To Send or Not to Send‽‽

A perpetual question that bogs down a marketer

In today’s age, almost every enterprise depends highly on its social media to run its marketing campaigns, and interact with its customers. And, why not? There are over 3 billion social media users worldwide, 54% of who use social media to research products. Marketing strategies are bound to be more focussed on social media, and the once-popular cost-effective marketing tool—the newsletter—is now considered plain Jane. Although newsletters still find their place in the enterprise’s marketing strategy, many marketers, more so rookies, still have this one question –In this social media era, should we run an email newsletter at all or is it passé?’

The simple answer is YES. A newsletter is an effective marketing tool that organisations cannot afford to ignore. According to the recent HubSpot Research, Global Survey, 78% of marketers have observed an increase in email engagement over the last year. Read on to know the power of the earliest digital marketing tool – the newsletter.


A newsletter, as we know, is a communication tool used to update customers or subscribers or readers (I prefer to call them subscribers) on the latest business happenings, or products and services. But hey, newsletters serve much more than just saying ‘Hi’ to people in your list ever so often. A good newsletter is something that educates, motivates, and nudges your subscribers to make a purchase or read your latest blog. In short, provide content that is of some value to your subscribers with a catchy, easy-on-the-eyes layout.

Here’s a newsletter from web-based email testing and tracking solutions provider Litmus that ticks all the boxes.

Marketing and promotions

Another important use for a newsletter is that it can increase your brand recall and nudge people to take action, usually a purchase. This is not a very common occurrence in an email newsletter, but few companies have aced it. The key is to promote and not be pushy.

Take for example, the American retail and outdoor recreation services giant, Recreational Equipment, Inc, more commonly known as REI. They run newsletters dedicated to a particular buyer persona which makes the communication very personalized.

Connecting and building strong relationships

Personalized newsletters help build strong relationships. Such newsletters have a greater impact on subscribers by making them feel seen and valued. This is a key differentiator. You can achieve this by keeping the tone of your newsletter more informal – as though you are talking to your friend, rather than like a salesperson trying hard to sell his product. You can talk about your organization culture, highlight the achievements and milestones of your team members or even talk about ‘fun@work’ from time to time. Including pictures also increases personalization. Personalized newsletters definitely help build a personal rapport and establish trust. Newsletters that target different buyer persona also increase personalization.

A perfect example of a personalized newsletter is the author and illustrator Austin Kleon’s ‘A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon’. Austin discusses the happenings in his life, the music he is listening to, the books he has read and more in a very friendly and informal language.

Building credibility and authority

A newsletter that shares unique and valuable content makes your subscribers wait for the next issue. Be sure to include not just business updates but also interesting and useful content that piques your subscribers’ interest. Share original content from your resource bucket that is current and relevant along with carefully curated content related to your area of expertise. You could have a theme for each issue thus providing your subscribers insightful good reads on different topics. This will increase organic traffic to your website. Your subscribers will then start to recognise your brand and this way, your newsletter can become a great brand builder.

If you are looking to build credibility and authority through your content, then, you have to check the infosec website, Hacker News’ ‘Hacker Newsletter’. The newsletter has a minimal design, is clean, and is divided into marked sections which have relevant and credible content to the subscribers.

Before I wrap up, I’d like to show how we communicate with our subscribers through our newsletter, the Chief Content Officer (CCO).

I cannot help but be biased (ok, let me redeem myself – a colleague’s written about how to address biases which is helping me deal with my predisposition!)  as our CCO ticks all the boxes that I’ve been talking about

So, this is about the usefulness of a newsletter. I hope you will use the time-honoured, cost-effective marketing tool to your advantage and up your game! Good luck.

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