Learning Hub | Content Marketing

Writing a Newsletter: Pros and Cons

April 14, 2017 | Jon Teodoro

Many Companies Have a Newsletter. Does Yours Need One?

You don’t have to have a newsletter to be a successful marketer.

Yes, you heard us correctly.

Now, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t have one, but we are saying that it’s not necessary for many types of businesses. In fact, newsletter campaigns can hurt marketing efforts in some cases.

To figure out if you can create a successful newsletter campaign, you need to analyze your company make-up by asking yourself things like:

  • How many employees do I have?
  • How full are there current workloads?
  • Will I have to hire another copywriter to construct a successful newsletter?
  • What are my end goals?
  • Do my customers want to read a newsletter?
  • Do I have plenty of interesting, pertinent info to give to customers?
  • Do my customers interact via email?

You get the picture.

To help you make your decision, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of newsletters, which kinds of companies benefit from which kinds of newsletters and finally, another marketing alternative that you may want to try before diving into a newsletter campaign.

Newsletter Pros

1.  Newsletters provide a great storytelling format.

Essentially newspapers for a specific company, they provide an excellent platform to tell stories about you, your employees, your beliefs, mission, goals…you name it. Newsletters are an excellent place to tell stories that will captivate your customers, making them like you and not just your products or services

2. They’re a great way to stay on customers’ minds.

Because newsletters are typically disseminated via email, you can automate schedules and segment receivers based on content so that your company is always fresh on the minds of your customers.

3. Newsletter email campaigns provide you with specific engagement statistics.

You can see which customers have clicked, opened and taken action on newsletters with tracking tools included on most email marketing platforms. This allows you to narrow down which customers should receive which content.

4. They’re a good way to get incentives to loyal customers.

If someone has signed up for and engages with your newsletters, chances are that person is a loyal customer. Newsletters are a great way to send out coupons, sale announcements and other special offers to your best buyers.

Newsletter Cons

1. A good newsletter, one that is worth reading, will take a lot of time and resources to put together.

This isn’t a one-page thing. You need writers, sure. And, maybe you can get away with having one. But, if you want a diverse newsletter, you may need photographers, videographers and graphic designers, as well.

Successful, interesting newsletters really require a team effort, which means that smaller businesses with fewer resources may not be able to execute them well.

2. They need quite a bit of content.

Again, newsletters are often fairly long. The main goal of them is to provide information. If your newsletter isn’t at least a few pages long, there is no point in sending it out. You would be better off focusing your efforts on emails and/or blog posts. The longer the content, the more resources, effort and time are needed.

3. Readers have to subscribe to get content.

Newsletters require a subscription. This is a good thing, but some customers just don’t want to sign up for anything, no matter the benefit to them.

We all have friends that have 1,200 unopened email notifications on their iPhone home screens glaring them in the face. How many of those are possible newsletters?! Think about the wasted resources spent.

If your clientele isn’t interacting or stops interacting with your newsletter offer, consider scrapping it altogether and focusing on other marketing outlets.

4. Expectations are high for content.

Customers are going to place higher expectations on newsletter content than on that of, say, a blog.

This isn’t a bad thing at all…if you can deliver.

Only you know what you have to say to and provide for customers. Analyze your message’s purpose and benefit. Does it match what they want, need and expect?

If not, don’t waste your resources. Focus on other avenues of marketing where you can excel.

Companies That Benefit Greatly From Having a Newsletter

Newsletter campaigns come in two forms:

1. Employee Newsletter

  • Dispersed throughout the company, these newsletters are for employees and provide information like company news and updates, customer letters/feedback and background stories about certain employees.
  • This type of newsletter is a great tool for:
    • Large corporations
    • Geographically dispersed companies (Retail chains)
    • Hospitals
    • Universities

2. Customer Newsletter

  • Your typical newsletter, this one is sent out usually via email to customers that sign up to receive it.
  • This type of newsletter is a great tool for:
    • Companies that have the resources to construct it (i.e. a team of copywriters or email marketers)
    • Companies that have a lot of information to provide their customers
    • Companies with a highly-engaged customer base
    • Established companies

To Newsletter or Not to Newsletter…

If you feel that you’ve got enough information to share with your customers or your employees, then go for it! Create your newsletter. We aren’t here to discourage you.

We’re just here to let you know that you don’t have to have a newsletter to have a successful marketing presence. In fact, if companies that can’t do a newsletter well decide to do it anyway, they often end up hurting their marketing efforts.

We’ve worked with quite a few small businesses that didn’t have the resources to devote to making a great newsletter. And really, they couldn’t generate enough information to keep up with cyclical newsletter distribution.

We recommended to them, as we recommend to you, to consider whether a blog would work better toward reaching specific goals.

Blogs have some benefits that newsletters don’t, including:

  • No cyclical schedule
    • You need to post frequently, but you can decide when because you haven’t promised your customers a monthly newsletter.
  • One topic per post
    • You don’t have to fill up several pages of diverse content so you can just focus on one topic, which is great for companies that don’t have as much to say.
  • Customers don’t have to subscribe (or unsubscribe).
    • Your site visitors are free to read or not read your blog at their own will…no strings attached.
  • Less resources needed
    • One to two copywriters can usually handle blog campaigns, making them great for smaller businesses that don’t have enough resources to create a newsletter.

At the end of that day, the decision to have a blog, newsletter or nothing is up to you. Think about your content, your customers and your business goals, then go from there.

Just remember that the quality of your content is WAY more important than the quantity in almost every case. Keep this in mind when constructing campaigns, and the decision will be an easy one to make.