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Is Marketing with Newsletters Still a Thing?

When you think of newsletters, you might think of the monthly ones you get from the school reminding you to check your kids for lice, label all of their loose items and what to do in the event of snow. We no longer think about newsletters as a reliable business tool. But, newsletters haven’t yet met their death and in fact are stronger than ever in the email marketing world. This article will detail the what, the why and most importantly, the who, when it comes to email newsletters.

The What

News organizations, among many others, are sticking to their guns and putting out their daily, weekly and/or monthly newsletters and something great is happening – they are being opened and read!

A newsletter is essentially a bunch of little bits of information, compiled together into a list. You could say that it is like putting all of the tidbits on social media into a readable and more comprehensive format. Rather than read every tweet, you’re reading the newsletter to get your “news”.

Now that you’ve got an inkling of what an email newsletter is, do you want to know why people would bother reading them?

The Why

While it may seem that consumers want continual streams of information, brought to them by social media, mobile apps and other forms of media that give them quick bits and pieces of life, email newsletters are making a huge comeback because people actually want real, factual and in-depth information. David Carr, writing for the New York Times says that, “At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters – some free, some not – help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to”.

He refers to the comeback of the newsletter as a “retro movement” and states that one of the largest reasons it works is that you’ve asked for it. What he means by this is that while you’ve subscribed/liked/followed businesses on social media, you have no control over what comes up on your Facebook or Twitter, as posted by these businesses. With email, you’ve decided to subscribe, but you’ve also decided if you want to open those emails, giving you the control over what you read.

Wendy Lindars in an article for Business 2 Community, says that “Unlike social media where you are just spreading your message to the masses with the hope that someone will see it on their news feed, you know the people who you want to see your message will definitely see it”. Her advice is to keep email newsletters short, entertaining and well-designed, but to also be causal as if you are talking to your friends, because you are.

This brings me to the last topic, the who – who are these people reading these email newsletters?

The Who

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to email newsletters. A recent study by Quartz Insights found that 60% of executives read an email newsletter to get the daily news and this number was double the amount who used a news app. This was true whether it came to general news or industry news for their business.

Gideon Lichfield, global news editor at Quartz, said (as quoted in the NY Times article) that “we have started to see email as a peer to publishing platforms like Twitter, Facebook and the web, one that has its own strengths and weaknesses that we are starting to figure out”. While it is believed that only old people use email, he says, everyone is using it.

What’s also great about the readers of email newsletters is that they are a loyal bunch. Once someone has decided to start reading your newsletter, you can bet that they’ll continue reading it as often as you send it out.

The Summary

Email newsletters are a long way from disappearing and if your small or large business doesn’t have one, you might want to think of the benefits of bringing it back (or starting anew).

About Victor Green

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