Email newsletters have long been a staple of online marketing because of their proven ability to get the attention of readers, grow brand awareness and generate sales. However, since the rise of social media, email has increasingly had to compete for scarce marketing resources with an ever-expanding list of options available to connect businesses with potential customers online.

Today, many businesses tend to focus more on social media and paid advertising. According to a 2016 Polar research paper The Business of Branded Content, only 11% of premium publishers said they use email and newsletters to promote branded content. The majority use native ads to drive traffic to branded content, three out of four use paid distribution and 42% use social media.

Many argue that newsletters don’t have the word-of-mouth power and shareability of social media or blog content. But those who totally dismiss newsletters as a thing of the past could be missing out. Big time. Here’s why:

Some Facts About Newsletters

According to a 2016 Econsultancy report, three-quarters of companies agree that email newsletters offer an “excellent” to “good” return on investment. Businesses are also six times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than from a tweet.

A Marketing Sherpa study showed that 72% of people actually prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media. What’s more, 66% of consumers have made an online purchase as a result of an email marketing message, according to the Data and Marketing Association.

The Mighty Email

There are many reasons why email marketing has remained one of the most powerful ways to market. For businesses on a tight budget, it’s cost-effective and can be highly targeted. From your email list, you can segment your contacts into specific groups based on a range of criteria such as age, location, gender and lead status.

It’s also measurable. With the right software – which is easily accessible – you can monitor your email open rates, click-through rates, retention rates and more. With this information, you can learn what your audience really wants and tailor your content to improve future email campaigns.

Unlike a social media post or an online ad, there’s something more personal about an email. When you have an important announcement to make, such as the release of a new product, no other medium has quite the same power. The more personal nature of emails boosts their impact with your company message sitting right alongside messages from friends and family.

Meet Your Content Goals

Newsletters have the potential of turning casual readers into loyal followers of your brand. Ultimately, they improve your credibility. Sharing useful information will help establish you as an expert within your industry and the more that people see you as an expert, the more they’ll trust your brand.

If you’re looking to drive conversions – no matter your marketing goals – newsletters are the perfect vehicle for encouraging users to take action quickly. For example, an email that promotes the last day of a sale is likely to encourage click-throughs to your website and boost sales.

Importantly, you can make repeated contact with people right in their mailbox whereas social media posts are easily missed. And when you give people great content, they’ll actually start to look forward to your messages.

Here are a few more things you can achieve with targeted newsletters:

  • Educate customers about your business, including its products and services.
  • Offer incentives, such as product discounts, product upgrades or free trials.
  • Prepare customers for upcoming offers.
  • Cross-sell products and encourage repeat purchases.
  • Build your social media following by directing customers to your social channels.
  • Promote new content with a sample extract and a link.

The Bottom Line

Newsletters may not be new or cutting edge, but you can use them to achieve many different things. For nurturing leads, increasing brand awareness and retaining customers, there’s nothing quite like them.

Far from dying out, the most successful businesses still use emails as a part of their content marketing strategy. In fact, the global total number of email accounts is predicted to grow 26% by 2019, reaching 5.59 billion. This presents a huge opportunity for businesses to connect with consumers on a more personal level.