The subject of e-newsletters, newsletters from now on, frequently comes up in discussions on populating email marketing lists. The main question is whether their benefits outweigh the costs. The odd thing is the answer is always the same: it depends.
There is little doubt that you will benefit from a well produced newsletter. Many people subscribe to a number, most, like me, for purposes of business as well as pleasure. Some are so well produced that they are almost magazines. Let us look at the pros and cons.
1. If you fail to produce a newsletter and your competitors do then this is conceding an advantage that you will have to overcome in some other way. The money you save might well be eaten up by any alternative initiative.
2. There is no doubt that a newsletter is one of the best ways of gaining subscribers to your email marketing lists. Your company name and logo will become familiar to them, as will your From address.
3. A newsletter and a marketing email differ legally. If the main purpose of the newsletter is to sell then you have to conform to the requirements of email marketing legislation. A newsletter can contain adverts but they must be ancillary to the prime function.
4. Subscribers expect high standards of graphics and content even though they are getting something for nothing. Here you are putting all this effort into the newsletter they receive for free and yet they want quality.
5. The newsletter has to contain something of value. If you serve up stale content then people will unsubscribe and probably associate disappointment with your company. If you promote your company too much, and you will soon discover how much is too much, then again they will click that unsubscribe button.
6. If you give away insider information then your competitors, who will probably subscribe to your newsletter, as you should to theirs, might gain a financial benefit. Yet, if you provide valueless info, no one will bother reading it.
A newsletter is not for every company. If you think it is for you, then think carefully.
We will cover the design of a newsletter in a later article.