In the digital age, it’s vital for businesses to formulate effective content marketing strategies. Many companies are jumping on the social media hype train, building attractive Facebook profiles, promoting Instagram hashtags, and filling the web with Twitter updates. With so many vibrant social media platforms, it’s easy to let one crucial online marketing tool slip under the radar: the email newsletter.
91% of U.S. consumers use their emails daily. One of the most overlooked and powerful methods of internet marketing, a well-crafted newsletter helps you reach this broad, often untapped audience. Here, we’ll outline a few basic types of newsletters before looking at just how useful newsletters can really be for your business.
The 4 Basic Types of Newsletters
Newsletters fulfill a variety of purposes, and many successful businesses use them as linchpins of their marketing campaigns:
1. The Standard Newsletter
The standard newsletter offers company news as well as industry insights and updates. Check out how Airtable uses its newsletter to share about new product features.
Nonprofits commonly use these types of newsletters to jumpstart their marketing campaigns by generating popular support with compelling copy, evocative imagery, and consistent email contact.
2. The Triggered Newsletter
Triggered newsletters are automated newsletters. These are your welcome messages, birthday emails, holiday promotions, friendly reminders, and periodic nudges to encourage the use of a service. Because they're automatic, triggered newsletters are an efficient tool that keeps you connected with customers.
Here's one such example from online styling service StitchFix.
The email serves as a welcome as well as a reminder to new members to complete StitchFix's style quiz. It's automated so that only those who have recently signed up but not taken the quiz will receive it—those who have already taken the quiz receive a different message.
3. The Promotional Newsletter
As a consumer, you might be most familiar with promotional newsletters, in which companies highlight products or services and compel you to buy or sign up. Think strategically about how your business employs promotional newsletters. Use analytics to target — or segment — your promotions and build on what you've sent before.
For an idea of how this might look, check out this promotional email from Redbubble.
The email's subject line reads: "Our algorithm thinks it knows what you like. Come see if it's right." It's a clever way of grabbing the recipient's attention to promote various products.
4. The Reengagement Newsletter
Reengagement newsletters aim to motivate and connect with customers who consistently ignore your emails. If you can't recapture their interest, consider cutting them from your mailing list to avoid sending signals to popular mail service providers that your emails are junk.
Okay, so now we know that there are many kinds of newsletters. But why create a newsletter? What makes a newsletter so special?
Why create a newsletter?
It’s simple. Newsletters are effective.
While strategies like search engine optimization and advertisements are valuable, business newsletters provide more personalized and reliable results when it comes to attracting and retaining customers.
Connect With Your Customers
You are 40 times more likely to acquire customers from email newsletters than from social media posts. Why?
By far the largest reason newsletters are so successful is that newsletters personalize your relationships with your customers. When done well, newsletters turn you into a helpful guide — perhaps even a caring friend — not a pushy salesperson or marketer. Take Watsi, for example.
Watsi is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for healthcare in developing countries. In 2013, Watsi launched an email newsletter that transformed the brand, drastically increased user engagement, and led to a new fund that currently supplies 20% of the business’s entire monthly revenue.
By tailoring emails to segments of their customer base, Watsi was able to strike a chord with each user and dramatically boost the number of incoming donations. For instance, Watsi:
- Sent email surveys to its most engaged users to learn about what motivated them to stay and get involved.
- Used survey information to optimize their newsletters and outreach efforts.
- Helped users feel involved with personal thank you messages and updates.
- Created a positive newsletter experience with distinct, friendly visuals and copy that made users self-identify as compassionate, informed, and engaged world citizens
Watsi is not the only company that uses email newsletters to foster strong, fruitful relationships with its users. Many companies benefit from newsletters in this way. Yours should too.
Build Authority and Credibility in Your Industry
Beyond helping your business cultivate personal connections, email newsletters provide a platform for you to inform your customers and build your brand authority. Examples of informational newsletter pieces include:
- Case studies
- Blog highlights
- Industry reports
- Free eBooks
- Product or service tutorials
Well-crafted informative newsletters strengthen your reputation as a credible and reliable source in your industry, upping both your brand recognition and brand loyalty. Companies with strong brand recognition reach broader audiences, and companies with brand loyalty see not only returning customers, but also fervent brand ambassadors. But why not just post these informative pieces on social media?
Customers have complete control over their inboxes. Unlike with their Facebook or Twitter feeds, which are filled with flashy posts jostling for attention, customers get to choose which emails to open. Opening an email is an investment; customers that view your email are more likely to engage with it than they are with any social media post you put out. In fact, your messages are five times more likely to be seen via email than on Facebook.
Market Your Products and Services
Advertisements flood our social media feeds, all promising to offer the next best product or service. But did you know that customers are six times more likely to click on links you send through emails than ones you post on Twitter?
If you want to market your product or service, there’s often no better option than an email newsletter. People who have shown enough interest in your business to give you their email address and click on an email verification link have high intent, and you have a good shot at converting them into paying customers.
Unlike social media platforms, email newsletters are incredibly flexible when it comes to ad copy. You have various methods at your disposal, including:
- Customer reviews
- Detailed product or service descriptions
- A series of emails leading to a compelling call to action
- Follow-up newsletters
- Product tutorials
Whatever your tactic, be sure to segment your email list. Not only does this help you personalize your messaging, but also experts have found that targeted newsletters raise revenue by about 55%.
If you run an online business, newsletters are an indispensable tool. One of the most effective and valuable methods of online marketing, newsletters are often more compelling than popular marketing strategies like social media outreach. Customizable and broadly reaching, well-written email newsletters let you reach your customers and expand your business.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Daniel Brown.