For marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest tactics and technology. We want to try everything, and in 2021, there’s a seemingly endless list of social media platforms, ad platforms, and other ways for businesses to reach prospective customers.
But in doing this, we risk overlooking valuable tactics that may have started collecting dust. While they may not live on the cutting edge with your machine learning and augmented reality, things like email newsletters can still provide value today.
Newsletters are the baggy pants of digital marketing. They were cool about 20 years and now they’ve come back into style. I’m not some marketing hipster, either. If anything, the growing popularity of Substack, Ghost, and other newsletter platforms suggests I’m late to the party. In fact, I just finished an amazing 5-week content course that dedicated a full week to newsletters–shout out David Perell and Write of Passage.
So, why should you get back on board with email?
Organic Social Media isn’t what it used to be
Because organic social media – the thing that sort of replaced email – isn’t as reliable as it once was. Our feeds aren’t chronological anymore. Instead, they’re curated by algorithms so there is no guarantee your content will break through without putting some budget behind it. Furthermore, with feeds getting more and more inundated with ads, spam has become just as much of an issue for social media as it is for email.
Stay on your customer’s radar
With email, you know your content is going to make contact. Even if it remains unopened, its presence alone will contribute to brand awareness. This is why most dentists send newsletters. It’s not because they think people want to read about halitosis, it’s because they want to remind you they exist. Sure, open rates are nice to look at, but if just one person books a filling as a result of receiving a dental newsletter, it’s paid for itself.
Find out what makes your customers tick
If your newsletters don’t get opened, maybe it’s not a reflection of a dying medium. Maybe it’s a reflection of your content.
If your articles aren’t generating results, try video. If those videos aren’t generating results, try something new.
Last year, one of our clients started publishing short How-To videos in their newsletter. They also experimented with webinars and expert interviews. With this shift from written articles to video content, their newsletter click-through rate increased by 64% in just one year.
In this way, content production is like playing Battleship. You’re going to miss a few times before something hits. Then, when it does, you know where to continue firing. If you hit with customer case studies, try customer interviews, try video case studies — then keep building from there.
Build on a proven foundation
When your newsletter content hits, it doesn’t just make for a nice table in a report. It can be seen as an audience-approved idea that can serve as the foundation of your next campaign. Keeping with the example above, the success of customer case studies could lead you to develop a campaign that supports and enables customer-generated content. In this way, your email list and newsletter can act as your own personal focus group, allowing you to test the waters before spending time and money on a shot in the dark.
Low risk, high reward
If you’re already writing content for social media, consider taking that little bit of extra time to package it in an email newsletter. It’s a low-risk and low-commit tactic that has the power to bring you closer to your customers. At the same time, you can work towards growing an email list that can be repurposed and plugged into campaign targeting.
Side parts are out. Tight pants are over. And newsletters are officially back.