Department store pioneer and turn-of-the-century marketing innovator John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
Of course, today’s marketing planners can reap the benefits of a number of metrics to quantify the success and failure of their various efforts and campaigns. While some approaches are more effective in some market segments than others, the email newsletter stands in a singular place as perhaps the most cost-effective tool out there — with a relatively low cost for entry and an ROI that’s head and shoulders above anything else, there’s really no good argument against creating a newsletter. That said, even beyond bang-for-your-buck, there are several compelling reasons to have one.
Newsletters deliver credible, current information. In a media world where messages about your brand might be delivered through almost any source, a newsletter can be used as a definitive, centralized hub of accurate news about developments within your company, new products and services being offered, or even tantalizing previews of what might be coming down the pike for customers in the future. Customers feel valued when they have the sense that they’re “in the know”, so it’s worth capitalizing on that by offering truly exclusive news and information in your newsletter — information that’s delivered to them before anyone else.
Newsletters impart a sense of exclusivity and reward for loyalty. Again, you should be doing whatever you can do to make your customer feel you value their business more than the competition does. Along with all that insider scoop, you should offer insider deals as well — special coupons, discounts, even products that might not be available anywhere else are all good ideas, and with a newsletter you can deliver these rewards in effective, well-targeted ways.
Newsletters keep the relationship fresh. Building a customer base that can support your business isn’t just a matter of finding people once — you’ve obviously got to keep them coming back. Regular updates to your company’s website might bring a handful of regulars to your URL to see what’s new from time to time, but a newsletter can reach customers who are “between purchases” and help your business stay in touch.
Newsletters are a marketing scalpel. A scatter-shot marketing campaign makes a lot of fire and little heat; unless you get your message in front of people who want to hear it, you’re wasting time and money. With a newsletter you get to take advantage of targeting and tailoring your audience, ensuring only the most receptive eyes land upon it. With tools such as email validation and verification (or “cleaning”) of your email lists, you can know you’re reaching the right decision-maker every time — rather than attempting to send to abandoned or dead and undeliverable email addresses.
Newsletters put your company name in front of customers. A customer’s email inbox is an avenue that’s unique in the marketing world — almost all of your customers have one, and almost all of them check it several times a day. Even if a particular newsletter doesn’t convert into a sale the moment it’s read, the repetition — assuming it’s done artfully, without feeling like spam — has a cumulative effect. When the customer is ready to make a purchase, your company and its offerings are already in their mind.