Are newsletters dead?

I had a great discussion recently with a fellow marketeer about company newsletters. A wildly successful trend in the 80’s when people still liked to print stuff and mass mail it, the newsletter carried momentum when email marketing found its place in the marketing arsenal. But I posed this question to her and now ask readers…

  • Are traditional, company-focused newsletters still useful?

The short answer from Marketing CoPilot: NO!
But let’s dig into why we think corporate newsletters are dead.

  1. Most newsletters are not helpful. They are self promotional and talk about things happening at a company but not about the customer or their business problems.
  2. They are poorly written and lack an engaging voice. Voice is everything. When you speak to someone you are engaging and have enthusiasm for a subject. Most newsletter copy is not.
  3. There is no call to action. The nature of a newsletter is to “share information” but most companies forget that if you want someone to do something you have to ask them to. Just “letting them know” that you have added product functionality or have new staff, doesn’t engage. Asking people to try the new functionality in a defined forum, including easy-to-provide feedback, creates better engagement.
  4. They lack consistency. If you have an infrequent or worse, unscheduled distribution schedule, people don’t pay attention. The reason people still get a newspaper delivered to their house everyday is because they know it will show up every morning and they rely on this to learn about the world. If it didn’t show up consistently, they would stop subscribing.

So we think the traditional corporate newsletter is dead. But here is a better question to pose to our community….
Are frequent mailings to staff, friends, clients and potential customers about new ideas, helpful business tips and updates on “how” to do something, useful? YES!
If you want to share information with people, here are four fool proof strategies:

  1. Make your content about your customer. No one cares about your product or service. They care about themselves and their business.
  2. Find your voice. Invest time, money and resources into creating and testing copy that is engaging.
  3. Ask people to do something or try something. Don’t just “share” without there being a purpose to the information.
  4. Be consistent. Create a schedule for sharing content and stick to it. Consistency trumps infrequent every time.

But enough about me: What do you think?

Marketing CoPilot