Email Newsletter Increases Audience & Improves SEO

An email newsletter was at the center of a strategy to build an audience list from scratch and increase search rankings.

My Role

I determined and prioritized important keywords for RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) applied sustainability work, strategized blog content, designed and developed the email, and ran the advertising.

Strategic Blog Content

I sought to improve search rankings for GIS by identifying high-impact keywords and developing a blog strategy to rank highly for those terms. I then developed a quarterly newsletter as the primary vehicle for marketing these blog posts.

Unique Design

The desire was for a newsletter that was eye-catching, mobile-friendly, and unique in look and feel. I developed one that met these needs and worked in MailChimp, while overcoming the limitations of email development.

Growing The List

After six months of testing, I shared the most popular blog posts on social media, then advertised them on Facebook and LinkedIn to prospective clients and partners to build a quality list from the ground up.

The Challenge

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability had a problem—they wanted to better communicate the consulting side of their business, but weren’t getting much traffic to those pages on their site, didn’t rank well for areas of expertise in search results, and had no email list to speak of. Being the parent of a series of research centers, it had established little identity for itself away from the separate services provided by each center. After some work, a brand, website, and messaging was established to sell the greater umbrella of services in a more impressive package, but the name was still unknown.

I developed a strategy to establish the brand as a market leader in applied sustainability, using email as the primary vehicle to build an audience and improve SEO. This began with the establishment of a blog and strategizing of original content that would provide valuable education to the reader while also softly promoting the institute’s work and ranking for high-opportunity keywords about that work. Blog content and the newsletter design and layout was tested with close industry contacts and improved upon for six months, at which point we developed a landing page and advertising to grow the list.


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The results were more widespread than just great email rates. Going back to the bigger picture of SEO, we really saw noticeable change to the rankings of some of the priority keywords. Remanufacturing, for example, had long been something GIS was known for being a leader in, but you wouldn’t have guessed if you’d searched the term. Where previously they were on page 8 of search results, they moved up to page 2 within just two months of writing and promoting strategic content on the topic.

How It Proves My Value

While this project presents itself as an email design and development one, email is simply a vehicle for achieving larger goals—in this case SEO. This project shows the far-reaching nature of email marketing, bringing in keyword strategy, content strategy, landing pages, advertising, and social media to the email dialogue. I think this showcases my ability to look at the interconnectivity of several areas of marketing and develop a strategy that utilizes them all to meet a focused goal. I believe it also showcases my email development (coding) skills—something that anyone in the email business will tell you presents unique challenges.