While content marketing can broaden a brand’s reach, it’s not surprising 92% of marketers believe it’s critical for search engine optimisation (SEO) too – the holy grail of your digital strategy.
According to Brandpoint, different types of content address different levels of the purchasing funnel. While blog posts, news articles, press releases and social media content drive awareness at the top of the funnel, further down lies webpage content, FAQs, whitepapers and that old marketing gem, the newsletter (now digital, as an e-newsletter).
These are all ‘consideration stage’ content and are some of the most effective ways to communicate your brand’s message – in fact, according to their research, 61% of consumers trust a company that delivers custom content.
An e-newsletter is a form of direct mail sent by a business to subscribers on a regular basis. It could include company news, tips, interesting facts, links to articles and special offers or coupons. A great e-newsletter can keep your business at the front of your readers’ minds.
Most e-newsletters are in HTML format with hyperlinks to a landing page – they have relatively low costs of entry and can quickly scale up to thousands in revenue per year.
So how do you create a stellar e-newsletter?
Many organisations wrongly assume that simply attaching a PDF newsletter to an email will suffice – it generally does not, with many recipients too busy to open attachments.
Rather, you should be crafting an integrated news piece designed for online consumption – something that is personalised, is able to be sent in unlimited quantities, can be scheduled to be sent ahead of time, is compliant with the Spam Act, and allows readers to adjust their subscription settings. Something that can tell you how many people have read and forwarded your e-newsletter, and something that manoeuvres traffic directly to your website.
Never add customers to an email list without their consent (you’ll be blacklisted as spam) and always include a one-click unsubscribe option.
It’s worth looking into employing a consultant to develop your email marketing strategy (EMS) – ideally they’ll integrate it with your content management system (CMS). There are many benefits to this – it saves time re-formatting between your e-newsletter and the website version of your content, all recipients are stored centrally (you can automatically address each recipient individually) and you can edit your newsletter easily.
As technology writer Christina Desmarais says, you should also look at the speedy Gmail tool Flashissue, which combines content curation with email marketing in one easy-to-use interface (you can sign in via Facebook or Google and in less than five minutes have a newsletter emailed to your readers).
“Imagine this scenario: you own a specialty food shop and you keep a blog chock-full of articles about gourmet trends, recipes, etc. Flashissue can connect with your site, fill up its content gallery with your stories, and let you drag and drop previews of posts right into its editing tool. You see the first couple of sentences of a story, a thumbnail image and a link back to the original full post,” she says. You can also scan the internet for content from external sources.
Other tools to look at are MailChimp (simple and robust custom newsletters can be integrated for Facebook and smartphones), Constant Contact (templates and comprehensive analytics) and iContact (drag and drop features and good templates).