If you’ve ever spent time working with electronic newsletters (e-newsletters) and time analysing the data reported, you’ll come to realise what a powerful communication tool they can be. Like any communications medium, there are pros and cons, and this technology is no exception. The area in which e-newsletters excels, is the feedback that it offers which is inherent in the technology being used.

We use this information to gauge the effectiveness of a e-newsletter campaign which helps us to see what elements are working, and to improve the elements which are lagging. E-newsletters have been used to great success in the past in increasing the traffic to a website (short and long-term) – this is evident from the figures retrieved from our website tracking data. From every e-newsletter that we sent out, we are able to see amongst other things, the number of opens, the number of clicks, the number of emails which have bounced, and the number of people who have unsubscribed. All of which, help improve the effectiveness of the communication.

From a costings perspective, this new technology enables even the smallest of businesses to communicate en-mass to thousands of inboxes in just a few clicks of the mouse. It is important to understand however, that e-newsletters should be treated with the same care as any other form of mass communication – chiefly, it has to be targeted in both its delivery and content for it to have any potency in the marketplace. This is where the technology behind e-newsletter really shines.

Most, if not all e-newsletter services require an unsubscribe (opt-out) link to appear in the message. Clicking on this link will permanently remove the recipient from the sender’s database and may even put them on a “DO NOT SEND…EVER – ON PAIN OF DEATH” list as a fail safe. This is a wonderful feature in which all parties involved benefit from – the sender will not be paying for messages destined for the junk-mail folder, and would-be recipients are no longer annoyed by erroneous and irrelevant emails. In theory, by allowing recipients to opt out of the mailing list, you will be left with a database that is, on the whole, more receptive to you communication.

The automation of this process is something that hard copy alternatives just cannot compete with, not only in terms of resources (time and cost of printing, delivery and feedback) but also potential damage to the brand caused by aggravation, however slight this may be.