By Nick Westergaard on February 26, 2009

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8 Reasons Why Email Newsletters Work

Today Business Week had a great article on the success of the tried and true email newsletter. While definitely not the sexiest form of new media (nor the newest), many of our clients see continued success with email newsletters. Here are our 8 reasons why email marketing is an effective way for getting your brand in front of your customers.

Email Marketing Is …

  1. Personal — Email newsletters are delivered directly to customers’ inboxes. When they sign up for your email program, they demonstrate their willingness as a consumer to enter into a very personal relationship with you.
  2. Permission-based — As the Business Week article points out, it is much more personal to grant a company permission to send regular email updates than it is to click through and passively read a blog or fan a business on Facebook.
  3. Relevant — The best commercial emails touch on timely issues that are relevant to customers. There is no bigger predictor of email success than relevance to the reader.
  4. Targeted — You can be even more relevant to your readers by segmenting your list and delivering targeted messages.
  5. Regular — After you set a scheduled pattern and provided you pay close attention to items 3 and 4, your emails will become an anticipated part of your customers’ routines. It’s the first Wednesday of the month, so I get my e-newsletter from …
  6. Trust-Building — Because of its personal nature, email marketing provides you with an opportunity to build trust. If this trust is abused you risk damaging the relationship — both online and off. There are many ways of losing a customer’s trust via email such as mailing too much, using too hard a sell, not delivering relevant, targeted messages and more. Be careful.
  7. Cost Effective — A less touchy-feely reason but it’s true. Email can be as effective as direct mail without the cost of printing and postage.
  8. Measurable — Again, a dollars-and-cents reason but few other forms of media can compete with email marketing on its level of insight and accountability. As a business, you get real-time results on opens, clicks, bounces, and opt-outs.

Finally, I’d like to say a quick note on sending permission-based email rather than blasting. I dislike this dated phrase mostly because it flies in the face of email marketing’s elder cousin, direct mail. You don’t blast something at some general population and hope for a response. You send a targeted message directly to a relevant audience. Oh, and you can measure it. Heck, that’s direct marketing in a nutshell. Blasting uses junk mailer tactics to attack users’ inboxes. In the end, that’s where you end up when you abuse this special relationship — in spam folders wondering why you have more customers opting out of your program than you have opting in.

In times of economic hardship, many companies’ sole direct marketing expenditure is email. Email is modern direct marketing. When used wisely, email is an incredibly effective tool for keeping your brand in front of customers on a consistent basis. When cultivated and maintained, your email list will become an invaluable asset to your business as your customers will eagerly await seeing your brand in their inboxes.

Photo credit: husin.sani via Flickr

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Email Brand Driven Digital

is Chief Brand Strategist and founder of Brand Driven Digital, where he helps build better brands online. In addition to his agency work, he teaches social media marketing at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business and is the co-host of The Work Talk Show podcast. More about Nick.


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