As you watch your competitors, you may notice that many of them send out email newsletters—but why? What value do they get from these email campaigns? Do they boost sales, or are these companies setting the stage for future growth?
If a newsletter is well-targeted and delivers quality content, it can do both, driving sales and building brand equity. Given the long-term benefits of a weekly or monthly newsletter—and the relatively low cost of producing one—you may be ready to launch one for your small business. Here’s how.
What is a newsletter?
A newsletter is a written publication that provides regular communication to subscribers, typically via email. Newsletters are often used to tell readers about news, events, or other information related to a particular topic or organization.
Many newsletters play a role in digital marketing campaigns alongside promotional emails. However, unlike standard marketing emails, which can read like a shopping circulator, targeted newsletters often contain short articles with useful information about the company’s products or services and its industry.
Solid newsletter content informs and entertains subscribers and turns potential customers into buyers. Most newsletters come out regularly—often weekly, monthly, or quarterly—to maintain regular contact with email subscribers.
What is the purpose of a newsletter?
Small-business owners can use newsletters as part of a broader email marketing strategy. As a digital marketing tool, a newsletter gives a reason for contacting your customers with company news, product or service updates, promotions, events, and other relevant information.
However, unlike traditional email campaigns, which tend to pursue short-term sales targets, many newsletters have a long-term impact. They provide customers and stakeholders with valuable content, including industry news and product reviews, which can help build and maintain relationships and increase brand awareness and engagement.
For instance, as subscribers come to see the value in your email newsletters—they may even look forward to seeing it in their inbox—building your brand equity and creating loyal, engaged customers.
What are the benefits of newsletters?
Email newsletters can provide value to ecommerce small businesses as part of a broader content marketing strategy. The benefits include:
- Direct access to potential customers. Unlike search engine ads, banner ads, and social media marketing campaigns, newsletters land directly in someone’s inbox—a great place to grab the reader’s attention (however briefly).
- Opportunities to demonstrate value. Sustained, informative email campaigns show your customers that your small business can do more than just push sales. You can build trust and credibility with your audience by showcasing your achievements, such as new products or services, successful partnerships or collaborations, or customer success stories. Strong content can leave a good impression on subscribers and entice new subscribers to join the party.
- Building a subscriber list. As you ramp up your newsletter, you can amass a large number of email addresses, which are incredibly valuable for marketing purposes. You might use these email addresses to track site interactions, click-through rates, and customer behavior on your website or ecommerce store. You can also use this database to create tailored emails that go out to a curated subset of your subscriber list—i.e., emails for customers who have already purchased a particular product.
- Bolstering other marketing channels. You can use your email newsletter to drive traffic to other platforms. For instance, you might issue a call to action to gain more social media followers, or include direct links to send readers to a particular landing page, such as your website or ecommerce store.
Six tips for creating an effective newsletter
- Maintain a regular schedule
- Optimize for mobile devices
- Use clear, engaging subject lines
- Respect your audience’s time
- Offer special access to newsletter subscribers
- Adhere to local email laws
Successful newsletter campaigns are usually the products of deliberate, cohesive strategies.
Here are tips for making your email newsletter work wonders:
- Maintain a regular schedule. Both your company and your subscribers benefit from regular newsletters. A schedule can help to establish your newsletter as a trusted source of information for subscribers, increasing the likelihood that they’ll read and act on the updates you provide. Quarterly and monthly newsletters are relatively easy to sustain, whereas weekly and daily email newsletters may require a dedicated staff member.
- Optimize for mobile devices. Nearly 60% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices as of November 2022. Make sure your newsletter renders well on both mobile and desktop devices.
- Use clear, engaging subject lines. Keep your email subject lines short and succinct, and preview the content of the full letter. You might tease information with a question (“Is this the solution to closet clutter?”)—but watch out for words and phrases that trigger spam filters.
- Respect your audience’s time. Expect your newsletter to land in a full inbox. Help your audience read through it efficiently by breaking your letter into sections, each with a heading. Keep sentences short and focused so your readers can quickly process your content.
- Offer special access to newsletter subscribers. Add value to your newsletter by creating exclusive offers that only extend to subscribers. You might provide special sale codes, discounts, event invites, premium site access, and gifts.
- Adhere to local laws as it pertains to email. In the US, the CAN-SPAM Act sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.
Purpose of a newsletter FAQ
Why should you issue a newsletter?
As a small-business owner, consider issuing a newsletter as an organic way to engage with your target audience and build your brand’s reputation. Your goal isn’t only to drive instant sales but foster a sustained, trusting relationship with your customers.
What are five elements of an effective newsletter?
Here are five elements that can help make your newsletter stand out:
- A clear subject line
- An alluring preheader (the text that appears next to the subject line)
- A clearly partitioned email body with subject headings
- Informative content
- A call to action (such as an invitation to try a product or subscribe to a social media feed)
How do you attract attention to a newsletter?
You can draw readers to your newsletter by making it a source of exclusive offers and discounts. For instance, you might include special checkout codes available only to subscribers. You can also give subscribers advance access to new releases or special viewing privileges for videos. In other words, populate your newsletter with valuable content you can’t get elsewhere.