email flying envelope

Would Your Business Benefit From Sending An Email Newsletter?

Should Your Small Business Have An Email Newsletter?

TL;DR – Yes.

Okay, me just telling you “yes” isn’t going to cut it. How about this: in 2014, email marketing had a 4300% return on investment, double any other channel according to the Direct Marketing Association.

in 2014, email had a 4300% return on investment

Well, that’s pretty huge. How about a few more:

  • The number one activity online is – email
  • The number one activity on mobile is – email
  • Email is nearly 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring customers. (McKinsey & Company)
  • 95% of those who opt into email messages from brands find these messages somewhat or very useful. (Salesforce)

Christopher Lester of Emma presented some of these statistics at Digital Summit 15.

What does this tell us? People are greatly exaggerating the death of email. People do still use it, and it does still give businesses results.

Email Service Providers

So now that you are convinced, what’s next? You’ll need an email service provider (ESP). Most email service providers give you opt-in forms you can use on your website and your social media channels, they provide templates for building your email newsletter, they handle the sending of the email, and they manage housekeeping like unsubscribes.

There are many different ESPs out there from the very simple to the big enterprise solutions. For a small business just starting out sending email newsletters, we like MailChimp. It is easy to use, has loads of tutorials to help you on your way and is free for up to 2,000 list members. And if you want to upgrade, they do have more advanced features like auto-responders, and it is still reasonably priced.

While we’ve tried a few different ESPs, we certainly haven’t tried them all. Zapier gives an excellent rundown of the top 25 ESPs to help you make an informed decision based on your company’s needs.

email inbox example showing email newsletter subscriptions

At the very least, most people have a free email account they use when companies as for their email.

Email Newsletter Content

Now that you know how to email your customers, you need to know what to email them. It’ll depend on what type of business you have and your target audience. Here are a few ideas. You’ll notice some crossover with the list of blog topic ideas I posted here.

  • Coupons or special offers – If you use this as a lure for people to sign up, don’t forget to pay it off!
  • Industry news – weekly or monthly curation of industry news, depending on how fast your industry changes
  • Your blog post – send out links to your latest or most popular recent blog posts
  • Seasonal content – Your customers might just thank you for reminding them about Mother’s Day a week out. Consider which holidays might be relevant to your business and your customers and get them on your newsletter schedule. Don’t forget seasons and weather changes.
  • Offer to help – Take a mini survey. Ask your customers if there is any particular information they would like to see from you.
  • FAQ – Similar to above, answer a frequently asked question. You can either pull these from the FAQ on your website or use them to start to build one.
  • Event calendar – Events where customers can find you or that are simply of interest to your community.
  • Contests – Exclusive contests for subscribers or give them an additional chance to enter.
  • Presale – Give loyal newsletter subscribers the first chance at coveted new products

Remember, you can combine several of these elements into one email newsletter. For example, you might send a newsletter with your latest blog post, three industry stories, and a product link. Think about the newsletters you are subscribed to, why you open them and what you like most about them.

Additional Email Newsletter Resources

Need a little more? Here are some links to help you get ideas of how to develop your email newsletter.

That should be plenty to get you started! So, what’s stopping you from emailing your customers?


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Laura Nunemaker

15+ years experience in email marketing, social media, and content development. Former retail bakery owner. Digital nomad. Loves cycling & scuba diving. Vegan.