhones to do this research at different points during the day – usually computers during work hours and mobile devices afterward. And we definitely choose to purchase online if it’s significantly cheaper than going into a store.

The “typical” digital user experience diverges from my experience in a few places, however: I don’t normally subscribe to product newsletters, because frankly, most product newsletters are down there with email spam in my book. I’ve never downloaded a product brochure as an individual (though as an employee of a company it’s a different story). We might not even decide to view the product in a store, unless it’s a big enough purchase. And unfortunately for most brands, we don’t tend to “like” them on Facebook or share with friends unless it’s a truly remarkable, mind-blowing experience.

What is the takeaway from this short, shallow critique of the “typical” digital shopping experience? Effort spent on brand-centric initiatives like newsletters, promotional emails, brochures, and other materials pushed to customers might not always be an effective use of marketing budget – of course, this depends on who your customers are and what you sell.

A more memorable, fan-centric use of that effort might be building something interesting your customers can run across during their online research – something they can trust, take informational value from, and even be entertained by. Maybe it’s a virtual tour of your product, or something artistic that calls attention to its design. Maybe a community of users asking and answering questions. Maybe a community of evangelists who support and educate about your product, because it’s more eco-friendly or health-conscious than the other options out there.

When shopping for a new blender, we ended up buying a Vitamix because of its claim of being able to break down cellular walls to allow our bodies to access a food’s full potential. We ran across this information because health fanatics are out there trumpeting it. There’s actually a ton of information available on this for anyone who’s researching the best types of blender to buy – and it’s so ubiquitous because it’s remarkable.

Something like that is definitely worth sharing.

Seen any great marketing lately?

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