A common crossroad is whether to have a blog or a newsletter for small businesses. There are enough marketing channels sucking up time (hello social media or dare we say AdWords). There is a lot of debate from marketers about using one or the other, and sometimes none at all.
Both a blog and newsletter have different formats and purposes. While they vary greatly, there is a sweet spot in which they can support each other. So which is better for your business? Are they really worth your time? Let’s find out.
Benefits of a Newsletter For Small Businesses
Newsletters are direct from you to your audience. The relationship you create via newsletters is the biggest benefit of this form of communication. This direct line creates trust and delivers a sense of exclusivity for your loyal fans. The next benefit to newsletters is that you control who you send to, meaning you can segment and highly target your messaging. This is a great opportunity for targeting promotions and sending detailed information. Bonus, you gain valuable analytics to track how much your links are clicked and when your newsletter emails are opened.
Think of it this way: newsletters are a way of serving information to people who have genuine interest in your brand, rather than posting something in hopes it gets noticed. You get to share direct eductionational info, entertain them with your businesses’ uniqueness, and make sure your audiences know the latest info about you.
The sum it up, the biggest benefits of an email newsletter are:
- Building trust
- Strengthening the brand/client relationship
- Continuing communication with interested buyers
- The power to segment lists & tailor messaging
- Ease of analytics and measuring results
- Ability to test your messaging
“Email has an ability many channels dont: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale” – Claudiu Murariu
Benefits of a Business Blog
Marketing campaigns and professional messaging can be exhausting. That’s one of the best things about a blog: you can keep things extra causal (if you want to!). Whether you like to keep things formal or conversational, blogs allow you to truly express yourself as a business. This is where it’s safe to get a little chatty and talk about your business like you would to a friend.
The causal and public stance of a blog allows it to be viewable by anyone. This makes blog a great channel to reach new people. Blogs are easily shareable, especially on social media. It’s smart to promote community discussion and to open yourself to new groups to target. On the topic of sharing blogs, they’re also highly searchable. Blogs help search engines index you, making it easier for people to find you giving you a little SEO boost.
Wrapping it all together, these are our best reasons for hosting a blog:
- Freedom to keep things casual
- Promote discussion and comments
- Easy to share on social media
- Increases SEO
- Public gateway for people to discover your brand
The Biggest Differences
The differences are starting to show, but let’s make sure they are clear. Instead of casting a blogging net of “Hey Everyone Look at This!” newsletters are saying “Hey Friends, Here’s Something For You!” One keeps you in the minds of those interested while one makes you viewable by prospective customers. Blogs are focused more on prospects and newsletters are focused on current customers.
Technical details may adjust your consideration for one or the other. Blogs can be viewed forever and even updated in the future. This can help with your reach, website ranking, and let you repurpose old content. On the flip side, newsletters are only seen when sent and you can’t make any changes once you hit “send.” They also have (almost) no effect on SEO and are more difficult to share past an inbox. However, while blogs reach new people, you have no insights into who they are or what they’re interested in. Simply; blogs sit on your website for prospects and newsletters sit in your customer’s inboxes.
Think of Your Relationships
So it’s decision time. Consider the relationships you want to strengthen. Which part of your sales funnel needs more help: prospecting or building? They take about the same amount of time to maintain, so don’t let that be a factor. Think of what interaction will best serve your business, attracting with a blog or establishing a more long-term relationship with a newsletter?
Most of you will probably say “both!” But who can blame you? It will take more time and dedication to commit to both marketing streams, but they can support each other through this tedious process. Newsletters are a great way to drive all your content including advertising your blog posts. To buff out your blog’s content, consider writing a short blog series, including a special guest blog, or share other popular articles that are relevant to your lists. Sharing personal and informative content on your blog only make your newsletter stronger.
Connecting Your Blog To Your Newsletter
In your blogs you can have call-to-actions to support your newsletter. Use your blog to convert those more casual conversationalists into customers. If your blog shows personality with “shareworthy” information, prospects may want to learn more from you. This make them an easy sign up for your newsletter. Blogs should give a peak into your services and inner circle leading to more email sign-ups. While one may be better than the other for your business right now, combining them can be very powerful. Both blogs and newsletters are strong channels to increase your conversions and maintain healthy relationships with your customers.
Whichever route you choose to take, it’s vitally important to take some time to strategize. Which audience will this go to? What platform is best to send out and schedule this content? What content is most appropriate for each channel? Set aside some time each month to make a quick content calendar to keep you on track, record your future ideas and track your results.
Personalisation – it is not about first/last name. It’s about relevant content.
Attracting vs Interacting With Your Customers
Breaking down the differences between blogs and newsletters isn’t really about their capabilities, but rather between whom you wish to speak to. While you may want to choose one over the other to save time, it may be more dynamic and fruitful if you put energy toward both. If you find yourself at this fork in the road, good luck and let us know how it goes.