Email newsletters – 4 questions your business should have the answer to (plus some food for thought)

The importance of newsletters

In the age of the digital marketing, it is more and more difficult for businesses to keep in step with all the new platforms for an online presence that are available for their business. With the boom of social media and the endless digital marketing opportunities out there, business owners often tend to neglect one of the most powerful online marketing tools, namely the email newsletter.

To help you get a better understanding of the importance of email newsletters to your business, we have given you some food for thought. These are the 4 questions your business should have the answer to in order to successfully incorporate email newsletters in your digital marketing strategy:

1. Why should I use email newsletters for my business?
• They are cost effective AND environment-friendly. No paper, no printing, no shipping.
• They help build a relationship with your clients and prospects.
• They increase awareness of your company and its products/services.
• They help to establish your company as an industry leader.
• They are a great way to promote your products and services.
• They help you increase the coverage of your target audience.
• They offer a personalized, targeted communication.
• They provide content for, and traffic to, your website.
• They help add value to your services.

2. How often should I send an email newsletter?
The decision about how often to send your email newsletters is a tough one. Luckily, there is no right or wrong answer! Whatever interval you feel is best for your company and its products/services, go for it. No matter how often you send your email newsletters, though, be consistent. Issuing newsletters at regular intervals (daily, weekly or monthly) will help your subscribers feel comfortable knowing when to expect your new newsletter.

Note that if you are sending your newsletters too often, your subscribers may soon get burnt out (resulting in your great email marketing content getting right in the trash without the emails being opened). If you are sending your email newsletters too infrequently, you risk your subscribers to forget who you are altogether (leading to hitting the SPAM button and ruining your reputation).

The best email marketing practices include not sending out newsletters more than three times a week. Once a week, every other week or once a month is a good schedule for most businesses.

3. When should I send the email newsletter?

The most appropriate time for sending out an email newsletter in today’s digital world simply does not exist. Why? Because, if you are a business with established online presence, chances are your clients and prospects come from different time zones, making it really difficult to define the best time to hit the SEND button. A good solution to this problem is to simply test different times – try sending your email newsletter at different times of the day and see what works best for your business.

The same applies to the day you send the email newsletter on. Most email marketing strategists agree that the most inappropriate days for sending an email newsletter are:

Monday – the start of the week is usually full of stress, planning, and organizing, and basically nobody has the time to open and read your newsletter;
Friday – unlike Monday, Friday is the day on which most people have already switched to weekend mode by noon, so the chances of your unread email to hit the recipient’s trash in favor of a funny cat video are greater;
Saturday – this is probably the worst day for sending an email newsletter as this is the day on which most people rarely stay at home, let alone open their emails;

This leaves Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as the most appropriate days for sending email newsletters. Sunday is a controversial one as some experts say more and more people are using Sunday to spend their free time online and check their emails, so you shouldn’t get this option off the table. As with timing, choosing the day on which to send your email newsletter should have to do with some testing of what works best for your business (and your subscribers).

4. What to include in the email newsletters?

A lot of business owners struggle to find the most appropriate content for their email newsletters. Luckily, you don’t have to be a published author to provide great content for your readers! What’s important here is to provide value to your subscribers. Think in terms of what will be helpful for them instead of just randomly shooting promotions and sales you are running. An email newsletter is a great way to showcase your knowledge and include relevant news and blogs that would be both interesting and valuable to your readers.

Of course, offering exclusive discounts for subscribers in your email newsletter is a great way to increase sales, but you should keep the right balance: 90% educational and 10% promotional content. Remember to keep it simple and (why not) fun to read!

Some final food for thought:

• Always think about the purpose of the newsletter before you create it.
• Use the same email template every time and make sure your brand plays the leading role.
• Use a mobile responsive design for your newsletters (according to email analytics company Litmus, the percentage of emails opened on mobile devices has jumped from 8% in 2011 to 56% in April 2016. That’s a 700% increase.
• Use different, creative, engaging subject lines for each newsletter you send.
• Make use of white space – on a computer desktop it helps visually ease the cluttered feel, and on mobile devices it makes it easier for readers to click the links you’ve provided.
• Make it easy for people to unsubscribe – if you want to keep your subscribers happy, active, and engaged, make sure your unsubscribe link is visible and easy to click.