Maybe we won’t be saying goodbye to Reed quite as quickly as we thought. Although their closure of EPN and the move of EDN Europe to EBP seemed to herald the end, even insiders have been surprised at the success of their Electronics Bulletin eNewsletter. The subscribers to EPN and EDNE were added to the existing list of 32,000, yet the opt-out rate for the first mailing was only 1%. Whilst the total circulation of this first bulletin was about 69,000, Reed is only pitching a circulation of 50K, allowing them to not only manage opt-outs, but also to over-deliver.

It didn’t seem to be that recipients were just ignoring the emails: up to four adverts can be included in the newsletter, and the average number of clicks per insertion was around 400. This is higher than any of the editorial newsletters that Reed produced (although from a far bigger circulation).

What does this mean? Are engineers not bothering to unsubscribe unless emails get really annoying? Probably. This might even mean that publishers start sharing lists between different brands. Does it mean that newsletters with high-quality editorial are a waste of time? I don’t think so. I do believe that providing simple, clear links to news stories is much more important than providing detailed editorial content within the email. In the IT sector there are publications that are entirely driven by advertisers’ content. Can Electronics Bulletin bulletin get advertisers who provide value-added content and do the same? I think that, over the long term, the better quality this editorial, the more likely recipients will read it. Perhaps the biggest question is not whether the Electronics Bulletins will work in the near-term, but rather whether Reed will choose to – or be able to – invest in maintaining the circulation.

UPDATE – Martin Savery, Publishing Director at Reed has assured me that the Electronics Bulletin is something that Reed sees as a long term project, saying “In terms of circulation, again, you’re absolutely right, no publishing business can expect to be viable without high-quality, targeted, regularly maintained and updated lists and we have budgets in place to support this.” I’ll definitely be watching to see what happens and whether Reed can continue to be successful in the European electronics industry.

UPDATE 14th May – Reed tells me that they are also getting good results from their vertical emails. For example their test and measurement email generated around 250 leads for one client from a circulation of 15K. That’s a pretty decent number of leads!