Do newsletters work or have they become a waste of time?
In times gone by, the online newsletter was the silver bullet. Instead of badgering the unsuspecting website visitor into buying a product or service as soon as they landed on a page, businesses started to ask them to subscribe to their newsletter, gaining permission to follow up again and again, almost subliminally repeating their sales messages with discrete calls to action with every newsletter. For a time this generated a steady stream of sales after every publication.
Businesses went from converting 1-2% of visitors to an astonishing 5-20%, not because of a better service or product, but because they could stay in touch constantly communicating and educating the prospect until they were ready to buy.
But things changed, the birth of Social Media, the pure volume of emails and the more savvy reader has led to a reduction in their effectiveness.
What does a company newsletter do?
The monthly company newsletter helps remind customers you are there ready to help, a gentle nudge to say ‘hi do you know about these products or services’. It gives the opportunity to share good news and provides a vehicle to show the lighter side of the business or brand personality.
Email is still one of the most cost effective marketing mediums that you can employ. Here are just a few of the interesting facts I came across when researching this article
According to The Direct Marketing Association finds that the Return on Investment for email marketing is 4300%. Furthermore a recent survey this survey conducted by Crowd Science reveals the effectiveness of email newsletters.
The survey evaluates consumer behaviours during the Christmas shopping season. In an opinion survey following the most recent season, conducted by the market-research firm Crowd Science, print and email newsletters beat Facebook and Twitter when it came to encouraging online shoppers to buy.
Survey respondents named email newsletters and notifications as their third-favourite means of discovering what a merchant had to offer, behind a direct visit to a company’s website and print materials. Whereas Facebook was the favourite of just 3 percent of holiday shoppers surveyed; Twitter, a just 1 percent. OK so we are looking at consumers looking for bargains not B2B users. But when it comes to B2B the customers’ preferences for communication often mimics what is seen in the B2C world, people are people whether at home or at work.
Then why have they fallen out of favour by some?
Since the digital age the volume of emails has spiralled and the unscrupulous have abused what can be seen as an incredibly cheap form of marketing. This coupled with the unsolicited nature of some emails i.e. SPAM has led to email fatigue. There is no denying that open rates have dropped in recent years.
The rise of Social Media has also changed the way we can communicate with our audiences. Newsletters are a one way communication. Social Media provides a completely different vehicle for readers to consume content, inviting comment, debate and sharing.
But why should you keep your newsletter and what you should do to make it work?
Email marketing still achieves huge results despite the growth of social media. What really works is the pairing of an effective email newsletter with a social media including a blog. One of the main differences with today is the way we consume content. Never before have we absorbed so much information and in so many different forms. The first change we saw in our appetite for content was through the emergence of the blog culture. Blogs married the need for content with the social aspect of two way communication. People leave comments, share and link to blog posts. You can see within minutes of publishing whether readers like your content.
If someone thinks a colleague might enjoy your newsletter they can forward the email. One forward usually exposes you to just one person, where one share on Facebook or Twitter exposes you to hundreds or thousands. It’s an enormous difference. Where your newsletter might get forwarded to a dozen people, the same article on a blog could reach hundreds of new readers. So why if blogs are so brilliant for sharing content and providing two way communication don’t we just have a blog and completely abandon the newsletter altogether.
The reason being is the way people used to use RSS feeds. People used RSS readers to subscribe to their favourite blogs, and it would collect all of the latest articles from those blogs and put them in one place for easy access. The trouble was people would subscribe to your blog but then forget to check their RSS readers.
The average engagement rate for an RSS feed was just 2% whereas emails typically get 20% or more. Realizing this, a lot of bloggers decided to start an email newsletter in addition to their blog. The idea was to convert some of their RSS subscribers into email subscribers, making them much more engaged. And it worked. Engagement improved, revenue went up, and the blog grew faster than ever.
Create your content through blogging, distribute it through email newsletters and share it through social media. By combining all three you are providing the content your readers are hungry for, delivering it to them in a convenient format while making sure it is easy to share and creating a two-way conversation. Win win win
If you would like Consortium Business Solutions to help with your newsletter creations please do get in touch our prices start from as little as £140 per newsletter contact firstname.lastname@example.org.