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Newsletter marketing: the 7 levels of maturity

Email marketing is a true value-generation channel. Where does your brand stand on our scale of maturity?

Do you consider yourself to have a basic, intermediate or advanced email marketing strategy?

Brands, publishers and broadcasters need to implement email marketing best practices and climb the scale of maturity to leverage even more the power of what some almost consider an “old school” channel (and they are wrong!).

At what stage are you in your newsletter strategy? How are you benchmarking yourself?

Evaluate how far up this scale your newsletter strategy currently is, and evaluate how you could make it even better:

  • Stage 0: We have an Excel sheet with email addresses we collected in a conference three years ago
  • Stage 1: We are actively capturing email addresses (online and/or offline)
  • Stage 2: We have a planned newsletter schedule where we send an email at least every 2 months
  • Stage 3: We are monitoring open and click rates to benchmark ourselves and gather insights on what works and what does not
  • Stage 4: We segment our mailing lists based on form fields in our email capture forms
  • Stage 5: We send different newsletter to email list segments we have
  • Stage 6: We segment our email lists also based on past behaviour (opens, clicks)
  • Stage 7: We personalize the content of our emails for each subscriber, based on segmentation and behaviour (going way beyond the “Hello [FirstName]” formula)

But any brand that wants to do email right needs to climb this scale and implement these best practices, while also being on the look-out as to what innovative email marketers are doing.

And this is where publishers and media come in.

With the current context and crisis in which traditional media is, we can turn to these publishers to see what they are doing to leverage their newsletter initiatives.

Traditional media has been in a crisis for quite some time now and publishers are looking for the best way to engage with readers and eventually convert them to paying subscribers.

This model (paid subscriptions) has been proven, lately, to work quite well, as advertising revenue keeps dropping every month.

Newsletters have been key in generating this engagement they are looking for to build a true relationship with their readership on a daily, weekly basis, by email.

Email remains one of the true channels that have yet to be hit too hard by algorithms. Getting to the inbox is cheap, easy and is a tactic that allows you to be in real control of your data, your subscribers, your “community” (in opposition to most social media where we end up “renting” access to our followers).

The trick is to get the right content in that inbox. At the right time.

In a What’s New in Publishing article, Simon Owens dives deep into what the media and publishers have been doing with their email lists.

The New York Times discovered that newsletter subscribers are twice as likely to become paying members as non-subscribers. The New Yorker came to a similar conclusion with their New Yorker newsletter.

At Toast, we even came to the conclusion that our own newsletter membership is a good indicator as to if a client we are pitching to will sign us on. An analysis we did showed that 80% of new clients were already subscribed to our weekly email when they gave us their first mandate.

From specific themes and interactive formats (see what Quartz is doing), to heavy personalization (see what the Washington Post is doing), Owens’ article dives deep into what brands could also be doing to leverage this high-value channel.

Long gone are the days where you should send a single email to all your list.

So, where do you stand on our maturity level scale for email marketing?

If you would like to grow your email list or improve your newsletter strategy let us know and schedule a consultation with our experts at Toast today.


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