As a small business owner or start-up, you likely know the importance of staying connected with your audience. One of the most effective ways to do so is through email marketing. Most start-ups and small businesses don’t know whether sending newsletters or email campaigns is the right move. These email marketing tactics are quite different from each other, thus pulling in different results. If you want to know which one would be best for your business, let’s deep dive.
What’s a Newsletter?
First, let's define what a newsletter is. A newsletter is a regular communication sent to subscribers, usually containing updates, news, and other relevant information. It's typically less focused on selling and more focused on building a relationship with your audience. Newsletters often include a mix of content, such as blog posts, industry news, and personal stories. The goal is to keep your subscribers engaged and informed, rather than trying to make a direct sale.
Newsletters are a versatile form of email marketing that serve various purposes. They are an extremely valuable tool for keeping subscribers informed, sharing valuable content, and building trust and long-term relationships with an audience.
How to Keep Your Subscribers Informed with Newsletters
Whether you're a business, nonprofit, or entrepreneur, newsletters help keep your audience informed by:
Staying in the know when you share company news, product launches, and achievements with subscribers. Keeping your audience in the loop fosters transparency and ultimately builds trust.
Offering insights into your industry or niche which is a great way to build authority. Highlighting trends, relevant news that can benefit your subscribers and market analysis all do a great job of this.
Promoting upcoming events, webinars, conferences, or workshops you’re holding whether in person or online. Newsletters especially can be a great way to market an event.
Delivering educational content, such as tutorials, how-to guides, and tips that help subscribers solve problems or improve their pain point solving skills.
Aggregating and curating valuable content from various sources, providing a one-stop resource for your subscribers and showcasing your expertise is a major plus when building trust and establishing industry authority.
How to Share Valuable Content
One of the main purposes of newsletters is to deliver valuable content that engages and resonates with your audience. There are a number of ways to do that, including:
Adding a mix of content types into your newsletters, such as links to articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts and even infographics. Creating diverse content keeps newsletters fresh and engaging for everyone.
Ever heard of A/B split testing? When you segment your email list based on subscriber preferences and interests, you’ll create a tailored experience that will resonate more. All you have to do is create content recommendations for each segment.
Everyone loves a reward. Rewarding subscribers with exclusive content or early access to new material is a great and free way to get people excited. This encourages subscribers to remain subscribed and engaged and is a great way to showcase your industry knowledge and expertise.
Use visuals in your newsletters, such as images, graphics, and videos. Visuals are an amazing way to enhance the appeal of your newsletters because visual content tends to be more engaging, especially when it’s paired with a great message.
Attention-grabbing headlines are important too. As well as subject lines that entice subscribers to open and read your newsletters. It’s all about the message.
Building Long-Term Relationships with Newsletter Subscribers
Newsletters will always be an invaluable tool for nurturing and building long-term relationships with your audience. They allow you to connect with your target audience on a regular basis and foster loyalty and trust. Loyalty and trust are two very important components in relationships and just as important within a business and customer relationship. Here’s how to build trust with newsletters:
Send out newsletters regularly on a predictable schedule. If you tell your audience every Friday, don’t send newsletters out every other Tuesday. That conveys confusion, chaos and disorganization and shows you can’t keep to your word. Remember, consistency builds anticipation and trust.
Always encourage subscribers to engage with your content. In the copywriting and marketing world, we call that a Call-to-Action aka a CTA for short . CTAs can invite your audience to comment, share, or participate in discussions.
Gage how you’re doing by using newsletters to solicit feedback from subscribers. Your subscriber's input can help shape your content to better meet their needs and yours.
Always infuse a personal touch into your newsletters. Dry, rigid and boring newsletters will land you in the spam folder much less deleted from a subscriber's inbox faster than you can say spam. Be sure to share personal stories or behind-the-scenes insights to humanize your brand or persona.
Be open to subscriber inquiries and feedback received through newsletters. When you get back promptly and courteously to responses, it strengthens relationships with your audience.
