Whether you work for someone, have your own business or just wish to promote yourself, you need to communicate your ideas. You create a website (since your website IS your marketing hub and the key to all your marketing infrastructure – Read: The Website is Still King: Don’t let social media unfocus your brand), and now you have to decide how you want to reach your audience: Blog or Newsletter. Which is better? Let’s take a look!
You have two methodologies here: push and pull. Push marketing is when you are sending your content directly to people – you are pushing it towards them. Pull marketing is when you are making your message available to be found by interested parties and they choose whether to read it; hence it’s pulling them toward you. Push is aggressive; pull is passive.
Many people (I find consultants and authors fall into this statement) aren’t aggressive, because it’s something they don’t like; hence they don’t want to be associated with it and be labeled a pest. However, I submit this is shortsighted. You see, push marketing is done to people who’ve asked to receive your content by subscribing – they agreed to be pushed.
Now, they did NOT ask to be bombarded with nothing but sales notices and useless information; they requested your newsletter because you promised valuable content. Regardless of which method you aspire to, you must have a value-for-value relationship. They must receive value (substance) they can use, whether they choose to buy from you or not. The value you receive is their email address to be able to continue the conversation, since most people never buy anything on the first visit (Read: Do Your Visitors See Value in Your Website?)
With that said, a newsletter IS where you promote and ask people to buy, and it’s understood and expected. How you do it (and how often) will determine whether people become frustrated and unsubscribe, or appreciate being notified. When it comes to marketing and sales, email (the newsletter) rules.
Conversely, a blog is NOT about selling. Those who choose to use it that way wonder why people don’t subscribe, comment or share. A blog is about informing, helping and entertaining, and takes on many different forms (written, video and audio). Your blog is your opinion editorial page on your website, just like a newspaper. If I were reading the Tampa Bay Times and their OpEd page was filled with advertorials (fake stories that are really advertising in disguise), I’d move on and stop reading. However, I don’t get offended or annoyed by the ads on the sidebar or facing page. That’s expected. The same applies to your website. Your blog does the pulling, your website does the selling (Read: What Makes a Good Website?)
The best approach is a combination of both. Why? One is for delivering your message to an existing audience, the other is to grow your audience – and they work together.
When you share your blog through social media, StumbleUpon, article banks and other possible outlets, you post a headline, image with an extract and a link to read it in the ONLY place it should be – your website. It drives traffic, helps with SEO (search engine optimization) and builds credibility and trust.
This is where your newsletter takes over. The number one goal of a website is to capture the identity of the person who’s visiting, so you can build a database you own for marketing purposes. If your website is done properly, it’ll have strategic and tactical thinking in the design, to get your visitor to subscribe. You do this by providing an amazing user experience, quality and valuable information, and a bribe – something for subscribing (I don’t like leaving anything to chance). This could be a report, whitepaper, PowerPoint, video, eBook… whatever.
However, if you worked with an experienced marketer and designer (not just a designer), your newsletter will be the vehicle that feeds your sales pipeline. You see, when they subscribe, your newsletter sends them a welcome letter with their freebie. Then it follows up 3 days to a week later with a nurturing campaign. A nurturing campaign is a series of newsletters that follow, at strategic intervals, that build on each other to:
This is known as a funnel. You can have very elaborate funnels, with algorithms that choose different messages based on what they clicked on last, or simple ones – but you want a funnel.
Besides the funnel, the newsletter is also how you share your blog articles with your subscribers, along with calls-to-action for whatever you’re promoting. Adding testimonials for third-party credibility, and coupons or limited-time discounts adds more impact and increases the possibility of a sale or opening a conversation.
So there you have it. You want to be using both: a blog and a newsletter, for a more robust eMarketing system. If you do this, are consistent and strive to provide valuable content, no fluff, you will see the gains come in.