What do you do, exactly? If you own or work for a marketing agency, chances are you’ve had to field that question a handful of times. Most people get the basics of marketing work, but, when it comes to the range of services and areas of focus of your agency, it is important to continuously educate your audience. The best way to do that is to consistently showcase your expertise in those areas.
How do you make sure your marketing agency is seen as a trusted expert across all of the topics that are key to your business?
This is where investing in an email newsletter makes sense. Granted, we here at home-dev.rasa.io are super into email newsletters. We spend a lot of time thinking about how to make newsletters smarter and better. But, done thoughtfully, newsletters are an effective way for marketing agencies of all sizes to both stay in touch with clients and share their range of expertise on a regular basis. Hear us out.
Why does my marketing agency need an email newsletter?
Marketing campaigns are cyclical by nature. The planning stages of a marketing campaign are filled with calls, emails and in-person meetings as your team assesses client needs and sets a plan in place. Those interactions happen less frequently once the plan is up and running, or if a client decides to reel back its spending. As a result, client interactions are at a high point at specific points in the year, while opportunities for consistent year-round communication are fewer.
Marketing is also a fast-changing space. Agencies are increasingly adding new services to their suite, from social media and content marketing, to interactive services, like websites, search engine optimization and email marketing. Often clients are only aware of a small slice of those services. How do you introduce clients to other services without it sounding like a sales pitch?
That’s where email newsletters come in. Newsletters offer a creative, affordable and effective way to stay connected with clients year-round and strengthen content marketing around your agency’s full suite of services.
Why invest in an email newsletter for your marketing agency now? Isn’t an email newsletter more 2000 than 2020? Yes, newsletters have been around for a while. In a way, that’s what makes them so compelling. We’re seeing brands embrace email newsletters yet again as investment in content marketing surges.
Consider this. Most everyone has an email address these days (just over 4 billion of us worldwide, if you’re counting) and email continues to grow in use. After all, you need an email to log into a social media account, not the other way around.
Surveys show that consumers still prefer email outreach when being contacted by brands. In a 2017 Campaign Monitor survey, 66% of respondents ranked email as their preferred method of communication from retail brands, followed by direct mail at a distant 26%. To add to that, email newsletters (and email marketing, in general) gives you a level of ownership that you just don’t get with other marketing channels such as social media. Your email list belongs to you. You built it. It’s yours.
Another plus: Email is easy to read on-the-go using a mobile device. As of 2019, mobile devices accounted for nearly half of all website views, according to Statista. It’s important to meet clients where they are, and, increasingly, that’s on their phones.
It’s important to note that email newsletters are evolving. That’s because technology, ranging from simple GIFs to artificial intelligence (like what we do here at home-dev.rasa.io), is making it easier to build smarter, more personalized email newsletters. More personalized means more meaningful.
If the goal is to maintain a direct conversation with your audience online and across devices, email newsletters remain one of the more effective tools out there.
How should my agency start an email newsletter?
If you already have an email list of customers, congrats! You have a built-in audience who wouldn’t mind hearing from you in a newsletter format. If you don’t, getting started is as simple as asking. Ask new and existing clients if you could email them a weekly newsletter with useful information on topics like branding, paid acquisition, SEO, social media marketing and public relations. Like most content marketing, the idea is to share useful information, not sales pitches or promotions.
Grow your reach by asking people on your email list to share the newsletter with friends and family if they find it useful. Send out surveys that help you home in on the topics your subscribers care most about.
Other ideas for growing your email newsletter list include:
- Adding a newsletter signup pop-up or call-to-action on your website homepage;
- Bringing a tablet along for in-person events or meetings to gather emails during registration;
- Adding a link to your newsletter landing page to your email signature; and
- Incorporating a newsletter signup option in webinar registrations.
What should a marketing agency talk about in an email newsletter?
Marketing agencies work hard to elevate client brands and spread word about their client’s achievements and services. As a result, many agencies take the same approach with their own marketing. Using an email newsletter to tout agency awards or client case studies is fine in moderation, but the overriding emphasis should always be on sharing useful information.
An email newsletter is, first and foremost, about building relationships with people. When you do share achievements, consider taking a “humble-brag” approach in your copywriting.
