3 Factors to Determine If Email Newsletters Are Right for Your Business
Should Your Business Be Sending Email Newsletters?
The answer: Well, it depends.
I know that’s not the direct response of “100% yes” or “Eh, don’t bother” you hoped I would provide, but as with all marketing advice, there is no one-size-fits-all answer because every small business is not going after the same customer.
Even if your business and a “competitor” (I use quotes because really, you are a special snowflake) seem to offer the same service on a high level or even a similar product, the way you deliver that service and the quality/uniqueness of your product is going to vary.
So how can you determine if you should be spending time on email newsletters? Here are the main factors to consider:
1. Why are you sending it? (i.e. What outcome are you trying to achieve?)
2. Who is your target audience? (Data below on which demographics newsletters the most.)
3. How many emails do you usually send per month?
Let me give you some more info on each so you can make the right decision for your business.
Why are you sending the newsletter?
If you are sending it only because you think you should, then do NOT send it. Full stop. Sending an email for the sake of sending it will only result in lackluster content that your subscribers either don’t open, don’t click through to the destination, or unsubscribe from because it’s of little value to them. Let’s get you a stronger motivation for sending. Keep reading.
If you are sending it because you didn’t get a chance to send out the variety of content you created in the last month (or quarter) and you want to be sure your subscribers see all the goodness, then produce on my friend!
If you are sending it because you have news, godspeed! You’re a go! In this case though, be sure it’s news your subscribers want to hear and it benefits them in some way, rather than news you want to share.
“I am so excited to announce that I created new service offerings to increase my revenue.”
This is a message you want to share, but not one that subscribers are going to want to read.
“After listening to feedback from my clients, I spent some time over the holidays creating a new solution to the (fill in the blank) problem that continues to come up in their businesses. If you’ve been having this issue, here’s how we can fix it….”
That second message is still announcing a new service offering that will (hopefully) increase your revenue, but it’s in a customer-centric wording that provides them a solution to their problem.
Who is your target audience?
As with all marketing, it is key to understand who your target clientele is so you tailor your efforts to what they will respond to most. The time of day you can reach the CEO of a Fortune 500 company who is in meetings all day compared to a parent who works in the home is going to vary widely. Sending emails based on when your ideal clients are going to be available and checking email on their phone/tablet/computer is key to enhancing open rates.
Additionally, the generational demographics of your audience will play a key role. StoryDoc recently conducted a survey of 1,173 people across three generations to see how age plays a factor in email newsletter preferences.
As you can see, Millennials, GenX and Boomers have VERY different ideas about what they want in their inbox. My favorite part, as shown in the below graph, is the reasons why they subscribe (and unsubscribe) from a newsletter.
How many emails do you send per month?
If you are sending an email newsletter in place of sending individual marketing or sales campaigns, then proceed.
Newsletters are a great way to stay present with your audience and capitalize on the power of email marketing without the time commitment individual campaigns can require.
However, if the newsletter is going to be in addition to other emails, make sure you take into consideration how many emails you’ll be hitting your list with each month. Receiving too many emails from a company is the prime reason for people unsubscribing. We all get a LOT of email and clearing out the clutter is usually on the top of most people’s To Do lists, particularly at the beginning of the year.
So if you plan to send out a newsletter, take a second before you send out that separate campaign and ask yourself, “Is this really worth a stand-alone email or can it be the lead story in my next newsletter?” This is particularly important if you are sending out a Weekly Round Up newsletter or a Month In Review newsletter so you can avoid ending up in someone’s inbox more than once a week.
If you are sending out quarterly newsletters, then you have more flexibility for the in-between campaigns though I still caution you to keep a close eye on the overall frequency with which you email your lists.
(Note: This is another case for why segmenting your lists is so important.)
And if the newsletter route is the way to go for your brand, learn more about how to craft the perfect one in this on-demand training.