By Chloé Payen
Winter is coming and so is ski season – the most wonderful time of the year! I have spent the last year working for a major ski resort in Québec as the Communications Coordinator. I subscribed to many ski resorts’ newsletters to stay up-to-date with the industry. Even though my contract is over, I still receive newsletters I had subscribed to and I enjoy taking a peak once in a while. However, I find myself having a different perspective now, closer to one of a customer. Since Bromont, a major ski resort in the Eastern Townships, recently rebranded its entire image, I decided to analyze one of their communications tool: their newsletter.
Logo & picture
A huge part of Bromont’s rebranding was based on their new logo and tagline. As simple as this may seem, having the logo front and centre as soon as opening the email is a great idea. Newsletter subscribers are often people interested in your brand. They act as brand ambassadors outside of the organization. Therefore, getting them used to the new image by showcasing it clearly will make the change feel more natural before the ski season starts. It is also a great way to trigger word-of-mouth!
Newsletters need to be mobile-friendly. Bromont’s “scroll down” format makes it easy to scan from any device: phone, tablet or computer. Personally, I opened it on my phone first. I found the font big enough to be read without zooming in and the pictures weren’t too small either.
The ski season is about to start. It is a great opportunity to let skiers know about what is generally going on at the station and showcasing novelties. Making this the first section of the newsletter is smart as there is no guarantee that they w
ill scroll all the way down. At this time of the year, subscribers more likely want to know when the hill is opening. They don’t care about promotions as much yet. The sections’ order definitely respects the reader’s interests, which is not always the case. Bromont knows the value of its newsletter as a communications tool and isn’t actively trying to make sales. Subscribers want to feel special, hear stories about the business that they wouldn’t know about otherwise – not feel flooded with promotions. “Your recipient has signed up to receive a newsletter, not to receive mountains of promotional copy.” Says Kevin Gibbons, UK Managing Director at digital marketing agency BlueGlass.
Covering different scopes
Bromont features its departmental news separately. In the “blue” section, the ski hill addresses equipment rental, job opportunities, ski lessons and apartment rentals for the holidays. All useful information for subscribers who have a country house close-by or the ones wishing to organize a visit.
The call-to-action buttons are clearly identified. Keeping them separate from the editorial sections helps the general format by giving it structure without “sounding like a sales pitch” (Phil Frost, Founder of Main Street ROI).
Too many articles in one newsletter makes it hard for the reader to remember all the information. Furthermore, it is unlikely for someone to click on each story. Many of us go through our emails on our phone. I can’t imagine taking the time to click on more than 4 links. Although there are no “rules” when it comes to the number of articles, you still need to be careful not to overwhelm your subscribers.
Text and images positioning
The newsletter feelscrowded. The disposition and use of text (font included), bullets and pictures are not optimal. At times, the use of a picture or pictogram could be a teaser to get the reader to visit the website for more information. In this case, the long paragraphs and bullets have the opposite effect – especially the middle section about the improvements made at the restaurant and the new pass with Saint-Sauveur. Too much information is already in the newsletter instead of acting as “attention grabbers” to get the reader curious, leading him to the website.
While working in the ski industry, I used to look up to Bromont often; a larger team, a bigger budget and overall great use of their communication tools. Their newsletter is no different – especially since the rebranding. The organization knows its audience and does a great job reaching it. I still have a few other tips I would give them. Icluding videos as well as a section where “experts” share tips and stories about the mountain would add value to the newsletter. Whether it is a skier’s testimony or tips given by an instructor or someone at the shop, it would showcase the knowledge and expertise found at the mountain. Us skiers love insider stories, they’re often relatable. Now, let’s hit the slopes!