Newsletter's are far from a dying media. They feel counter intuitive, but they are actually really powerful. When people sign up for a newsletter they are being clear about their intent on their engagement with that brand. They are raising their hand and, saying, yes I want to hear from you and here is my email address.
The intent is real. The numbers prove it. 100% delivery rates < no email address is a bad email address because a person signed up to receive it. 30 - 50% open rates and x% CTRs.
Data doesn't lie.
But not all newsletters and their performance is created equally. The user intent comes from the brand's intent...
Go Niche Or Go Home
Broad newsletters, newsletters that speak to everyone, may scale in terms of having a very big audience to go after, but the numbers do not. Sign up rates are lower, open rates are even lower, and CTRs are non existent and that's because the content isn't authentic because it's trying to speak to, to big of an audience, trying to get too many yes's so to speak in one go.
Identify your buyer. Your true buyer. Your niche buyer. You might have multiple types of buyers. GREAT! Create multiple newsletters with landing pages for them to sign up on that speaks directly to their challenge and your solution.
Know Your Audience
I mean really know them. Walk a mile in their shoes. Send out a survey. Meet over the phone or face to face. Whatever works for you in really KNOWING who this newsletter is going go. What challenges do face? What challenges have they solved and how? What are their interests? What do they LOVE about their job? What do they hate?
This is more than wearing the client hat. This is the full ensemble from head to toe then walking cross country in it.
You're probably thinking you need to do this for any medium, and possibly, but a newsletter is personal. You're entering their sacred email space. A carefully curated space that they have full control over in terms of the media that comes and goes. If you want to come, stay, and avoid that dreaded unsubscribe button you better have earned it.
Keep It Short, Sweet, And To The Point
There are a multitude of ways to generate content for your newsletter. Above all quality is top priority; from the clean design to the content implemented.
There are a few avenues to generate content:
- Curation: Producing content on a regular basis can be an uphill battle on you and your resources. What sites do you follow? What sites does your team follow? What other information, news, video, or otherwise is already out there that your audience would find useful?
- Creation: Do you have a team of awesome sauce writers that produce content regularly? Then aggregate their already on brand content, and share it via newsletter.
- Both: Do you sometimes create content, but your newsletter would be a bit empty? Then
If the numbers hold, doing a shorter newsletter that is sent more often, is an option. 4 stories per newsletter; Headline, Link, and Short summary. Then send it 3 - 6x a week depending on fast you create and/or currate.
User experience matters. The point isn't to have people read a dissertation. It's to get information quickly and dive in to learn more or move on.
Just Do It
Seriously though. The hardest part to any new marketing channel is opening Pandora's box. No need to fling it open, just crack it with a weekly newsletter of 4 pieces of curated content. Then swap one for your own piece, or add another day. Lots of ways to mix and match, but you can't Agile something that isn't out in the wild, so set a strategy > Audience, Content, Frequency then go.
Sean Ryan, uses his background in media and ad tech to help startups better understand the sales process, develop cost-efficient revenue models and accelerate to growth stage -- there’s a lot of value he passes on to startups about how large media organizations do things. Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/seanryanaccelerator/