Many businesses periodically send newsletters by postal mail to keep subscribers current on their affairs or industry-related news, for the purpose of maintaining a loyal customer base to whom they can market additional products or services. With pervasive use of the internet for information dissemination, and with RSS News Feeds gaining momentum as a powerful online communication tool, one needs to ask whether businesses are now better served by publishing news feeds in lieu of newsletters.
There are obvious convenience factors that favor publishing news feeds over newsletters: No newsletter design delays or expenses, no printing delays, no printing costs, no postage costs, no mailing lists. But are news feeds more effective than newsletters in delivering the message? And if so, can anyone with essentially no knowledge of news feeds and with computer skills limited to sending email and browsing the internet actually publish a news feed on their own?
Putting aside the obvious advantages of news feeds listed above, an important question to ask when evaluating effectiveness of the newsletter versus the news feed is whether the information is time-sensitive. If the business is publishing information pertaining to such topics as the stock market, real estate, investments, weather, new products or services, competitive analyses, product catalogs and prices (and you can probably add more to this list), the effectiveness of the newsletter dramatically diminishes as the delay between the “event” and the delivery of the information about the event increases. If a newsletter is published every three months, on average the information is six weeks old! And it’s not just that the information arrives too late to be important to the recipient, but also because recipients will come to know the newsletter is irrelevant to their affairs and tune out. Unfortunately, that means it will be seen as junk mail and tossed into the trash without opening. Why would I care about an investment opportunity if, by the time I receive that advice, it’s too late to act on it? (At my post office, a recycle bin is provided in the lobby so that you can conveniently toss away your junk mail without even taking it home