In the age of engagement, has the humble newsletter had its day?
An inbox filled with sales spam you never signed up for, or a crumpled bit of paper shoved under your front door.
When you think about newsletters, the connotations that spring to mind are often far from positive. The idea of email marketing newsletters has started to feel a bit outdated. From Instagram stories to Facebook Live, there are so many interactive alternatives to give your users a deeper insight into your business.
So what's the value in clogging up their inbox with newsletters?
Originally, newsletters started as a way of touching base with customers on a monthly basis. They were a handy way of letting your users know about any business news, updates, events or insights. However, with the speed and ease of social media, brands can now update their users in a stream-of-consciousness manner, snapping photos and writing posts on the go. Any interesting updates are shared in real time - and with extensive live video features on most social media channels, brands are able to be in a constant conversation with their audience.
So where do newsletters fit in to modern marketing? For one, they carve out a unique niche that contrasts with other types of high-speed, short-and-snappy content marketing. Newsletters offer completely distinct content to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn—something far more intentional and mindful.
The audience for a newsletter is also self-selecting. It's made up of curious individuals who want to hear more of your story. They voluntarily and intentionally signed up, rather than just stumbling across your content while mindlessly scrolling on social media. With this curated list of intrigued readers, newsletters create a space for you to explore your brand in a more playful, innovative way.
From character limits to media restrictions, social media platforms are rife with red tape. They don't allow you to be as creative as you might like. That's exactly where newsletters come in. From a glossy editorial piece to a monthly moodboard packed with images and graphics, newsletters grant you the freedom to get experimental with your storytelling.
You can fill your space with behind-the-scenes insights, interviews, top tips, recipes, playlists, vision boards, horoscopes—whatever you like. Newsletters don't put limits on how you convey yourself to your readers. Creating a beautiful, engaging newsletter is the perfect way to spend time playing and curating your brand.
As well as being fun and creative to put together, newsletters are also easy to use and personalise to directly target your audience. You can schedule when you send them to ensure they hit your readers’ inboxes at just the right time of day, for example at scrolling-with-a-cuppa time. You can then use in-depth analytics to figure out what's getting people to click through. Mailchimp is effective, user friendly and intuitive, but there are plenty of other platforms like Campaign Monitor, Aweber and Omnisend. Play around to see what works best for your business and your audience.
If you're still not convinced that newsletters have a role in marketing or have no idea where to get started, just have a go. Don't overanalyse or be too salesy—just think about what you'd like to read during your lunchtimes or an ad break and start there. Use newsletters to tell stories, craft your unique character and build authentic relationships with your users.
Don't forget to also keep everything on-brand with your business's tone of voice, typography and colour palette—by keeping everything consistent you'll build up unwavering trust from your customers. And then, if everything clicks with your audience, you'll have a lovely bonus of a growth in sales.
Newsletters can be long-winded, slow and clunky, but they can also be a wonderful way of adding depth and character to your brand.
Haven't got a newsletter yet? Here are Mollie's top tips:
1. Start with what you'd like to read.
If you find it interesting the chances are your readers will too.
2. Don't be too salesy.
You need to form a connection with your readers before you can even think about selling to them.
3. Don't include long, unbroken stretches of text.
Use graphics, images, tips and other visuals to break up your writing so it doesn't become long-winded.
4. Get creative!
A newsletter is your chance to show off your unique personality unfettered by the rules of most social media platforms. Include as much of the authentic you as you can.
5. Don't spam your readers.
They've chosen to be there, so respect their privacy and only send your newsletter as often as you said you would. Once a month is great, once a week might be pushing it.