Sweco plans and designs communities and cities of the future. To communicate their ambitions, they teamed up with creative agency, RAADHUIS, to create an online magazine full of fascinating stories and interviews with experts. We interviewed RAADHUIS communications advisor, Danny de Boer, about the process of developing the magazine and the results Sweco achieved.
"Sweco used to send their newsletters to business partners via email, just like everyone else. Engagement on these emails was quite low, and thus the articles on their website didn't perform well enough either. They lacked a communication tool that would make their content stand out. Instant Magazine turned out to be the solution."
We are a creative communications agency based in Alkmaar, the Netherlands. Since 1974, we've worked for clients across the country. With a permanent staff of sixteen people, we're able to move quickly and support clients with a broad range of communication solutions.
We believe everything starts with creativity regardless of the communication medium used. That's why we keep inspired people in-house who like to think along and contribute to the development of (new) products services. We believe in telling distinctive visual stories using every channel available, both online and offline. That requires creative people at all levels.
I've worked at RAADHUIS since early 2016. I began as an online marketer and later moved on to (online) communication consultant. I graduated with a degree in marketing from the University of Groningen. My passion is marketing, and I always try to advise clients a marketing perspective. I also like to think about strategy at a company level.
Sweco designs concepts for the communities and cities of the future, but the communications tools they used were not impressive enough to showcase their grand ideas and creations. They needed a platform that could make their communication more immersive.
They were sending email newsletters containing short primers with a call-to-action that would draw readers to the extensive articles on their website. Sweco noticed, however, that the newsletters and the corresponding web content didn't receive enough engagement. Often, visitors would view only one page before clicking away. Also, there were few conversions and little insight as to why.
Sweco sought out Instant Magazine with the intent of designing and developing a slick new communication medium. They already had a good idea of what they wanted it to look like, and their standards were high. That's why Instant Magazine asked us to get involved in the project. Our experience in design, strategy, and production was appealing to Sweco, and we were able to help them create their online magazine.
They wanted to show their customers and prospects how they are leading the way in shaping cities of the future.
With a new magazine, it is essential you get the starting point right: what should it be about? It's clear that Sweco's mission is leadership: "Together with our customers, we design and develop the communities and cities of the future." And how do they do that? By being the most approachable, experienced and committed partner in their space.
After that comes the in-depth stuff: How do you tell a brand story in a stimulating, inspiring way? Who should tell it? How does each piece of the magazine relate to each other piece? What's the page rhythm? What types of content should be used? How are conversions measured? What constitutes success?
When you've answered these questions, you're close to successful magazine formula. In the case of Sweco, we worked with an editorial team of enthusiastic professionals, both in regards to the content and the design. You can see that in the finished product.
As mentioned before, Sweco used to send email newsletters with short articles and links to their website, but the click-through rate was poor. So for the online magazine, we took a different approach. First, we sent an opt-in to the existing mailing list asking whether they wanted to receive the Sweco magazine once per quarter. This filter resulted in a qualitatively robust list.
Rather than using many calls-to-action, each leading to a different article, we reduced the number of options and placed a single call-to-action in the email directing recipients to the online magazine. This, in combination with the opt-in, led to excellent results!
The engagement was very high. Studying reading behavior in other online magazines, we typically see that about 10% of visitors drop out per page. The Sweco magazine was markedly different. Eighty percent of visitors read the magazine — all ten pages — all the way to the end.
The magazine will get a new edition every quarter, and the plan is to raise the bar with each one. We will roll out even more interactivity and dynamism, improve the content, and continually optimize for conversions.
Try to get beyond standard templates and formats. Often, for a particular type of content, you have a go-to template that you tend to overuse. So deal creatively with the premade layouts and make use of the custom HTML — you'll make it even more dynamic.
Also, measure, measure, measure. Try to measure everything so that you know if what you're doing works. Thankfully, Instant Magazine integrates with Google Tag Manager, so everything is possible.
Publication: Edition 1
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