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Is a Monthly Newsletter Worth The Effort?

If you're a professional or thought leader who is consistently posting on social media to promote your company or your services, you may have wondered about the benefit of doing a monthly newsletter. After all, with social media, you can establish a good online presence and build a following, so why do a newsletter?

Making the decision to do a newsletter requires an honest cost-benefit analysis, i.e., what's the effort and what's the return on that investment? Too many people don't ask that question, and as a result, millions of newsletters are started with the best intentions, but most fizzle and are never seen again.

What's The Point of a Newsletter?

Although doing a newsletter is optional, they provide some unique benefits:

1. Not everyone is on social media every day, but most people check their email. Newsletters give you access to people who are rarely on social media or avoid it altogether. They allow you to add followers or reach people outside the social media bubble.

2. Newsletter platforms such as MailChimp and Hubspot give you mailing list segment management and A/B testing that you don't get on social media without paying for ads. This means you can send different versions of your newsletter to different sub-groups on your mailing list to have more targeted marketing goals. Although you have to pay for newsletter platforms, they're a fraction of the cost of doing paid ads on social media.

3. Newsletters are the "Swiss army knives" of communication. They're an all-in-one vehicle to pack almost anything you want including articles, news about yourself or your company, upcoming events, coupons for your products or services, and so on. In contrast, social media posts and blogs really need to focus on a single thing and don't allow you to aggregate content in one place.

Overall, in the very competitive world of digital marketing, newsletters offer one more tool that can extend your reach and acquire/retain followers for your brand. If you have a lot to say and you want to be aggressive about spreading the word, having a newsletter definitely helps.

What's the "Real" Effort to Do A Newsletter?

On the surface, creating a newsletter isn't rocket science and doesn't seem that difficult. Lots of people do newsletters, and I've done lots of them for my clients. But just because something isn't rocket science doesn't mean it's easy. As with everything else in life, doing something well takes more effort than you think.

Doing a newsletter effectively means you'll need to:

1. Learn how to use an email marketing platform such as HubSpot, Constant Contact, or Mailchimp. If you're good with web applications, this will take a few days so it may not be a big deal. If you're not someone who learns apps quickly, this could be a struggle.

2. Design a newsletter template that is consistent with your brand. There are lots of pre-made templates available to choose from, but you'll need to upgrade them with your brand logo, fonts, and colors. Again, this isn't hard, but if you're not good at design or you don't have a "brand book," that specifies these things, your newsletter might not look professional.

3. Learn how to use more advanced features on the email platform such as A/B testing, list segment management, and analytics tracking (such as click-through rate). You don't have to use these, but your success will be limited if you don't.

4. Develop high-quality content that is inspirational, educational, or useful, and will give people a reason NOT to unsubscribe. High quality content development takes many hours of thought and effort. If you don't have time to do this, or you don't want to pay someone to do it for you, a newsletter will be a waste of time because it will be seen as nothing more than spam.

5. Continuously find ways to get people to sign up for the newsletter. This is the hard part. Nobody actually wants more email, so you need to find compelling ways to get them to sign up; otherwise, there's no one to send the newsletter to. You'll need to either a) use social media to drive them to your website, where you'll present visitors with a newsletter signup, or b) Develop valuable content or special offers and post a call-to-action on social media that allows people to trade their email address in order to download or receive something.

Final Thoughts

Newsletters are a great way to supplement marketing efforts on your website or through social media. However, they require a considerable amount of work to make them effective over the long term, and that takes time away from delivering whatever product or service you provide.

You can try doing one yourself. Down the road, if you find that it's too time-consuming to keep it going or you're not getting enough people to sign up, I'm here to help.


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