The power of genuine communication

Just before the Christmas holidays, when I’d completed all my to do list and was looking forward to the last few quiet hours in the office and the night out afterwards, my inbox was suddenly flooded with emails. Now, I normally do get a lot of emails….but over 100, all together? That has never happened before.

I really wasn’t expecting all this last minute work, and was scared of opening my inbox after all those notifications…. but to leave it until after the holidays would have been worse, so I bravely had a look at what all that noise was.  Surprise! It was not spam, or other annoying pre-packaged content. My inbox was filled with genuine thank you’s and holiday wishes that really made my day. But why?

Because of my newsletter. Strange, I thought no one read newsletters anymore, right? Wrong. I send a monthly newsletter to all mondora.com’s customers and to all my colleagues’ linkedin contacts too. Some people chose to unsubscribe after the first newsletter, but they were very few. The vast majority receive the newsletter, and we also have a high percentage of open rate and click rate. Awesome!

The December newsletter turned out to be particularly popular because I removed all “usual” content and replaced it with a Christmas card. The card was not something I picked from the internet, but it was a carefully created image showing the story of how mondora gave santa some self-driving reindeer after the real reindeer decided to try self-organisation and made a big mess out of it. This crazy idea came from our CEO Francesco Mondora, and I loved it! Our customers loved it too, and the 100 emails that filled my inbox were from CEOs and other customer contacts we have in mondora, thanking us for the lovely Christmas wishes, and wishing us happy holidays in return.

Christmas2015.jpg

So what made this newsletter, and mondora’s previous newsletters, good enough for people to actually

  1. open them
  2. read them
  3. click on the links
  4. reply?

I think the answer is very simple. They are genuine.

When I prepare a newsletter I consider these things:

  1. who am I sending the newsletter to?
  2. what content would they enjoy viewing?
  3. how can I make this content more personal?
  4. how can I make them feel valued and included in mondora’s life?

I then try to write my newsletter as if I am writing to someone I know well – I use a friendly and informal tone, I ask questions and I specifically ask for feedback too. It doesn’t matter that I’m writing to CEOs and high-end managers, they are still people and they appreciate a friendly email just as much as anyone else.

The newsletters I send out have a short personal text, and then extracts and pictures with links to our latest and most interesting blog posts about business and about our B Corporation efforts.

I also include stories and pictures of any events we have attended or spoken at, and links to videos on our youtube channel whenever we create something good (not that often for now!). Finally, I once included a link to our flickr album Office Moments, where I post pictures of my colleagues “in action” collected from our company whatsapp channel. The album received so many clicks that it has become a set feature in the newsletters! It seems that sharing our “behind the scenes” moments with our customers really helps in making them feel included in our company life – as well as promoting the fact that there are real people who do really funny things behind all that software we produce!

To sum up, newsletters are still a very powerful tool to connect with customers and collaborators, but they must be genuine. They must be written with the person in mind, they must not be ads or sales messages, they must provide useful and interesting content and they must be a means of connecting and sharing values. We don’t send newsletters to increase sales, we send newsletters because we genuinely care about our customers!

How do you send newsletters, and what do you include? Please share your stories and comments, there is always something to learn!
Want to receive our newsletter? You can subscribe HERE!

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