Think of your newsletter as a place to share topics your audience is most interested in when it comes to growing their brand over the long-term, rather than the core topics you discuss as part of their day-to-day strategy. This approach makes your newsletter useful to existing clients and also broad enough to be relevant to potential clients. You want your agency (or perhaps a link to your agency’s email newsletter) to come up when a client or someone they know is looking for marketing expertise.
Don’t underestimate the treasure trove of knowledge you bring to the table as a marketer. Whether your agency is large or small, a key part of marketing work is staying on top of the trends that affect your clients, from branding and interactive media to media buying, social media and public relations. Make it a point to share expert context on key marketing topics and trends, without going too far into the weeds.
Take a breath. That doesn’t mean that you need to sit down and start typing out dozens of blog posts and guides with marketing dos and don’ts for your clients. There’s already a giant pool of useful content available online to help your clients plan and learn. Your clients need you to find it, gather it and share it with them, in addition to providing helpful context. The email newsletter format lends itself well to this type of creative information sharing.
As you do your own reading, look out for content that does a good job at explaining big-picture trends that could guide the way your clients think about marketing their business. Check out our content curation guide to audit your agency’s existing content curation workflow and see tips for improving how you gather useful information.
For inspiration, take a look at what other digital marketing brands are doing with their newsletter. What topics do they focus on? What tone do they strike?
Take Total Annarchy, a newsletter by digital marketing pioneer Ann Handley. It’s known for its blend of entertainment and useful information, with topics ranging from writing and content marketing, to audience trends and tips for working from home. The Daily Carnage, a daily newsletter from Carney+Co., a full-service agency based in Pittsburgh, shares industry insight and expertise in a fun, easy-to-read format. Check out this list of top-notch marketing email newsletters from Mention for more ideas.
To be sure, an email newsletter about marketing targeted toward marketers is different from an email newsletter for small business owners and other clients who are interested in marketing their own brand.
Think about your client newsletter in terms of client personas. Who are you trying to reach? A useful marketing newsletter means something different to a 35-year-old who founded her own tech startup than it does to the 65-year-old CEO weighing a brand refresh for the community bank she helms. Think about your typical customer, what industry they fall in and what their specific needs and interests are.
Where can I find info for my marketing agency’s newsletter?
The best email newsletters offer a mix of original content and curated content.
You may be familiar with the 5:3:2 rule as it relates to content marketing. For every 10 pieces of content shared, shoot for five curated pieces, three original pieces and two pieces that share something personal about your marketing agency (think an employee profile, photos of employees’ pets, or even an intriguing view from the office window).
Where can you find curated content? First, think of the places where your clients are most likely to learn and read about law-related happenings. Then think about source
That can include sources like:
- National and local news websites;
- Newsletters that target the industries you serve;
- Industry association blogs like the American Marketing Association and Content Marketing Institute. Make sure the content you share is accessible to your clients and not filled with jargon or niche marketing concepts.
- Digital marketing blogs like The Moz Blog, Neil Patel, HubSpot, DigitalMarketer.com and IMPACT.
- Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company and other sites that offer content for business owners and leaders.
Also, consider sharing content published by other marketing agencies. This might seem counterintuitive at first. Those are potential competitors after all. But consider this: Sharing content that is useful to your reader actually works to elevate your brand as a go-to provider of the best content. People trust brands that are interested in sharing quality information. That trust weakens if your sole motivation is touting content that aligns with your business.
Instead, take an approach that is helpful first and promotional second. Over time people will start to remember your brand as a source for the best information on marketing.
Take baby steps if this idea is causing you heartburn. For example, if you are focused on a local client base, consider including content from marketing agencies that are well out of the area. Alternatively, try sharing content from marketing agencies that have little-to-no overlap with your own services.
Still need content inspiration? Check out home-dev.rasa.io’s Content Library for more content sourcing inspiration.
Where can I learn more about crafting email newsletters?
With a thoughtful approach, email newsletters are an effective way to connect with your clients on a regular basis outside the context of a sale. It’s about holding a conversation.
Want to learn more about how to craft successful email newsletters? Our Pushing Send blog has a whole section on email newsletters for you to peruse.
Looking for email inspiration? The Really Good Emails database includes examples of hundreds of examples of well-done emails, including email newsletters.
Last, for a deeper dive into content curation, check out our guide on content curation.