We are noticing a big shift in content creation, which is more of a callback to a previous time. Blogs, which for the last 5-7 years have been the main focus for a lot of companies, used to offer a lot of value: SEO rankings, new content on your site to engage people, and the ability to present specific marketing messages without the creation of new sites/landing pages. Recently, much like when we once saw podcasts disrupt the space, we are seeing specific industries are able to build a stronger following with newsletters. A newsletter offers the opportunity to engage with a smaller, highly engaged, audience- one that has signed up to hear from you. Consider these your biggest advocates/fans. In a world where third-party tracking is going away and directly connecting with your audience is key, newsletters directly reach an audience of your known and interested customers, prospects and/or enthusiasts. You aren’t tied to an ad platform.
Regardless if you are a tech-forward business or one that relies on more traditional forms of marketing/communication, access seems to be a big driving factor. Newsletters fit at a comfortable nexus of easy accessibility and asynchronous communication. You don’t have to open up your web browser and click through to a news site or an aggregator, nor are you subjected to a barrage of text messages – you just wake up and it’s sitting in your inbox to be read at your leisure. Reflecting the improving quality of newsletter content, some thought leaders are beginning to monetize these types of content as well. A number of newsletters that have built a large following cost their recipients between $10 – $30 a year, much like a traditional magazine subscription. These types of email newsletters are making big shifts in B2B and B2C spaces.
Additionally, unlike blogs, newsletters can be more personal. With the ability to add custom fields, like someone’s first name or company name- you can tailor your message. With modern advances, you can use things like progressive profiling and more complicated logic to deliver custom messages based on previous interactions. Once someone clicks a link on your email, you can send them a thank you message, or when someone clicks a specific item on your website and you can email them that exact item.
Here are a few examples of newsletter best practices:
Canoe Club (a high-end men’s clothing store in Boulder, CO) has done a great job of adopting best practices and then putting their own twist on how they follow up with their audience. Initially, you sign up for emails to get 10% off your first item- this is pretty standard for most retailers, but it doesn’t stop there. They continue to send you great content; from recipes and new products in store, to how they are styling their favorite items. The content itself is great, and you can tell they spent time on the photography and writing. The best part comes when you interact with the content… click enough links in their emails and spend enough time filtering through lookbooks and they will send you more specifically curated emails. Triggered from your interactions, you get more thank-you emails and discounts in your inbox.
For those who don’t know, the Spyplane team provides deep research and “Mach 3+ Level Recon” for those who are passionate about fashion. Since when did a newsletter become an exclusive club? Is it really if anyone can sign up? Messaging and tone can go a long way to give a sense of community and exclusivity, even if it’s just an illusion. Blackbird Spyplane does this really well, by positioning themselves as the “no. 1 source across all media for ‘unbeatable recon’”. What does this mean? From gardening outfits, bucket hats, to sandals- they seem to have an opinion on everything. Blackbird Spyplane has targeted a niche audience and built a cult-like following. Now they can promote a product in their email and cause a retailer to sell out of that specific item, generating a much higher conversion rate than any paid advertisement. Recently they have sectioned off the more exclusive content for paid subscribers of the newsletter, offering both a free tier and a paid subscription for those who can’t get enough.
Video producers like Matt D’Avella learned about the benefits of email communication early. He has been pushing subscribers to sign up for his email list- where he delivers more in-depth content and offers additional content around his main topics. Now he is not stuck to a platform he doesn’t own, like YouTube or Patreon. If YouTube decided to change the algorithm, monetization, or just shut down- Matt will be okay, as he has an audience of people who want to engage directly with him. If Patreon decides to change their fees, Matt can pivot easily.
BuiltIn just released an article on sponsored newsletter content and how you can really start to dive down the targeting rabbit hole and get super niche with your audiences. They mention that independent newsletters are starting to produce meaningful results for advertisers. This can also be much cheaper than standard PPC or Social campaigns.
If you are interested in starting a newsletter and need to learn more about how to build and deploy emails while managing your contact list, let us know. If you are interested in advertising with independent newsletters, we can help you discover cost-effective solutions. And of course, subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest and greatest in the marketing world.