You don’t have to look far online to find an example of a branded newsletter. Many large and small businesses and content creators are capitalizing on this concept, which might leave you wondering: should you brand your newsletter, too? In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of having a branded newsletter for your business and look at some examples along the way.
The benefits of email marketing
Before we dive in, I’d like to speak a bit more broadly to the benefits of email marketing. If you’re already an email marketing pro, feel free to skip this section.
Email marketing is one of the rare forms of marketing that is truly enduring. Social media platforms come and go, and long-form content like blogs, podcasts, and YouTube are getting more saturated by the day. Yet, newsletters give you a direct line of contact to your audience. And it’s unlikely that people will stop using email any time soon, given how ingrained it is in both our work and personal lives.
Research has shown that 99% of email users check their inbox daily. Even more compelling is the fact that over half of email users prefer to be contacted by brands via email. It’s no wonder that email marketing is consistently ranked the most important channel for content distribution among both B2B and B2C businesses.
In a nutshell, here are some of the key benefits of email marketing and why you should consider it as part of your marketing strategy:
- Emails allow you to communicate with your audience directly.
- Most email marketing platforms allow you to segment your audience and personalize your emails, which can lead to higher conversions.
- Most consumers require multiple touchpoints with a brand before they’ll make a purchase; email is a great way to stay top of mind for them.
Next, we’ll explore some of the different ways you can use email marketing for your business.
The different types of newsletters
There are many different ways to implement email marketing in your business. The tricky part is figuring out which method works best for you and your audience.
Here are a few different types of newsletters you could send to your audience and some of the pros and cons of each.
Blog post newsletters
This is the simplest type of newsletter, and therefore, a great starting point for anyone who is short on time or looking to just dip their toes into email marketing. The blog post newsletter involves pasting your blog post into the body of your email. That’s it. If your posts are long, you could paste half into the email and then link to your blog. Either way, this method should take no more than a few minutes to create once your blog post has been published.
The downside of the blog post newsletter is that it can be less engaging than other types of emails. Most people probably aren’t checking their inbox in the morning with the intent of reading blog posts. Instead, they’re going to skim, unless the topic is particularly interesting to them. That said, it’s worthwhile if it gets you in the habit of sending regular emails.
Seth Godin is just one example of a popular marketer who sends out a newsletter with each blog post he publishes.
If you have the time and energy to put a bit more effort into your emails, consider the “summary newsletter.” The aim of this type of newsletter is to share skim-able content on a variety of curated topics. Ideally, you would mostly link to content on your own platforms, such as your blog, social media, podcast, videos, etc., but you could also throw in links to helpful content from other creators.
A great example of the summary newsletter is from The Social Bungalow. They have a branded newsletter called “The Goods,” and each week they deliver one value-packed newsletter with a variety of resources to explore.
Image source: The Social Bungalow
This type of newsletter requires a bit more effort than the other types, but it can be worthwhile if done well. The main difference between the “sequential newsletter” and other types of newsletters is that it allows you to go deeper into a specific topic. Essentially, you break down a specific topic over a series of 4-5 sequential emails. This format is ideal for covering step-by-step processes in a non-overwhelming way.
For an example of a sequential newsletter, check out the email series I sent out on the topic of rebranding a local business:
The aim of this series was to give my audience a closer look at what my branding process looks like. However, this is just one example, and there are many different ways you could implement this format for your own business.
Another example of a brand that offers this type of newsletter (which I love) is Wandering Aimfully. Their aptly-titled newsletter, Wandering Weekly, offers multiple series throughout the year on topics that their subscribers get to vote on.
Image source: Wandering Aimfully
How to brand your newsletter
Now that we’ve covered why email marketing is beneficial and reviewed a few different ways you could implement it for your business, let’s discuss how and why to brand your newsletter.
The primary reason to consider branding your newsletter is to incentivize people to opt in. Which newsletter opt-in sounds more compelling to you: “Join my newsletter for weekly updates” or “Get The Goods, a once weekly free online business ted-talk delivered directly to your inbox” (using The Social Bungalow as an example again)?
Giving your newsletter a name, in other words branding your newsletter, gives it more credibility. It sounds like a unique, thought-out entity, as opposed to a generic newsletter no different from what thousands of other brands are doing.
Another benefit of branding your newsletter is that it makes it more memorable and recognizable. When you see “The Goods” land in your inbox week after week, you come to expect it. In other words, you’re not scratching your head, wondering how this company got your email and why they’re emailing you.
Without further ado, let’s go over the four steps you can take to brand your newsletter.
1. Choose a name
Part one of branding your newsletter is a no-brainer. You have to give it a name. This can feel hard, but the key is to keep it short and simple. If you can use alliteration (see Wandering Weekly above or Krista Walsh’s Midweek Missive) or sneak in a brand word (like I did for the The Luxe Entrepreneur), all the better.
2. Decide on your email format
Above, we covered a few different popular newsletter formats. For a branded newsletter, consistency is the name of the game. Which format will you prioritize?
If you’re unsure, choose whichever one you can be the most consistent with given your current bandwidth for email marketing.
3. Write your opt-in copy
The opt-in copy for your branded newsletter is what’s going to determine whether people subscribe or not. No pressure, right? Keep the copy short (two sentences max) and focus on the benefits for your audience. At this point, they don’t really care what newsletter format you use or what’s included; they care about how it’s going to improve their life or business.
4. Create an email template
Finally, you’ll want to create a newsletter template that you can repurpose for every email in order to keep them consistent. Pretty much every email marketing platform offers templates you can work with, but my personal favorite for both aesthetics and ease of use is Flodesk.
You can read my full review of Flodesk here.
Is a branded newsletter right for you?
In summary, here are the key benefits of creating a branded newsletter for your business:
- It makes your newsletter stand out and sound more compelling to your audience;
- It gives your brand more credibility;
- It’s easier to be consistent with email marketing if you have a repeatable format and template to use;
- It makes your emails more recognizable so your audience won’t forget who you are and why you’re emailing them.
Clearly, there are a lot of pros to using this email strategy. Are there any cons?
Personally, I don’t think there are any downsides to a branded newsletter. One question you may have, however, is how does it compare to a lead magnet?
As I’ve talked about before, lead magnets are a really effective way to grow your email list. And in fact, many businesses, mine included, use both lead magnets and branded newsletters. However, they serve slightly different purposes. People who download a lead magnet are looking for (free) help with a specific topic, whereas newsletter subscribers are more generally interested in learning from your brand. Depending on your unique business, one type of subscriber could be more relevant for you over the other.
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