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A recent study by Deloitte, Beeline Labs, and the Society of New Communications Research asked over 140 organizations (B2B, B2C, NPOs) about objectives, success factors, and management of their online co­mmunities. Here’s a summary of what they found.

Meeting objectives.

Online communities were the most successful at:

  • Generating more word of mouth
  • Increasing product/brand awareness
  • Increasing customer loyalty
  • Bringing outside ideas into the organization

Key success factors.

Not surprisingly the factors that contributed most to success where also what makes off line communities successful. Specifically:

  • Connecting like-minded people
  • The ability to help others
  • Focusing on a hot topic or issue
  • The quality of the community manager or team

Biggest obstacles.

The biggest obstacles to making communities work were:

  • Getting people engaged
  • Finding enough time to manage the community
  • Attracting people to the community

Biggest surprises.

Some unexpected benefits:

  • Our market will tell us what they want if we just ask
  • Our customers are happy that we are reaching out
  • The ideas generated by the community

Best advice.

If you’re thinking about going down this path:

  • Get commitment from the top
  • Start with the business strategy (amen to that)
  • Start slow
  • Content is king (double amen)
  • Participate, do not control – the community doesn’t belong to you.

Everyone out there has heard how critical the subject line is for eMail.  So it surprised me that some of the regular eNewsletters I get use only the eNewsletter title and date as the subject.  ­

I’m sure I’m like most people and subscribe to more things than I can read.  I’m always moving stuff to my “Read Me” folder to look at later (sometimes days later).  Today I had a few minutes (but only a few), so I wanted to quickly scan my list for an interesting tidbit.  I have specific sources that I like, so I tend to sort using the “from” field.

Here’s what I saw:


Here’s what I did:


I skipped all the subject lines that were the same thing over and over and clicked on the one that looked interesting.  Adaptive Path – a great newsletter BTW – got no “eyeball” time because their subject line wasn’t helpful.

Here’s the so what:

It’s no surprise that I was drawn to the subject that gave me some insight into what was inside and matched up with my interests.

What is surprising is that as marketers we often forget how our one tiny subject line can be caught in a mass of other subject lines. You’re battling for attention in a short attention span world.  When the subject of your eNewsletter is the same thing over and over, it stops standing out in the crowd.

Here’s what to try:

Even if your eNewsletter holds lots of info, pick a feature story to highlight and make it part of your subject.  Adotas (show above) does just that.  You’re more likely to get clicked by providing details (even just one) than being generic.

If you’re using a generic subject line for a regular eNewsletter or eMail blast, try changing up your subject line and see if your open rate jumps.

To see comments, go to original post on Erickson Barnett Blog.

Thanks to Ann Handley over at MarketingProfs, we’re getting the opportunity to not only speak at the upcoming B2B Forum in June about our B2B Social Media Strategy, but we’ve also got 2 articles appearing in MarketingProfs this month. ­

The first “Three Factors to Consider Before you Jump on the Social Media Bandwagon” was published today (Woot!!).  I’d love your thought here or over at MarketingProfs.

Next article is about gauging the readiness of your company to jump on the social media bandwagon will appear in the next few weeks.

To see comments, go to original post on Erickson Barnett Blog.

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