Spreading the Word: Content Notifications or Email Newsletters? Kelsey Bernius October 21, 2016 Best Practices, Email Marketing // SUMMARIES ?> As a marketer you have likely spent copious amounts of time strategizing, creating, and polishing your promotional content for your email program. But how do you plan to share your content? Don’t sabotage that effort by treating your email distribution plan as an afterthought. If you’re unsure about what types of distribution methods suit your needs, you’re in luck, because your primary choices are broken down below by their benefits, differences, and considerations. Option 1: Send content through a reliable and consistent newsletter The newsletter may be one of the more traditional ways to disseminate your content and updates, but there’s a reason it’s the OG of email marketing tactics. When deployed correctly, the newsletter gathers and engages your audience because they know a) exactly when your content is coming and b) what types of content they will be receiving. But, consider the possible downside of newsletters when you’re planning out your editorial calendar and schedule. Newsletters consume a lot of time (at least if you want a good one) and hold you to a set distribution schedule–for better or worse. Check out SendGrid’s quarterly newsletter to the right for an example of a simple, clean newsletter design. For more information on setting recipient expectations from the get-go, listen to SendGrid’s Setting Your Email Marketing Up for Success webcast. Option 2: Update readers with content notifications A content notification is a triggered email to a list of subscribers whenever new content is published on your website or marketing channels. Content notifications are great for recipients with fewer blocks of time dedicated to consuming their preferred content or for those who like to consume information as it comes right when it arrives in the inbox. A warning about content notifications: You risk of annoying your recipients if you don’t check with them before altering your content from a newsletter format to a push content notification. Change isn’t always welcome and some recipients may be confused and irritated if they start receiving more emails from you. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with new methods of distribution–some on your email list may actually prefer other methods of email marketing. Option 3: A customized approach based on your recipient’s preference The more integrated and thoughtful approach you take with your content distribution methods, the more likely you are to engage with your recipients in an effective manner. In fact, the best overall strategy likely incorporates all tactics such as newsletters and content notifications. The answer lies in the minds and behavior of your recipients. So why not let them decide how they would like to consume your content? You can set this up in your preference center or distribute a separate email with that single call to action. You can also perform A/B testing in your email campaigns by segmenting a portion of your email list. No matter what approach you take, don’t forget about the complimentary effects of social media. Social media connects the elements of your email strategy in an online community. Ensure that you are both sharing your content in your social media channels as well as making your content shareable in your emails. Finally, don’t forget to request (subtle is better) that your recipients share your content if they find it helpful or valuable. What distribution policy you deploy will vary a lot on your goals and business. What’s best for some is not best for all. Subscribing to the thought process that there is one right way is dangerous and will likely get you into trouble. Remove as much risk as you can by letting your recipients decide what is best for them. Win, win. For a deeper dive into email marketing best practices, download The Experts Guide to Email Marketing guide.