Answers to Your E-Mail Marketing Questions

NOTE: the Link Roundup is beneath this post.

Answers to Your E-Mail Marketing QuestionsAfter last week’s post, I received several e-mail marketing questions.

This week, I’m going to answer the two best questions, both for the folks who asked as well as for you readers.

Enjoy and, have a happy and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend!!

Answers to Your E-Mail Marketing Questions

Question

“Looking at the infographic, I guess I’m wondering if you have any thoughts about how, if at all, the content of a newsletter should differ from a blog…and perhaps whether a business really needs both.”

Answer

Personally, I put the introduction to my own blog content in my weekly newsletter with a link back to my site to read the rest. This lets me use the same content in two ways:

  1. As a Blog Post: I would definitely prioritize a blog as it greatly helps your inbound marketing efforts by increasing the odds that you will be listed in search engine results. This results in “cold leads”, folks coming to your site because they found you during a search.
  2. As a Newsletter: Once folks discover you through search engines however, a newsletter is a great way to keep providing value as well as being a way to keep you “top-of-mind” even if they do not need your products and services at that time.

Once someone signs-up as a subscriber, they are a “warm” lead; one to whom you can send offers and deals and announce new products and services.

Blogs and newsletters serve different purposes.

Bottom-line: I believe that both a blog and a newsletter are needed as they serve folks who have different relationships with you – cold and warm leads.

Question

“I was originally going to go with a USPS mailed newsletter, just because it’s different (everybody is doing e-newsletters!), and I like to be different. And I still might go that route; haven’t completely made up my mind. Do you have any thoughts either way?”

Answer

If I had my druthers, I would go with an e-mail newsletter for a number of reasons:

  1. Lower cost (no printing or mailing),
  2. Ease of implementation (online software walks you through the process),
  3. Ability to track opens and clicks – this is key when evaluating the effectiveness of your newsletter, and
  4. Able to be viewed on many platforms (desktop, laptop, mobile phone, tablet) increasing the opportunities for the newsletter to be read.

Of course, I am not against a paper newsletter and direct mail is certainly still alive and well, however for the reasons mentioned above, I would recommend e-mail over print for most small businesses.

Many people are becoming more and more adamant about “being green” and they may not appreciate a printed newsletter.

In addition, many people are becoming more and more adamant about “being green” and they may not appreciate the trees you killed to print out your newsletter or the carbon you created to have them delivered. :)

If you do want to do a mailing for sure, I would suggest doing only one per year and making it something that they will want to use all during the year. How about:

  • A “365 tips (or 52) about <insert your area of expertise>” newsletter?
  • A traditional complimentary calendar or day-planner with industry-specific info included (e.g. for a real estate agent: April – time to get your house ready to sell by doing these tasks….; May – time to put your house on the market – make sure you do these 3 things; etc.)?

Weekly Link Roundup

Weekly Link RoundupEach week, I collect the 10 best posts that I’ve read and share them with you here.

These posts focus on web-based solutions, online resources and up-to-date news for small businesses.

Enjoy!

7 ways business blogs build social media success: Wondering how to make your business blog more successful? Here are some solid tips.

7 Biggest Mistakes in E-Mail Marketing: Some blunders to avoid when implementing your e-mail marketing program.

Why Tattoo Manufacturing never runs out of stories to tell: Handy advice on where to get ideas for content to use on your blog, in your newsletters and beyond!

6 content marketing lessons learned from a B2B IT company: More ideas for developing and using content marketing.

62% Of Mobile Users Don’t Want Social Marketing Messages From Brands [STUDY]: But, 43% actively engage with brands via social marketing messages – learn more in this study.

25 Awesome LinkedIn Tips for B2B: Basic but solid tips to increase the effectiveness of your LinkedIn activities.

10 Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Delegate Tech-Related Tasks: Some interesting insights in the opinions expressed here.

How Cloud Computing Saved My Business: Three case studies on the effectiveness of using the cloud for your business.

4 Tech Mistakes That Can Bring Down Your Business: Don’t panic but do pay attention to these technology risks.

6 Tips to Improve Your Facebook Advertising Results: Not getting the results you’d like when advertising on Facebook? Check out these tips.

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Comments

  1. I have to respectfully disagree, Matt – even though you really don’t knock printed newsletters down for the count and you provide sound reasoning on all your points—all of which I agree with…HOWEVER…..

    Here’s one thing to keep in mind w/ starting a printed newsletter: If you are in a business where you are committed over the long haul, then a printed newsletter is going to be massively impact the emotional connection of your readership to 1. you and your business personally 2. give them a lasting document to reference and maintain the connection(provided you are providing invaluable information in your area of specialty) and 3. create demand for future physical products that you could produce by creating a bonafide asset(as it’s perceived by the marketplace) that you can leverage in the creation of that product.

    In my own case, doing regular newsletters within my niche started in 1994 and continued until 2004 – it propelled my little business into a web presence and to 7 figures for a time. I stopped doing them for a lot of well justified and many not sell well thought out reasons(uh, all the ones you mention above) and the business suffered(though, not primarily for stopping the newsletters/catalogs). I closed that business after 17 years at the end of 2010.

    Here’s What Happened, Though: All that work over those years was incredibly valuable, even after the business was over.

    The content from those newsletters was so vast that much of it(thought, not nearly all of it) allowed me to create a 9-volume printed book series(nine 300 page books) with the history of that company by going back and editing, re-writing a lot of what appeared in those newsletters and catalogs provide lots of cool value to those who missed them them the first time around and, for those earlier customers, a chance to re-experience them in a new way.

    So, again, if one is really committed long-term to the business that they are working on, a more long-term perspective is best pondered at an early stage rather than dismissed later on.

    Printed newsletters and catalogs are historical documents when done right….email newsletters are digital ephemera, no matter how good the content might be. I just don’t believe that many people are printing these things out and saving them, filing them away and, if they place them in reference folders in their email program, they are never seen again once placed inside those folders.

    With my new business getting ready to launch later this summer, I plan on having printed newsletter in the marketing mix.

    Last Bonus Point Of View: when you send out a printed newsletter it makes it easier for you saddle up and bundle a single page print out(or postcard even) inside the newsletter/catalog that focuses on your latest unique product or service offering and have that settle comfortably into the view of your customer/prospect.

    Okay One More Reason: when your customers/prospects get something in the mail from you that is a well done, well thought piece of creative content that potentially can value, they view the seriousness of your business and what you are offering with a higher level of respect and openness to look at doing business with you. We are ALL well aware of the efficiencies and ease of implementation of how anything delivered by email can be…when something arrives in the mail from you, outside your online engagement initiatives, you set yourself apart with your mission. You just do. Why ? Because so few others are willing to do it….

    I’ll finish with a question related to all this: How seriously committed are you to your business – will you be doing this still in 5 years? If so, think very seriously about setting yourself apart and get your customers/prospects in the habit of receiving printed information in the mail from you…it’s not an either/or – email and printed communications should exist as allies alongside each other.

    • Bruce,

      Wow, that’s a whole lotta’ great insight from someone who’s been there and done that!

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and advice – I’m sure it’s going to benefit a bunch of readers!

      -Matt

Trackbacks

  1. BizSugar.com says:

    Answers to Your E-Mail Marketing Questions…

    In this post, I answer 2 of my reader’s e-mail marketing questions: what’s the difference between a blog and newsletter and when should you send printed newsletters?…

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