Now, What’s an Email Marketing Campaign?
An email campaign is a targeted communication sent with a specific goal in mind – usually to promote a product, service, or event. Email campaigns are highly focused and often have a clear call to action, such as "shop now" or "register today." They are designed to drive conversions and sales, rather than just building a relationship as newsletters usually do. Email campaigns also use FOMO as a way of increasing sales and outcomes. While they’re not intended to make your skin crawl with anxiety (although some have), they are intended to usher people into making a snap decision rather than mulling it over for days or weeks and talking themselves out of purchasing.
Building Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the foundation of any successful marketing strategy. Marketing emails play a pivotal role in introducing your brand to potential customers and reinforcing it with your existing audience. Here's how to create a solid campaign for brand awareness:
Using marketing emails to introduce your brand's story, mission and values through the art of storytelling. Crafting narratives that resonate with your target audience and allowing them to connect with your brand on a personal level is so important and will make all the difference.
Ensuring that your marketing emails reflect your brand's visual identity with consistent colors, fonts, and logo placement will help reinforce that your brand is a trusted source. When we see brands constantly uploading things inconsistently to their identity, it causes people to take pause and re-evaluate the brand’s authority and identity. I, myself, have trouble believing a brand can do what they say they can do when the basic elements of their brand persona don’t match up.
Sharing informative and engaging content in your emails is a huge win. Not just for your subscribers, either. Doing so not only showcases your knowledge but also positions your brand as an invaluable resource in your industry. A brand that’s killing it by doing this is Hubspot.
Reeling in Potential Customers with Engagement
Engagement is a key metric in email marketing. Marketing emails are designed to not only captivate the interest of potential customers but retain the interest of current ones, thus creating a cycle of sales. It’s unlikely that a brand would sell to a customer and never want to make a sale from that customer again.
Just like with newsletters, crafting subject lines that pique curiosity, evoke emotions, and/or offer solutions to problems can significantly improve open rates.
Using the recipient's names and segmentation to tailor content to their interests and preferences is a recipe for success. Personalized emails are more likely to resonate with recipients and always have a higher open and engagement rate.
Incorporating eye-catching visuals like graphics, photos and videos to campaigns will help catch the reader's attention and boost engagement is always a win.
Keeping email content concise and to the point is always best. This goes for both email marketing and newsletters. Clearly communicating the value of your offer and how it addresses the reader’s pain points are imperative.
Promoting Your Products or Services
Marketing campaigns are a powerful tool for promoting your products and services. Whether it’s announcing a sale, launching a new product or showcasing current products and services, the way you promote your services and products is key.
Using marketing emails to showcase your products or services is paramount for brand awareness. Highlighting the product or services’ features, benefits, and unique selling points will always help you sell. If people don’t know about your products or services, they’ll never buy them.
Creating a sense of urgency or FOMO by promoting limited-time offers or exclusive discounts to subscribers is a great way to have subscribers take action fast. When you clearly communicate the deadline it will speed up the sale.
Including compelling calls to action (CTAs) that guide readers toward the desired action is a must. Whether the goal is to have readers make a purchase, sign up for a workshop or request more information they should be following through with an action.
Building trust in your email campaigns can be done simply by sharing customer testimonials and reviews. This also helps promote products. Sharing real-life experiences from satisfied customers can significantly increase and influence purchasing decisions.
The Overall Benefits
So, what are the benefits of each approach? A newsletter can be a great way to build loyalty and trust with your audience. By consistently delivering valuable content, you can establish yourself as an authority in your industry and keep your business top-of-mind. Newsletters are also less salesy, which can be a turnoff for some subscribers.
On the other hand, email campaigns can be extremely effective at driving conversions. By targeting specific segments of your audience and using clear calls to action, you can encourage subscribers to take action and make a purchase. Email campaigns can also be highly measurable, using Klaviyo, Hubspot, or even Mailchimp, you can track your results and refine your strategy over time.
