The humble email newsletter appears to be viewed as the poor relation of direct email marketing. It often lies abandoned in a corner, or rather on the computer of someone who has much more important work to complete. Yet it has the potential, realised by many companies, to be an equal partner to its much more glamorous sibling.
The newsletter has many advantages over marketing emails. It appears, and should be, a way for the subscriber to obtain information without cost to themselves. To the recipient this information could be valuable, useful or maybe just entertaining. To you it will be a way to get them onto your subscribers list.
The first thing to consider is the purpose of the newsletter you wish to start or, more likely, the one you already have. Just sending information into the ether without measurable targets will be a waste of the editor’s efforts.
The ultimate objective is, presumably, to increase sales. So how can a newsletter assist? What are its advantages? Your inbox may well provide the answer.
It is common for customers to subscribe to more newsletters than direct marketing emails. Further, people are much more likely to leave them in their inbox unopened if they arrive during a busy period, a consideration not awarded to many direct marketing emails. This makes timing much less vital.
Open rates are considerably higher for newsletters. This is a significant advantage and one which should be exploited.
The newsletter provides a way to become a trusted source to the subscriber. You would be, after all, giving them something of value, perhaps a way to increase their return on investment or evidence of pitfalls to avoid. Or like this article, highlighting an opportunity they might have missed. The point is that there is no trick. It is something for nothing.
The image of the company is enhanced, not only by your logo appearing on their VDU but by being seen as concerned for their performance. Another advantage of using newsletters is that when a direct marketing email drops into their inbox they will be familiar with the source and will trust it.
There are more esoteric benefits of newsletters. For instance your customers will see it as an added benefit of shopping with you. You will form a closer relationship with them, learning about their preferences as you extend your brand online.
A newsletter will work in the same way with regards to email marketing software. You will still be able to record open rates, click-throughs and such and will be able to build a profile of your customers.
A newsletter should not be seen as something apart from the email. To get the best return on investment it should be integrated in any direct marketing campaign. It can be used to engage your customers’ anticipation. It could later reinforce the message or perhaps mop up those you missed or were not totally convinced by the marketing email.
Do not underestimate the humble newsletter.