Regular readers of our blog will know that we’re fully committed to email newsletters and believe in their effectiveness (or we keep “banging on about it” if you prefer). But that’s only because we see the stats from our clients and receive the messages thanking us for perfect templates that display beautifully on all devices and platforms.
What we find odd is that there are still hundreds of businesses and other organisations, both large and small, that still think a website and the odd tweet is all the ongoing marketing they need. Here, I’ll look at why that might be and why it’s an outdated opinion.
As far as I can see, the main misgiving people have about email newsletters is that they’re something that the internet has thrown off as a bad experiment.
Anyone over, say, 40 can probably remember the late 1990s when the internet quickly went from being an exciting window on the world to a dangerous and frustrating spamfest. There’s no getting away from it – they were not good times.
Less-than-reputable marketers realised they could buy lists of millions of email addresses and market to totally uninterested people, effectively for free. And so they did. Fortunately, the law and technology caught up with them, and while the odd bit of spam is still sent out, we hardly ever see it thanks to effective filters.
Another justification is that email is just a creaking technology that has been superseded by SMS, social media, WhatsApp and whatnot. This is simply untrue, and is like saying trains became obsolete when cars were invented.
Different platforms have different strengths and weaknesses, and email’s strengths are important ones – accessibility, multimedia capabilities, hyperlinks, marketing analytics and availability on phones, PCs, Macs and smart devices. People still check their emails, especially in business. It isn’t going anywhere.
Two groups of people say email newsletters are ineffective: those who have never tried it, and those who have implemented a strategy badly.
A well-managed email marketing campaign, with good quality content and an analytical mindset is a superb way to reach customers at a time of your choosing in a format that’s applicable to them.
With a decent CMS, you can have dozens of different email newsletters that are sent only to customers who have shown an interest in a certain type of product or service, and you can even send different messages to different groups within those lists.
This hypertargeting is perfect for keeping engagement, reducing unsubscribes and running campaigns that give great returns on what can be pretty modest investments.
The final reason I can think of is that some people think emails are not very professional-looking. If we’re talking plain text emails with blue underlined hyperlinks, they might have a point (although there is still a market for such simplicity).
But modern email clients and web-based email are more than capable of displaying incredibly rich and varied emails that match your branding and hold their own against any other form of marketing.
Whatever your reasons for ignoring email newsletters, we’d urge you to give it a try. At minimum, all you need is a professional HTML email template, a marketing plan and someone with the mouse skills to click “send” once a month.