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How effective are email newsletters for marketing a business?

Are digital newsletters effective or worth the time and effort? What has been your experience as a small business or marketer?

Top voted answer
Paige Arnof-Fenn

Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO at Mavens & Moguls

Top 10% Marketing

Not at all I'd argue that newsletters are a very effective tool to stay  in front of your audence when done strategically.  It needs to go out on a regular schedule (monthly/biweekly) consistentlty demonstrating your expertise, personality, etc. so that when they need your product or serviice they think of you first.  Relevant newsletters help build a relationship over time so  that by the tiime  they are ready to purchase you have already built a strong foundation for the transaction since they have gotten to know you through your newsletters.  In my experience they work well but err on the side of shorter and more frequent vs long ones which can be hard to read on a mobile device.  

Sonja Ceri

Sonja Ceri, CMO at


If you are producing useful information that people want to read then no - newsletters definitely aren't dead. If you are producing newsletters just for the sake of it then there isn't really much point. You could be putting your time into something which is going to give you better ROI or is higher on your to do list. Write your newsletters from the point of your readers and before you put anything out think would I be interested in this if I were in their position? Is it adding any value or would it make them want to stop what they are doing in their busy lives to read it? Newsletters help keep your brand top of mind for your customers and when they have that problem you can solve they are likely to think of your organisation first. 

Jason Upton

Jason Upton at Resilient Digital

Top 10% Web Development

Well, there is absolutely nothing to suggest newsletters in email marketing is dead, however like any marketing channels they can begin to show indications of poor performance.

As per your business requirements, you ought to carry out marketing techniques best suited to your audience. For some businesses, e-mail marketing and newsletters still work perfectly well.

I think that the strength of any email marketing project is its ability to construct and establish a relationship with your list. Email marketing, performed in the appropriate way enables you to build trust, and loyalty within your contacts.

So addressing your concern: NO newsletters are not dead in email marketing!

After gathering your visitor's e-mail, you have to establish a relationship with them. This will allow you to develop trust, which will in turn help them to do business with you.

My best guidance to accomplish this goal is to produce an efficient follow-up sequence.

As you might know a follow-up series is a set of emails you develop, normally 5 to 6 emails to send out to your subscribers right from the time they registered for your email list.

These emails can be sent out over a couple of days or weeks and even months.

Follow-up sequences gives you the opportunity to communicate your brand story, develop trust and present your product and services to your subscribers.

The very first days of your follow-up are crucial, due to the fact that the attention of the people is higher and they want instant gratification.

For that reason, they’re usually fast to open your emails; click your link, etc

From my experience, an essential principle to adopt in an email marketing project is to nurture your subscribers:

Nurture emails are emails you send to enable you to remain in touch with your subscribers.

This is essential since I would anticipate 50% of your leads are qualified however in fact not yet prepared to buy.

Nurturing emails enables you to get them to the stage where they are possibly ready to ask for a demo or where they can chat with your sales team.

What kind of emails will actually assist you to support your leads?

Well newsletters that inform and educate!

This is the type of email that teaches your leads things they want to understand about your company, brand name or products. It can likewise be to inform them on their discomfort points and how you can help to solve them.

You can send out emails newsletters that allow you to additionally connect with them.

Welcome them to register for your post updates and link with you on your social networks (such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn).

Within the newsletter, you can likewise send regular offers that correspond to your sales cycle.

You will need to figure out the type of offers to send to them based on their interactions and habits.

Examine the topics they read most and create targeted offers to help you move them through the phases.

When people opt-in to your email newsletter, you need to take care of them.

Start with useful and educational interactions.

When done right, follow-up sequences using newsletters will allow you to engage your audience furthermore.

Tom Valcanis

Tom Valcanis, Copywriter at

No, I don't think so. A well-designed newsletter that provides value in and of itself will keep people around. Newsletters should be full of what's written on the tin - news. Not just about your business, but perhaps your industry. Giving customers an opportunity to learn something new will keep you at top of mind. Special offers don't hurt, either!

Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh, Cofounder at

I don’t think newsletters are dead in email marketing, but maybe it has gotten competitive in certain industries. It’s why your newsletter need to have a point of difference instead of doing a run of the mill job.
You must think of newsletters as a long-term game. It’s about understanding the issues your subscribers are facing and helping them out or educating and inspiring them regularly. You’re regularly engaging with them and nurturing them, building credibility and trust in you until they are ready to do business with you or buy your products.
Before you start a newsletter, you need to sit down and hash out a plan that is tailored to your audience. I suggest looking at other newsletters to see what they offer and if there are any gaps you can find.
And always monitor your newsletter’s performance, checking stats such as open rate, click through rate and where your readers are clicking in the email to gauge their interest. MailChimp regularly publishes benchmark numbers for email marketing, and you can see where you are faring to the industry average. For example, if your open rate is below the average of say, 18%, then you know that you need to try something new, such as A/B testing your subject lines.
As long as you monitor your email marketing, then you can decide whether newsletters are worth running for your business or using other email marketing strategies to nurture your audience and get sales or leads. You can try working with an email marketer who has more knowledge and skills to help you out, as I feel that email is an important marketing channel for small businesses. 

Lisa Creffield

Lisa Creffield, Founder at

Newsletters can be a useful reminder or "nudge" to a current or former client, and valuable if you're providing interesting, engaging, relevant and well-curated content.

The key is to not send them too often. Anything more than once a month is overkill, and I would personally recommend quarterly.

Jessica Osborn

Jessica Osborn, Marketing Coach & CEO at

Newsletters in the old sense of the word (an update communication with many stories) aren't getting the views they once got.  Why not? Because unless it's really clear up front what the interesting info is, nobody is opening an email newsletter just to browse the stories.  
So why not change the vision of what a newsletter is for your company? If you're doing newsletters just to stay in touch, think about what you can share with your customers that's of value to them.
In our crowded inbox, simple and clear value is better and will get you more opens. You can send a 'one story' newsletter that will have much more cut through because you can write a punchy subject line. 
One story with one call to action is also more effective for getting responses. 

Shane Van De Vorstenbosch

Shane Van De Vorstenbosch, Director at

I will just focus on the "worth the time and effort" part of your question and suggest you are looking at the question from the wrong angle.

I assume you are making content of some sort. I assume this is good content. 

Now ask yourself how many ways can you leverage this content. Are you sharing it on social media?  Are people being notified that there is new content? Are you sharing snippets? etc etc etc

And as part of it, are you sharing it with people that have already asked you to keep them updated (i.e. your mailing list).

We collate a month's worth of content and send out a summary email with links to the articles. It's quick and easy, and hopefully interesting for our readers. It's just an extension fo what we are already doing.

We don't sit down and try to work out what to write about. We only have to decide what to include, and that's quick and easy.

Leverage your existing content.

Theodora Nikolaou

Theodora Nikolaou at Dora Nikolaou

Not all email marketing is dead. It depends:
- on the list and who is on it. Are they warm leads, or ones that know your brand? Or is it a cold list who doesn't know you?
- the headline/subject of the email - it needs to get their attention
- the body of the email - again will depend who is on the list and giving them the info they need
- well placed graphics, headings and good messaging.