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In an era of information overload, what good is a newsletter from your business to the outside world? Why should anyone be interested in what your particular company has been up to? Moreover, in your packed schedule as a business-owner, what is the point of finding time to create engaging content for an email newsletter? Our guide explains the benefits and steers you through some top tips to have your target audience opening and reading your e-newsletters.
E-newsletters can be a highly cost-effective way of getting your brand and your offering to existing and potential customers. It provides an informal way for you to reach out to them on multiple occasions to tell them about new offers, developments and insights to enhance their understanding of and engagement with your brand.
The costs are minimal in comparison with other marketing strategies. Your investment in e-newsletters could be your time in creating the content yourself, plus potentially the costs of e-newsletter software, although some packages are free depending upon the number of subscribers you have. If you feel daunted at the thought of creating a visually appealing e-newsletter, rest assured that the platforms available are very user friendly and allow even the most hardened Luddite to put something together simply and effectively.
Alternatively, you can engage a professional marketing agency to do it for you so you can concentrate on running your business. Yes, that will look like a higher cost on your accounts, but you do need to weigh up the opportunity cost of writing, designing and monitoring your e-newsletter results yourself – especially if you struggle for inspiration when staring at a blank Word document – and what you could have achieved within your business in that time if you had outsourced the activity. You also need to weigh up whether you have the skills to present your brand to best advantage, or whether expert content creation and design would take your e-newsletters to a far more sophisticated level, and with more visual impact, than your own skills might allow.
Key to the success of e-newsletters is having a database of subscribers. Many organisations had their marketing mailing lists decimated by GDPR; if your business no longer has an up-to-date mailing list that meets GDPR consent requirements, then creating strategies to build up your subscribers again is key.
As far as your subscribers are concerned, the newsletter should never be viewed merely as a vehicle to show off your latest corporate coups – we’d be heading into Christmas Round-Robin newsletter territory if they were, and we all know the mirth/scorn those can generate. Instead, it needs to have relevance to those on your database who’ll receive it. In short, ask yourself, “what’s in it for the reader?”.
The first thing you need to do is determine who your readers are. Are you sending it out to your clients, prospective clients, influencers, your peers, or all of them? Your answer will impact both the tone and the content.
For instance, if you’re a care home sending out a newsletter to relatives of residents, the tone will need to be informative and reassuring. However, for a B2B organisation, you’re going to need to appeal to business decision makers, so you need to talk their language.
Who you are sending your newsletter to will also shape your content. With our care home example, a mix of practical information (dates of open days/events to which outside family members are welcome) and useful (‘how the elderly can keep cool in a heat wave’) would position you as their partner in caring for their loved one. However, if you are B2B, you’ll want to showcase your expertise within your field and how you are ideally positioned to solve the business challenges of your subscribers.
You may have the most relevant content in the world for your target audience, but if you send your e-newsletter with a subject line that looks like a hard sell or spam or is just plain boring, they’re not going to be tempted to open it. We all have dozens of e-newsletters popping into our inboxes every day, so you need a subject line that is going either to demonstrate at first glance why they will benefit from reading more, or is going to intrigue them sufficiently to open your e-newsletter.
You can read more tips on writing great e-newsletter subject lines here.
When you press ‘send’ on an email newsletter, your work isn’t disappearing into the ether – another reason why the exercise is never a waste of time. Online analytics will enable you to determine how many recipients have opened your newsletter and which of the articles they’ve accessed – even how long they’ve spent reading them. Knowledge is power – and you can use what the analytics tell you to tailor your content, ensuring your mailing list is getting the information they want and accessing it.
Putting an email newsletter together has never been simpler, and the return on investment in getting your message across in a way that you can control, track and analyse will reap benefits for your brand and your business, possibly generating sales and certainly heightening awareness.
Based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Sharp Minds offers brand development, digital marketing, offline marketing and public relations to businesses across Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Greater London. You can see what our customers say about us here.