Which One is Right for Your Business
There’s no clear-cut marketing trick when it comes to emails, however, when you’re starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, start thinking about the message you want to spread. If you’re starting out, you probably don’t have a ton of products or services to sell or a large subscriber list. Which is completely normal. Once you accrue subscribers and more products to sell it’s easier to see a clear path and continue to build on your emails. However, here’s a little cheat sheet of where to use email marketing:
If you want to:
Build Long-Term Relationships newsletters are the way to go when it comes to nurturing and maintaining long-term relationships with your readers. If your goal is to engage and educate your subscribers over time (i.e financial advisors, motivational speakers), newsletters are a great choice. They keep you top-of-mind and are an easy way to add value and build trust with readers.
Keep Your Content Diverse: If your business provides a variety of content types, such as blog posts, videos, articles, and infographics, newsletters are a great way to deliver this type of content. You can curate and share a mix of content in one single email, catering to different preferences while still keeping on brand and style.
Showcase Your Expertise: Newsletters allow you to position your brand as an authority in your industry. You can share thought leadership, industry insights and valuable resources to demonstrate your expertise and build trust, and ultimately show readers why your brand is the right choice to solve their problem.
Prioritize Subscriber Engagement: Newsletters encourage subscriber engagement through comments, feedback, and sharing. If you want to foster a community and increase interaction among your readers, newsletters are well-suited for this.
Create a Regular Publishing Schedule: Newsletters are typically sent out on a regular schedule, such as a specific day, week or month. If your brand commits to a consistent publishing schedule, newsletters will be a perfect way to establish a routine with your audience. Remember routine builds trust!
If any or all of the above is your current marketing goal, then start with newsletters and track how they perform and resonate with your audience before heading to the campaign route.
If you want to:
Drive Immediate Action: Email campaigns are designed for specific, time-sensitive goals - think buy now. Sign up now. Check this out…now. If you're launching a product or service, running a promotion or organizing an event and need to drive immediate action, email campaigns are ideal.
Share a Targeted Message: Email campaigns allow you to craft highly targeted messages that speak directly to people for specific segments of your audience. If you have distinct customer segments that have different needs or preferences, email campaigns can deliver tailored content and offers unlike newsletters which are for a more broad audience.
Create Urgency: If you want to create a sense of urgency or FOMO around a limited-time offer or a special event, email campaigns with clear calls to action can effectively convey that urgency.
A/B Test and Segment: Email campaigns are a great tool that provide opportunities for A/B testing different elements like subject lines, images, content, and CTAs. This can help you narrow down and optimize your messaging and improve conversion rates.
Collect Detailed Analytics: Email campaigns no doubt offer more detailed analytics, allowing you to track individual email performance and recipient behavior vs newsletters. If you need in-depth insights to tailor your marketing strategy, email campaigns can provide valuable data that can make a big impact on your marketing moving forward.
If the above reflects your current goals, then email campaigns are your best option. You can always add a monthly newsletter in addition to your email campaigns. I’ve seen this with all types of businesses, especially in e-commerce. A clothing company has their tried and true email campaigns blasting off 2-5 times a week and in addition, they have a monthly newsletter sharing personal stories, behind-the-scenes pictures and video and special rewards and discounts. To me, this is the ultimate type of email marketing, because who doesn’t want to be in the cool kids email club?
At the end of the day, the best approach for your business depends on your goals and your audience. If your business is just starting out or looking to build an audience, a newsletter might be the best place to start. Focus on building relation
ships and delivering value vs selling. Once you have a solid subscriber base, you can start experimenting with split testing and targeted email campaigns to drive sales and conversions.
Once you understand your audience's needs and preferences and deliver the right message at the right time while adding value to your emails, regardless of the type, you’ll be doing better than most start-ups and small businesses who have no email marketing strategies at all.
If you need help with your email campaigns or newsletters, crafting messages or curating a content strategy and calendar, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to work with your business and help your brand skyrocket.