One of the most valuable things you can do in business today is obtain an email address.

With the use of an email address and email marketing software, you can:

  • learn a lot about your audience such as what their interested in and the best ways to engage them at every stage of their buying journey.
  • automate marketing that is targeted and specific (on multiple platforms), which results in greater sales conversions.
  • keep your audience and customers up-to-date with new info and offers, resulting in new and repeat business.

All-in-all getting a simple name and email address is pretty powerful for your business.

Emails are valuable

Gathering contact details is one step, and usually the easiest part. The harder part is making them useful and ensuring they stay valuable to your business.

Emails are precious and need to be treated with respect (ain’t nobody go time for spam!), or your connection with the subscriber will have no meaning resulting in ignored emails and a high unsubscribe rate.

The best way to use your emails to your full advantage is to be clear what the purpose of each mailing list is. Your lists need distinction between what is email marketing communications and what are general newsletters.

Both should be:

  • carefully designed and worded
  • easy to read
  • branded
  • quick to load and mobile responsive
  • shareable
  • meet your list purpose

To get the full benefit for your business, you need both in your marketing strategy.

What is the difference between email marketing and a newsletter?

There is a misconception that email marketing and publishing an email newsletter are the same thing. They are not.

A newsletter is vastly different to running email marketing campaigns. Yes you can have both. But they should be different lists or sent to different segments of your list.

Email Marketing is…

Email marketing is designed to encourage your customers to take at least one action, usually persuading them to subscribe or buy with a level of urgency. Email marketing campaigns are based upon user on-site or email click behaviour, or by signing up for a lead magnet or submitting a lead capture form. These emails focus on leading towards a particular sale (not just any sale mind you!) and respond directly to an action that has occurred within another email communication or on your website, such as cart abandonment.

Newsletters are…

Newsletters, note the word ‘news’, are fantastic tools that can be used in partnership with more targeted email marketing. The purpose of a newsletter is to inform and engage your audience with your brand and area of expertise, as well as build a relationship with potential customers. Newsletters are published on a regular schedule and offers loads of free content with very little sales promotions. Sure there are advertisements within a newspaper but the primary intention is to deliver the news, not to sell you something.

What are the features of a good marketing email?

A good marketing email should only maintain one purpose and focus on one action at a time. Everything in the email should be designed to guide the reader to taking the desired action, and nothing else should be included that distracts from it.

Good marketing or promotional emails are timely, speak the language of the consumer, and create a sense of urgency to encourage immediate action. They contain at least one CTA button, if not several, but all links from the email go directly to a landing page that allows them to get what they want or do what you want them to do.

Yes, it’s still very important to provide high-value and actionable content (that’s what newsletters and nurture campaigns are for) but the intention behind email marketing is to drive sales.

What are the features of a good newsletter?

Newsletters can be used to give information about your business and what you offer to your customers, but they are not highly sales focused.

Newsletters don’t push products or offers, they are designed to inform and engage. You can think of them like a newspaper (if you can remember what one of those are!). Newsletters are regular, interesting and informative, and usually, follow a consistent schedule and format.

Different industries tend to use newsletters differently. Newsletters can include:

  • Stories about you and the other people in your business
  • Behind the scenes of your business
  • Stories about your customers and feedback
  • Articles that will improve your customer’s lives, or fit in with their current or desired lifestyle
  • Links to areas of your website and social media pages showing dynamic content
  • Links to research, blogs, videos and articles that might be of interest to your audience
  • Links to videos showing how to use your products
  • An update of what’s happening and coming up in your business
  • Reminders for customers
  • New product releases
  • Info that triggers entry into email marketing campaigns.

Sending newsletters regularly means you can also advertise when a sales offer or event will be coming up, without pushing your agenda, and gently get your customers excited about it.

Newsletters establish you as an expert in your field and a resource to go to when your customers need answers. Newsletters are a great way for potential clients to get to know you and your business, as well as keep your business front of mind for existing customers.

This level of consistent and engaging information builds your audiences’ trust in you and lets them know that you understand where they are coming from, and that you still exist!

Newsletters, when done well, can lengthen the lifetime value of your customer, and keep your brand front of mind for much longer than sales pitches or direct marketing.

Good email communication requires BALANCE

Good email communication requires a nice balance of the different types of content and promotions you send to your customers. There are benefits to both kinds of emails and you will probably find they work best when used in partnership.

That said, if you ask for a person’s email address to sign up for your newsletter, make sure that this is what they are receiving. If they’ve signed up for marketing communications, make good use of that consent.

Through newsletters you build a relationship where you get to know your audience and allow them to get to know you. Then you can use this knowledge to create strategic marketing emails that are timely and effective and carry the greatest power to convert into sales.

Your newsletter can funnel people into email marketing campaigns by raising interest in particular products or services, and your email marketing campaigns can funnel people into your list. Just ensure you comply with GDPR and your own privacy policy when doing so.

Track your mailing list behaviour and optimise accordingly

Like most features of online business, you need to track performance to optimise and improve. Tracking what happens to all of your emails gives you valuable insight into which emails are effective and more importantly, which ones aren’t.

Insights to monitor include:

  • Open rates
  • Which topics / subject lines received the best open rates
  • Click through rates
  • Which offers or style of promotion drove the most clicks
  • Which offers of style of promotion drove sales
  • Sales and conversions from email campaigns
  • Email delivery success rates
  • Times of day people open your email
  • Where people fall out of your email funnels

Regardless of promotional or general news emails, you can use this insight to craft better performing email campaigns and engaging newsletters that connect and convert effectively.

Further reading: How To Create A Nurture Sequence

Available now: Nurture Sequence Workbook & Script Templates