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Which marketing channels are right for your business? E-Newsletters

Which marketing channels are right for your business? E-Newsletters
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Which marketing channels are right for your business? E-Newsletters
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

E-newsletters are a fantastic, low-cost way of keeping in touch with your clients and prospects, and can be a vital part of most strategic marketing plans.  But, as our marketing expert, Siobhan Stirling of Sharp Minds Communications, explains, you need to have clear objectives and an effective strategy to get the most from them.

Pros of e-newsletters  

Regular updates  

Your marketing plan should ideally enable you to touch base with your customers and prospects at least once every 90 days to maintain your brand awareness, and e-newsletters are a great way of doing this.  As well as promoting your brand, they give you a platform for sharing updates, such as new team members, services or offers.  They also enable you to position yourself as a go-to solution provider by showcasing your expertise, for example by steering people to expert advice blogs that you have written. 

Doesn’t have to break the bank  

E-newsletters a highly cost-effective means of communication with your contacts, especially as many of the software platforms, such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor, offer free options.  You may be invited to upgrade your subscription, but that often only becomes compulsory when your database exceeds a certain size. 

Brand reinforcement

All the software platforms enable you to customise your newsletter template to be consistent with, and reinforce, your brand identity, again helping you to consolidate awareness of your brand.  Consistent messaging in the content in your newsletter will reinforce this further. 

Easy measurement
 

Most e-newsletter services offer easy-to-understand analytics that allow you to measure who’s opening your messages and when. This enables you to finetune your strategy to deliver greatest results, for example focusing on content that generates the greatest engagement, sending out your campaigns at the most effective times and creating subject lines and headings that prompt click-throughs. If you refine your campaigns from the insights you glean from your analytics, you should see these statistics start to rise. 

Cons of e-newsletters  

Throwing a spammer in the works  

What you see as informative messaging, others might see as spam. This most obviously might lead to people unsubscribing from your e-newsletter or even blocking communications from you, but more damagingly can lead to negative views of your company. There are, of course, ways to get around this; think about the optimal level of communication with your database to stimulate brand awareness without tipping the balance into negative associations, and offer content that adds value to the people you are sending it to. 

Coming up with content  

Not only is it time consuming coming up with the content for regular e-newsletters, sometimes it might be hard to find it. However, don’t force updates as your subscribers might see it just as a way of grabbing attention, rather then helping inform them. Make sure your content is always justified. 

Identifying realistic business objectives  

If you are looking for your e-newsletter to drive sales directly, you will need to have compelling content to promote this, such as a fantastic offer.  Without a direct call to purchase immediately, your e-newsletter is more likely to help with brand awareness and perceptions, rather than immediate sales.  It’s therefore important to make sure that your business objectives for your newsletter are properly supported by the content. 

If you’re thinking of starting your own e-newsletter or already produce one, you’ll have to be aware of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation. We have an article on how this will affect you

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MEET THE EXPERT

Siobhan Stirling is the director of Sharp Minds Communications, which provides strategic marketing communications for small- and medium-sized business across Kent, Sussex, Surrey and London.  A published author, former BBC presenter, reporter and producer and writer for national newspapers and magazines, Siobhan has a background in public relations.