Inbound marketing has allowed marketers to vastly expand their options for reaching customers. One lasting trend for staying top-of-mind is newsletters, which marketers have been using for years to promote products or services solidify their brand identity.
Technology gives us new ways of connecting with target audiences, and utilizing available tools will create a much more effective and impactful marketing strategy.
Email might seem like a dated channel, but it is actually a highly valued and cost-effective marketing tool. The majority of millennials (73%) prefer to receive messages from businesses via email and 93% of B2B businesses are using newsletters today.
Since March 2020, when many businesses and consumers were directed to stay-at-home to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many businesses saw an increase in audience email engagement. Mailchimp reports that, "[email] click and open rates in March and April 2020 are higher than they were throughout all of 2019." Furthermore, even though many businesses decreased their sending in the early weeks of the pandemic, engagement stayed strong, indicating that people were continuing to check, open, and click emails, even when the total number they were receiving had gone down.
With tools like email marketing, you can be in front of your audience, ready to promote your brand directly to those who have shown an interest in your brand.
Marketing has moved far beyond simply creating advertisements for products and services. Consumers do research before making a purchase now, which means they will be looking for much more than an ad. Providing value to your recipients should be a central goal of your newsletter campaign to ensure your newsletter is worth the open and read to your customers.
3 Reasons You Should Start a Newsletter TODAY
1. You Can Segment Your Audiences And Get Really Targeted
The more targeted your campaigns are, the more accurate and effective they will be. By segmenting your contacts, you can create multiple newsletters for different groups. Maybe you have a newsletter meant for contacts you haven’t heard from in awhile encouraging them to re-engage with your brand, or one targeted at newly acquired contacts who have shared their personal information without making a purchase so you can educate them further on your brand and offers.
To test what elements of a newsletter are working best for your unique audience, there are tools available that allow you to A/B test different versions of your newsletter to gauge what works best for your intended audience. By testing different wording, tone, images, and content you can better tailor your content to delight your audience.
It’s important to understand that segments may react differently to how you style your newsletter, so A/B testing and reviewing analytics from your email campaigns are key to getting the most out of your efforts. To understand if you are providing value to your audience, test different types of content and styles to find what suits your specific needs.
2. Promote Other Channels
Many brands use newsletters to draw in prospects to other channels. When you include blog posts or other information in a newsletter, you are creating avenues for the user to get to your website. A newsletter should act like a preview of all the other great content you have available and the many places you can find it.
Encouraging readers to follow your social channels will also help to increase your following and create more opportunities to engage with your audience. When readers click on links within your newsletter, you want to a page that builds on what they were attracted to in the first place, such as a landing page that will encourage them to take a certain action. Just bringing readers to the homepage of your website creates the risk of distracting the customer and increasing bounce rates.
Instead, provide convenience to customers by sending them to pages that are directly related to the content they were first interested in. You can use strategically placed and worded CTAs to guide your audience from your newsletter to any other channel. Customer service is a key aspect of every business but, unfortunately, it is undervalued by many companies.
3. Customer Service
When users share their contact info with your business, usually through an email or form sign-up, they are inviting you to share relevant and quality content. Newsletters are a great opportunity to further connect with that audience and keep their interest. By sharing valuable content, you are creating a resource that your customers can rely on. This will build trust and loyalty as your customers will see that you care about much more than making a sale.
Including contact information in your newsletter, especially multiple ways to get in touch with your business or engage with your website, will invite users to engage with your brand further. If they have any issues, you get the opportunity to right wrongs and provide excellent customer service. Quality customer service is very important to consumers, with 73% saying they would buy from a brand again after a good customer service experience.
How to Create Engaging Newsletters
Not only do newsletters give you the opportunity to connect with your audience, but the options for customization mean you can create beautifully branded content that will keep you in the minds of your target audience.
1. Use multiple forms of Media
While some might use newsletters to simply promote products or services, more valuable newsletters will take advantage of all that email can do. Simply embedding a video could make all the difference in engagement and click rate.
Strategic use of media like images and graphics can add a personal touch to a newsletter that will make an impression with your contacts. Providing value to a customer does not mean you have to offer long winded emails with walls of text. The design of your template can say as much to your audience as the actual content.
2. Utilize Online Tools
Making dynamic and attractive newsletters doesn’t require a web designer. With many online tools available, you can quickly use templates and design tools to whip up a fantastic newsletter. Many options allow you to personalize your newsletters to give a strong impression of your brand without looking like a basic template.
We love using HubSpot for all our newsletter needs. HubSpot allows you to create emails that look professionally designed. Choose from the many templates available or create your own. Simple tricks like embedding interactive content or sending newsletters to certain groups can make your newsletter much more effective.
Create custom lists to segment your contacts so your readers are always getting engaging and relevant info. While the paid subscription will give you access to premium tools, the free HubSpot marketing tools are more than satisfactory for creating engaging email campaigns.
There are also many other options for online tools. Mailchimp’s simple drag-and-drop system makes putting together professional, attractive templates quick and easy.
Mailchimp has branched out to offer more marketing tools, including analytics insight into the performance of your campaigns.
No matter the tools you choose, there are tons of examples of how to properly design a newsletter to maximize engagement. Check out HubSpot’s list of 17 amazing examples
Branching out to new channels can be a great way to spread your brand and expand your audience, but you can’t spread yourself too thin. When creating a new campaign, the customer and your goals must always be at the forefront. Changes in how we shop have empowered customers to expect more than ads from brands. Consistently providing valuable resources to your customers is your best bet for raising engagement and increasing sales.
Thanks for reading,
Editor's Note - Originally published in 2019 - this article has been updated for content in October 2020