Should Your Business Have a Newsletter?

The Pros and Cons of Email Newsletters
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According to the Nielsen Norman Group, dedicated to evidence-based user experience research, email newsletters have been increasing in marketing usability over the past decade, meaning that more people are reading and responding to newsletters than ever before. Newsletters serve a different purpose than websites or personal emails; they push information to leads and customers while focusing on retaining and building relationships with the recipients.

But are newsletters a necessary way to reach your customers, or too much work? The number of new and unread emails sitting in our inboxes has increased over 300% in the past few years, so a newsletter might go unread, too. They can also be dismissed as hard to read; users have higher and higher standards for appealing newsletter formats and are prone to skimming emails for only the most pertinent information. Compare this with other ways to reach your customers--personal emails, your website or blog, social media, and direct mail campaigns--and you have to weigh which methods will give you the most positive responses from your target market.

Newsletters will work well for someone looking to make many touches and build relationships with leads and customers without being overly promotional. Tweets and statuses can easily get lost on someone’s newsfeed, especially since people go to social media to keep up with their friends, not their work. Newsletters also offer more flexibility and design control than other forms of marketing; you can add videos, special offers, company updates, links to your website or blog, and even fun content like quizzes or customer interviews. Newsletters, as opposed to full websites or blogs, also work better via mobile if formatted correctly. Last but not least, information or deals unique to your newsletter will encourage subscribers to share their newfound social capital with their friends, and spread the word about your company. All these elements could lead to increased website traffic, social media following, and sales for your business.

Thankfully, creating an email newsletter is relatively easy. There are plenty of email marketing services like MailChimp that can help you quickly format your content and send out professional-looking newsletters to various email lists. Once you’ve devised a strategy with your team and reached out to customers to discover what information they want to receive, all you need to do is create your content--and your new email newsletter will be ready to go.

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