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E-mail marketing is not merely advertising


Direct – if not blatant – advertising has become a thing people associate with email marketing.

You know, the e-mails that swarm in after you register at a site and forget to uncheck the box that says “send me regular e-mails with promotional offers from our company”.

newsletter signup

Although such marketing is permission-based and successful in some cases and niches, there are often better things than mere promotions to send to your clients.

When someone subscribes to your list, that person allows you to send emails with the content you said you’ll send.

Now, if you were a client. Why would you want to receive countless promotion e-mails?

If you didn’t have a good enough reason (e.g. a freebie) to subscribe to a promotional email newsletter, you probably did not picture that your inbox will be filled with advertisements.

Which means that the subscribers will be confused, and some will leave or complain if you send myriad promotional letters after they’ve subscribed.

Don’t get it wrong, however. Sales emails are successful and many businesses get great results with them.

Sending sales e-mails is a short-term strategy, though. They give an offer; if a client refuses it, he’s refused it for good, and you can just as well

Newsletters, on the other hand, build trust and, often subtly, urge the client to take action over a good period of time. It just takes a little thought to distinguish between newsletters and promotional emails–and choose the one that suits your business.

Content-based newsletters escape the “all or nothing” syndrome that has plagued marketing for decades. That’s why newsletters are becoming increasingly popular.

But how do I advertise to my audience if I don’t send any advertisements?

email trust pyramid

Let’s be bold for a second: we know that marketing masterminds aren’t good Samaritans. If something doesn’t bring profit, it is not viable. From this we can conclude – if marketing masterminds invented newsletters, they are profitable. And newsletters are profitable, because they build trust. (You still have to earn it, though.)

You earn trust by providing the user with good content and by not abusing your client-seller relationship. You spend trust by breaking the boundaries of your relationship with the customer by, for example, sending him unrelated advertisements.

You need to set rules of what you will send and what you won’t send to the subscriber. This doesn’t mean that you can’t include advertisements in your e-mails. You just have to give your clients value – usually with the content – that somehow makes up for the advertisements.

A simple example is a usual 300-word blog post. You can add an image advertisement at the bottom of the post. The clients shouldn’t mind this, as long as you offer something valuable to them.

A complex example is a 500-word blog post with no advertisements, but with a subtle call to action. For example, your site might focus on video games, and you could write a honest review of a recent video game… that you happen to sell through your site.

A few other examples of good content (content that builds trust):

  • Advice on the topic(s) your newsletter focuses on
  • Articles about new stuff that’s happening in your niche
  • Courses related to your niche
  • Articles that appeal to the customer’s self-esteem
  • And everything else, that will make the subscribers feel good and also offer value to them

Just be sure that you don’t overdo things if you choose sending newsletters with promotions within them. You should also be more or less consistent with the content of your e-mails.

No promotions in e-mails will build trust, but if you suddenly introduce ads, the trust will evaporate quickly. Too many promotions will make the clients think that you don’t really care about them. Keep things at balance, and everything will be fine.

(By the way, many people think that their content isn’t valuable to the subscribers or that their writing skills aren’t that great. If you’re discouraged about your content, be sure to read this eye-opening article at Copyblogger.)

What are your thoughts and experience with heavily executed and annoying advertising in newsletters? Would you like to share some of your experiences? We always welcome your comments!

E-mail marketing is not merely advertising
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