Business blogs, newsletters and emails: how to demonstrate knowledge and win new customers
From China to South Korea, some US and European businesses are looking to make significant investments and seek out commercial partnerships in Asia.
But with huge risks and rewards at stake, many are drawing on the knowledge and advice of business consultancies such as Intralink, which employs an army of experts on sectors from medical devices and semiconductors to renewable energy and agricultural technology.
Intralink’s specialists keep businesses updated on the latest trends in Asia through a regular blog, offering insights into markets such as Japan, Taiwan, China and South Korea, and outlining opportunities for investment, supply contracts and deals with local businesses.
Using the Mailchimp email marketing platform to manage communications for its content marketing programme, Intralink keeps in touch with a database of contacts, regularly sending out blogs and a weekly news bulletin every Friday called Asia Pick of the Week, summarising the weekly Asian business news.
As Intralink CEO Greg Sutch says: “As a high-end service business, it’s vital for us to demonstrate our specialism in Asia’s business markets and content marketing is a powerful way for us to achieve this.”
While generating high-quality content is critical, it is also important to identify the best channels to reach its audience. “Alongside LinkedIn, email is an effective way to get our blog posts and news out to our contacts to keep them abreast of developments in Asia and remind them that we’re on hand to help with their expansion in the region. Our output gets impressive open rates and frequently triggers enquiries that lead to new clients – and so plays a tangible role in our business growth,” says Sutch.
The email contact list contains email addresses of European and North American business executives, and has been painstakingly built up over many years through personal meetings and people subscribing to receive Intralink updates.
Open rates for Intralink’s blogs over the past three months have been excellent compared with the average open rate for consulting industry emails, says Tariq Khwaja, managing director of TK Associates, a consultancy which runs Intralink’s content marketing strategy and email marketing campaigns. “Their content scores really well,” he adds.
Tariq Khwaja, managing director of TK Associates
The thought leadership blogs run to between 800 and 1,500 words depending on the subject and are contained within the emails, rather than accessed via a link to an external site, as the company has found that recipients are far more likely to read them in the email than to click on a link.
“Mailchimp is an effective and easy way to put together very presentable email information. We can put a whole blog in an email because it is so easy with Mailchimp’s content solution, and it makes it very readable and accessible,” says Khwaja.
The extensive email contact list is carefully sorted using Mailchimp’s tagging system, which enables executives and companies to be grouped into segments. These tags include information such as a company’s industry sector and whether it is interested in a specific market such as Japan. There are tags for medical technology companies, or those involved in making semiconductors and electronics. Filtering the emails in this way means they are only sent to the relevant contacts, rather than bothering people with information they don’t need. Keeping communications focused is vital to maintaining people’s interest so they don’t hit the unsubscribe button.
A recent blog which was widely read focused on Asia’s renewable energy market and covered offshore windfarms, tidal-wave energy and floating solar panels. The blog showed that Asia-Pacific countries are a fast-growing market for off-shore renewable energy and outlined the opportunities for western component manufacturers in these markets. Another successful blog looked at China’s agricultural technology sector and another at the in-vitro diagnostics market in South Korea.
Typical blogs may also feature news items, such as profiling a new client that Intralink has helped to enter a market, or detailing a deal the consultancy has helped strike on behalf of a client.
Striking such deals is the end game for many of Intralink’s clients, which are typically tech companies looking to sign lucrative contracts with big corporations in Asia. Readers are inspired when they hear of other companies achieving success through working with Intralink. The blogs will often get what Khwaja describes as “the holy grail of direct responses”, when a reader emails back saying that the issues tackled in the blog are ones that they have been discussing with other executives. Each email features a relevant point of contact for the topic, which might be the consultant who wrote the blog.
“There was an example a little while back where we put out a blog about the hydrogen energy economy in South Korea. That’s clearly a topic of interest and we got several replies back from people saying that this is a fascinating area and asking to speak directly to the consultants. Two of the businesses went on to become clients of Intralink,” says Khwaja.
While such responses show concrete results from running email campaigns, Khwaja adds: “Another less tangible benefit is that the emails remind our contacts that Intralink is here and is great at understanding markets and interpreting trends.”
Mailchimp is the number one email marketing and automations brand*. With plans suitable for every size of business and database, marketers are able to send the right message at the right time to convert more customers, get AI-assisted suggestions to make content more engaging, and set up automated workflows to cross-sell products, recover abandoned carts and to help drive more loyalty and sales.
*Based on competitor brands’ publicly available data on worldwide numbers of customers in 2021/2022.
The views, information and opinions expressed in this article are those of the people interviewed and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Intuit, Mailchimp or any of its cornerstone brands or employees. The primary purpose of this article is to educate and inform.