A Scenic Tour of the Online World

The Importance of Email Newsletters

Friday, April 13th, 2012

They aren’t sexy, but they’re still an enormously important part of the content marketing arsenal.

Not buying it? Consider these figures for for adult internet users in the U.S. (according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.)

  • 91% send or read email
  • 71% watch videos on sites like YouTube
  • 64% use social networking sites
  • 32% read someone else’s journal or blog
  • 12% use Twitter

The only thing higher on the list than email was search engine use at 92%.

An email newsletter can be the most direct and immediate way to reach your audience, so it’s not a something to toss aside when the next big thing comes along. It’s not as effective as it once was – spam bears a lot of the responsibility for that. But so does email’s success. Its effectiveness drew – and continues to draw – more and more marketers to it, both in B2B and B2C worlds.

Here are a few things you can do to make your email newsletters easier to write and more effective.

Keep It Short, Simple, and Snappy
This is not the place to publish your magnum opus. Think of all the emails piling up in your inbox even as you read this. (Wait, come back …) Grab your audience’s attention fast and drive them to longer form content. (Presumably to your blog, social media presence, or website. Email newsletters can be a great way to build audience.)

Drive Action
Hand in hand with driving your audience from the distraction of their inbox to immersion in your content, you should also be driving them to action. Signing up for a webinar, downloading a white paper or report, buying something or picking up the phone to hire you.

Substance Over Style
I’m not sure I’d advocate for plain black text on a plain white background, but don’t spend a lot of time designing your email newsletter. Basic branding is all you need. A simple header and a layout that includes a main content area for each issue’s “big” article, as well as a sidebar area for quicker hits – announcements, pertinent links, and so on.

Curation’s As Good As Creation
If you’re not comfortable writing at length, curate. Gather content that’s of interest to your audience and offer commentary that highlights your expertise and helps create a consistent voice and viewpoint. I’ll cover content curation tips in a post next week.

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