May 07, 2012, 7:57 AM — Marketing gurus pushed email newsletters hard back in the days before social networking. If you believe everything you read online these days, you'd think that Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other Web 2.0 services have left such vehicles in the virtual dust. Not so. Nor has the scourge of spam destroyed newsletters' effectiveness. Email marketing still achieves huge results--and pairing an effective email newsletter with a social media campaign can snag many more customers for your business than relying on social media alone.
Perhaps the best time to evaluate consumer behavior is during the holiday shopping season, when everyone is looking for the best bargains. In an opinion survey following the most recent season, conducted by the market-research firm Crowd Science, print and email newsletters smacked down Facebook and Twitter when it came to wooing online shoppers.
Survey respondents named email newsletters and notifications as their third-favorite means of discovering what a merchant had to offer, behind a direct visit to a company's website (in which case you've likely already earned the consumer's loyalty) and print materials (which are considerably more expensive to produce and send). By contrast, Facebook was the favorite of just 3% of holiday shoppers surveyed; Twitter, a measly 1%.
Email newsletter services don't ignore the presence of social media; nearly all options on the market integrate email newsletter campaigns with your social media presence. Most offer social media monitoring tools, such as VerticalResponse's Roost, which lets you manage your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn campaigns from a single tool.
The Point of an Email Newsletter
Email newsletters perform one major function: reminding potential clients that you're here, waiting for their business. While it is a good idea to include helpful tips and company news in your newsletter, you should send each newsletter out with some kind of promotion tied to one of your products or services, such as a promo code or a coupon. This action will help you track the effectiveness of each email newsletter campaign. Benchmark Email, an email newsletter service provider, says that the frequency depends entirely on your business, but the firm recommends sending no fewer than two every month.