Product Managers Need To Understand The Power Of A Newsletter

Product Managers know that newsletters can be a powerful way to stay in touch with your customers
Product Managers know that newsletters can be a powerful way to stay in touch with your customers
Image Credit: AJC1

As product managers we spend a great deal of our time trying to figure out how to get more people to buy our products. This is all fine, but it turns out that some of our most profitable customers may be the people who have already bought our product. Since they have already bought into our product development definition and agreed to buy one of our products, they may be more willing to buy more products, add-ons, and upgrades. Additionally, if they can remember that they have bought our product then they may be willing to recommend it to others. As product managers what we need to do is to start to send a newsletter to our customers in order to make sure that they remember us.

What’s Your Offer?

As we all know, time is precious. What this means is that if we send a newsletter to our customers, we’d like them to take the time to read it. However, if we don’t come up with a way to grab their attention right off the bat, then all of our effort is going to be wasted. What you need to keep in mind is that people need a good reason to be willing to add even more email to their inboxes which are probably already overflowing.

What this is going to mean for you as a product manager is that how you get your customers to sign up to receive your newsletter is almost as important as the newsletter itself. The one thing that you want to make sure that you never do is to add email addresses to your mailing list without the person’s permission to do so. Your sign up form is going to have to make some promises to your customers. What are they going to get out of subscribing to your newsletter? Will it be discounts on your company’s products? Will it be secret industry insider information? The key to make sure that the newsletter benefits are long term so that customer’s won’t just subscribe, get what they wanted, and then unsubscribe.

Frequency Counts

As product managers, we’d like to always be on our customer’s minds. Now, this of course is not possible, but we would at least like to make sure that they don’t forget about us. This means that we’re going to have to make some important decisions regarding how often you are going to want to send newsletters to your customers. None of us want to get the reputation of being a spammer and so we don’t want to do this too often.

The flip side of this problem is not sending a newsletter to our customers often enough. What can happen if we do that is that they end up forgetting about us and forgetting about our newsletter. In certain businesses there is a time of year that customers are most likely to make a purchase, such as around Christmas time. What can happen is that we ignore our customers all year and then start sending them lots of newsletters as Christmas approaches. A much better approach is to realize that we need to get in contact with our customers roughly once or twice a month. Do this right and you’ll have something to add to your product manager resume.

It’s All About Design

I’m willing to bet that most of us are not accomplished graphical designers and this means that we’re going to be facing a real issue when it comes to coming up with a layout for our newsletter. Product managers often like to focus on what kind of content we’re going to be including and not so much on how it’s going to be presented. What this can lead to is a newsletter that has a lot of text and very little white space separating it. This will make your newsletter hard to read.

In order to make any newsletter interesting, it’s often a good idea to include a few images. This can make the whole newsletter more attractive. However, product managers need to realize that they can’t control how their customers are going to read the newsletter. What this means is that a lot of your customers may be using software that turns ads and images off when they read online content. This means that when they look at your newsletter, the images will be removed and will be replaced with blank spaces. You need to be aware that this can happen and make sure that your newsletter still looks good even without the images that you’ve included.

What All Of This Means For You

In the era of Facebook and Twitter, it turns out that the email newsletter is still a very powerful way for product managers to get in touch with their customers. Even if it’s only the subject line, they can be assured that any customer who has subscribed to their newsletter will at least read part of it each time they send it out. Keeping your customer’s attention is a part of every product manager’s product manager job description.

In order to build up a mailing list for your newsletter, you are going to have to get your existing customers to sign up for the newsletter. This means you’ll have to create a compelling offer for them that will cause them to want to read the newsletter and not quickly unsubscribe. You’ll want to use your newsletter to make sure that your customer remembers you. This means that you need to not send so many newsletters that you come across as a spammer, but also that you send enough to be remembered. Roughly once or twice a month should do the trick. The way that you lay out your newsletter is going to be important in getting your customers to read it. Don’t cram too much text into it and make sure that if images are not displayed that it will still be readable.

A newsletter is a cheap and easy way to keep in touch with your existing customers. The key to a successful long-term relationship with a customer is communication and the newsletter is the best way to make this happen. If you take the time to create a newsletter that will contain information that your customers will want to read, then you will have created a way to stay in touch with them and to be there the next time they want to make a purchase.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: How many pages do you think that a newsletter should have?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

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