The term newsletter refers to a form of communication sent by business owners to people who have indicated an interest in their products or services. Email is the most commonly used method of sending new information to potential customers because they have given their email address when they requested the newsletter. Business owners can take advantage of auto-responders to send out a preprogrammed sequence of marketing messages to potential customers who have signed up to receive them.
Unlike newspapers that cover a wide range of topics and are aimed at the general population newsletters are usually very narrowly focused on a particular topic. The audience is receiving the publication because they have indicated their interest in the subject matter by requesting it which makes newsletters particularly effective for niche marketing. A successful newsletter is designed to build a long term relationship with the subscriber by providing them with new and useful information. The better and more relevant the content of a newsletter is then the more likely it is that its author will be recognised as an expert in a particular niche.
Marketers have to start a relationship with potential customers by getting people to sign up to receive the newsletter in the first place. This is usually accomplished by a landing page with a form for people to enter their name and email address. These pages are sometimes known as “squeeze” pages and often offer a free gift such as an e-book to encourage people to sign up. Marketers call this process of capturing names and email addresses “list building” because they are compiling a list of people who are interested in the subject area and by subscribing to a newsletter they have given the publisher permission to communicate with them. The list of subscribers is a valuable commodity because marketers can also send emails to the people on it with links to blog posts or other promotional offers.
Once someone has subscribed to a newsletter it is important to send them regular reports of anything new or interesting about the subject of interest. Newsletters need to be informative and useful because people are unlikely to remain subscribers if they are just being bombarded with advertising copy. Newsletters are usually designed to engage with the audience to maintain their interest over time rather than make a direct sales pitch. They work like the free pdf or e-book and marketers have known for a long time that people are more likely to buy something if they have already accepted a gift from them. Dr Robert B. Cialdini explains this in more detail in his book entitled “Influence, the psychology of persuasion”. There he describes the process of reciprocation by which people feel obligated to return a favour however small. By giving something valuable in advance and establishing their credibility in their niche the newsletter writer can then attempt to promote an offer to the subscribers who are already known to be interested in similar things. An example might be a set of DVD’s or videos about the subject matter that would offer a greater and more valuable experience than a newsletter would and one which people would be willing to pay for.
Under the new General Data Protection Regulations that became law in the E.U. on the 25th May 2018 business owners have to have permission to send communications like newsletters to people. If a business or any other organisation for that matter holds someone else’s personal details they need to ensure that those details are secure. People have a right to know which details are being held and with whom they are being shared. They can also request that personal information such as names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses is deleted.
This means that anyone sending out a newsletter must ensure that the recipients can unsubscribe from the mailing at any time and can contact the sender for information about removing their personal details. Newsletters are a great way to establish authority in a niche and communicate with an interested audience but it is essential to have their permission to send them.