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The myth of the Email Newsletter

16 Jul

Working with clients on their email programs for years in the US, one of the recommendations I made to many of them was to introduce a newsletter to their subscribers at least once per month. This would help subscribers feel like it’s more of a conversation, introduce the business’ personality and allow the business to take a break from promotional content with messaging that, if done well, can actually sell more at full price!

But here’s something interesting about the Nordics (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland for reference): everything is called a newsletter. The Swedish word for newsletter is “nyhetsbrev”. It’s one of the first Swedish words I learned. My first few weeks on the job I was signing up for anything and everything just to get a better idea of what email marketing means here. And as I was looking at site after site looking for the email sign-up form, I saw that word over and over again – nyhetsbrev. Why?

Instead of the extensive vocabulary we have in English for all the different types of email communications — promotional, newsletter, transactional, trigger, alerts, etc — there’s just one word here that describes everything.  Nyhetsbrev.

But here’s the funny thing: most of the emails are newsletters. It seems that the Nordics have taken the opposite approach to the US: inform first then sell. But don’t sell too much. Swedish marketers in particular are afraid of selling too strongly, or at all, for fear of upsetting their subscribers.

That’s very much the culture in general; nothing is too in your face or too pushy. It’s often not enough! Casually telling someone that a sale may be happening is not effective in much the same way as being in their face too much isn’t.

I think there’s some insight here both sides can learn from each other. US marketers can and should use information more to sell and the Nordics should provide stronger calls to action and, in some cases, promotions to get people to act.

What are some key things you wish marketers on all sides of the pond knew more about? Tell me!

Kelly

 

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4 responses to “The myth of the Email Newsletter

    • Kelly Lorenz

      July 16, 2012 at 16:37

      These statistics add some punch to the argument for the email newsletter. Those countries with the softest sell approach do seem to have higher engagement rates. I wonder if it translates into sales. Thanks for expanding the conversation!

       

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