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Are email newsletters dead for Australian businesses today?
YES if you are solely wanting to promote your services and products, and let your audience know about what you’re up to without how it benefits them. Email marketing will be a time waster if you’re expecting consistent streams of direct work from it.
NO, if it’s part of a wider marketing strategy where the potential client relationships are nurtured and you’re providing invaluable content that helps to position you as an authority in your field.
Gone are the days of email newsletters being like the fliers and catalogues stuffed in your letterbox – businesses ask, ask and asking for your business, and then when they think you’re not going to budge, ask again.
Recent research from the CMI indicate that Australian businesses still rely on email marketing as a major factor in their content marketing. Unlike social media, you still have a captive audience as you send out emails.
As a digital business consultant, the most common questions to email marketing I get asked are:
Can’t I just use my normal email like Gmail and CC everyone?
Exposing email addresses to the rest of your contact list isn’t a great move. It may be considered a major privacy breach and it may land you in hot water. Biggest recommendation – just don’t do it.
Also, it’s not scaleable as your contact list grows, you’re more likely to land that email into people’s spam boxes as opposed to inboxes. The most amount of emails you can send in Gmail is 500 per day (so that could be 500 per 1 email, or 500 emails to inpidual emails), so as your business scales, this method certainly can’t scale with it.
Can I force my contact list to receive my emails without opting out?
No way, this is illegal! According to ACMA:
Under the Spam Act 2003, every commercial electronic message must contain a functional and legitimate ‘unsubscribe’ facility. This is an electronic address the recipient can use to tell the sender they do not wish to receive messages.
Shouldn’t email newsletters be about telling our customers and future customers about what we’re up to?
When you create content for your email newsletter, ask yourself honestly – does this piece of information benefit my clients and future clients? If you’re adding another member to your staff who specialises in agribusiness, sure, let your audience know you’ve added Steve to the team, but then create a call to action button that reads, ‘If you want to talk about agribusiness and how it can benefit your business, get in touch with Steve now’. Communicating to potential clients is all about communicating benefits and value to the audience and with email newsletters, it’s no different.
How often should I publish helpful emails over sales emails?
Ginny Mineo from Hubspot believes in a ratio of about 10:1 – for every 10 pieces of content you provide as valuable, you can provide 1 piece for a promotion of your product or service.
A successful email newsletter contains valuable content
Many brands who are using email newsletters successfully are using it to:
- Point to interesting and valuable content they’ve published on their own site, whether in the form of blogs, videos and infographics.
- Point to interesting and valuable content from other sources around the globe.
- Tell engaging stories from the perspective of their clients and providing an easy call to action to encourage prospective client readers to take a next step. Notice how this is NOT overtly promoting a product or service.
- Consistently repeating this process once a week or once a month (depending on the industry), and then every now and again, promoting a product or service relevant to the content that’s been published.
This is about trust
This is called trust based marketing or relationship marketing, and emails newsletters are a form of trust building for your audience. It’s one of those digital marketing methods that’s easy to see if you’ve abused it or if you are now irrelevant, by the way of unsubscribes. Email newsletter systems like Aweber, Mailchimp and Active Campaign can record the amount of opens, link clicks or unsubscribes you receive for each newsletter you send out.
As we’re in the information age – educating your audience in your expertise and how it affects their business and their lives becomes crucial with your overall marketing strategy.
Are email newsletters dead for Australian businesses?
Absolutely not, if used in the right way. Email newsletters can help to build trust and authority, just as long as you’re consistently giving more valuable content than asking for the sale, you will find it an invaluable tool in your marketing toolkit.