BUSINESS

February 9, 2022

Ross Henderson

Ross is an executive-level business analyst and copywriter.

Reinventing Your Newsletter Marketing Strategy

I recently got talking to a business that made me realize that a lot of brands are approaching their newsletter marketing strategy the wrong way. Newsletters are a powerful tool: they enable businesses to directly own their relationships with customers and prospects, and directly connect with them on their own terms, not on Google or Facebook’s terms. When you send a newsletter, you control the message, presentation, timing, and delivery mechanism: something that can’t be said for a lot of other marketing touchpoints. 

Most companies send some form of newsletter. After all, an opt-in email list is far too valuable a marketing asset to waste, so it makes sense to send something every month to keep the list semi warm. But a lot of the time, not much thought and care goes into what is sent, and the end result can be pretty uninspiring.

We all know the type of newsletter I’m talking about – a lukewarm recap of the last month’s blog articles, social media posts, and new product launches. The type of newsletter that you rarely open, think about unsubscribing from, and often just delete without reading. There’s probably a few of them in your inbox just now: I know I have them in mine. 

Anyway, back to this business I was talking to. During the early months of the pandemic, they set up a Substack newsletter that covers a niche but fairly sizable industry. In the past 18 months, they’ve gone from 0 to 30,000 subscribers, with open rates for their weekly newsletter topping 35% and a loyal, ever-growing army of subscribers. 

Recently, they started to monetize the newsletter, launching a niche jobs board for their industry. Launching a new product, or even business, is a lot easier when you’ve got a built-in audience of tens of thousands of highly relevant people that already trust and support you. 

All of a sudden, this little newsletter side project was doing thousands of dollars in revenue. It’s also a great advertising platform: specialized, niche newsletters like this command premium prices from advertisers, opening up the door to even more revenue. 

So, hey – great for them; I’m excited to see where they go. But what about your business – what can you learn from this approach? Let’s break it down. 

A Newsletter Can Be A Standalone Entity

Niche newsletters are a powerful tool. They shape the conversational narrative in industries, open up all kinds of interesting opportunities, and don’t cost much to run. And as a consequence, a lot of businesses, big and small, are starting to acquire newsletters. 

There are all kinds of examples of this out there: Hubspot acquired The Hustle last year – a daily business newsletter with more than 1.5million subscribers. On the smaller end of the scale? This newsletter, MarketerCrew, which dispenses bite-sized marketing lessons weekly to 3,000 people, sold for $15k last year. If you run a marketing agency, that could have been a great buy for access to potential clients, partners, and talent. 

Starting from scratch can be hard, but if you’re looking for a sustainable investment, consider looking for niche newsletters in your industry and exploring partnerships, or even acquisitions. 

A Consistent Drumbeat Is Important

The best newsletters are part of a reader’s routine. That’s why so many are sent early in the morning: every day, I read Morning Brew as I drink my first cup of coffee. If you’re sending monthly newsletters, it’s unlikely that you’re going to have that same drumbeat, and that means less readers, and less engagement. 

Publish consistently, and publish at the same time. You want your readers to expect your newsletter, and be excited to read it and learn something new. That means that the quality of what you share is important, and shouldn’t necessarily be driven solely by what’s going on in your business – don’t be afraid to look outside the box for other content. 

Be an Aggregator of Great Content

You don’t have to create every single piece of content in your newsletter yourself. It’s totally fine, and often highly beneficial, to share and amplify high-quality content from elsewhere. There’s a ton of great content out there, but it’s not always easy for readers to find it, and that’s where your opportunity lies.

If you see a piece of great content that you think adds value to your readers, summarize it in your newsletter and include a link. Not only will your readers be grateful, but you might also open up interesting opportunities to partner with other content creators within your niche.

Use the Right Software

Newsletter software has exploded in recent years, with platforms like Substack and Revue gaining huge popularity. Running a newsletter effectively demands the right tools. Don’t try to run your newsletter on the same software as you run your transactional marketing emails, or your automated sales outreach campaigns. 

Using newsletter software gives you access to the tools and insights you need to effectively manage, operate, and grow your newsletter. That means analytics that go beyond open rates, sharing tools that help you get more subscribers, and the ability to run split tests on different kinds of content to learn what works best for your audience. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Your newsletter, like much of your marketing stack, should be a place for you to constantly test, learn, and optimize. Experiment with different types of content – include guest posts, try out native ads for your products, and test out different Calls to Action (CTA). 

Over time, you’ll build an understanding of how you can operationalize your newsletter to provide significant value not only to your readers, but also to your business. By constantly testing and refining, you’ll be committing to getting gradually better over time, an approach that compounds your results.

Get Started with Newsletter Marketing Today

Like many things, the hardest part of newsletter marketing can be getting started. But once you start to see traction, you’ll quickly realize how valuable a meaningful, thoughtful newsletter can be for your business. 

Need some help figuring out the content strategy for your newsletter, or need someone to write it for you? The team at Hire a Writer has you covered. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.


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