Way back in 1982 when I decided to major in advertising, I thought I’d be an advertising copywriter and work for a big-time agency on high-profile campaigns for major brands. Basically, I envisioned myself as Don Draper before the iconic Mad Mencharter was dreamed up.
Things didn’t quite turn out that way. I got my advertising degree but never made it to an ad agency, instead landing a job with a newsletter publishing company. No regrets, though — this job laid the foundation and provided the training for what I’m doing today: creating B2B and B2C content for all different kinds of businesses and organizations.
The Evolution of Advertising
I was thinking recently about how much advertising has changed since the 1980s. I remember devouring Ogilvy on Advertising, which is considered one of the classic books about advertising strategy, during my senior year of college in 1985.
While many of the big-picture concepts and strategies in the book hold up well after more than 30 years, advertising and marketing tactics themselves have changed drastically. Almost all advertising back then was either print or broadcast media.
Today, the Internet has opened up a plethora of new digital advertising and marketing opportunities for businesses. These range from search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising to social media, affiliate and content marketing.
Are E-newsletters Still Effective?
One online marketing strategy that seems to have fallen by the wayside a little bit recently is electronic newsletters. These were all the rage in the late 1990s and early 2000s when using email became common for most people.
But email overload and too much spam have led many marketers to conclude that e-newsletters aren’t as effective as they used to be. Instead, they’ve shifted their marketing focus and dollars to other digital strategies, especially social media marketing.
I strongly disagree with this kind of thinking. When executed well, e-newsletters remain a highly effective digital marketing strategy.
A recent New York Times article made this point well. As the author put it, “Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos.”
The NYT article continues: “At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to. Publishers seeking to stick out of the clutter have found both traction and a kind of intimacy in consumers’ inboxes.”
Benefits of E-newsletters
Of course, there may be a place for some or all of the digital tactics and strategies listed here in your marketing plan. But don’t forget about the many potential benefits of e-newsletters as well. For example:
• You have a receptive audience. Subscribers to your e-newsletter have specifically asked to receive your content. They are presumably interested in what you have to say, assuming that your content is well-produced and not too self-serving.
• You can build an ongoing relationship with your audience. This is probably the biggest benefit of email marketing. By consistently publishing a high-quality e-newsletter that contains value-added content, you will establish a solid relationship and build trust with customers and prospects. This can open the door to sales opportunities when the time is right.
• You control the message. You get to determine the tone and content of each newsletter that goes out. This will vary — sometimes from one issue to the next — depending on your sales and marketing goals.
• You can position yourself and your organization as a subject matter expert. When you offer valuable insights, observations, tips and advice in your e-newsletter, your readers will start to view you as an industry thought leader and go-to resource for help in solving their problems.
Getting the Mix Right
There’s no doubt that the Internet has added a whole new dimension to advertisers’ and marketers’ jobs today compared to 30 years ago. Your biggest challenge is settling on the right mix of traditional (print and broadcast) and digital marketing tools and tactics
As you plan your digital marketing strategies, don’t neglect email marketing. Next month, I’ll share some tips for creating better e-newsletters.