One of the biggest misconceptions many companies have is that email marketing and sending an email newsletter are the same. They are not. Email Marketing vs. Newsletter Marketing have important differences you must know.
An email newsletter and a marketing email have two separate and distinctive roles. Many companies blur the lines between these two and that is a big mistake.
In this article, you’ll learn the goals of both email newsletters and marketing emails. You’ll learn the important difference between asking your prospects to opt-in to your email marketing offers versus subscribing to your newsletter.
What Makes Email Newsletters And Marketing Emails Different?
The differences are clear by their names. Each describes their function.
In the term, email marketing, the word “marketing” is your clue. Email marketing serves the purpose of marketing your services or products. Its ultimate goal is to drive sales.
In the word “newsletter” we also find the word: “news.” You should think of your newsletter like a newspaper. Its job is to inform. Your newsletter should deliver news, not try to sell something.
What Should The Role Of Your Newsletter Be?
First, your newsletter should provide information of high value that your subscribers will truly care about and want to read. Give your subscribers helpful information with very limited selling or promotions.
Another purpose of your newsletter is to reinforce you or your brand as the go-to source for high-quality information. You are positioning you and/or your products as an industry leader. Your newsletter should not be about selling, but rather about earning your reader’s respect and trust through providing high-value information.
Distinguishing Your Newsletter From Email Promotions
Like a newspaper, send your newsletter on a consistent schedule. Once a month is a typical publishing schedule.
As previously stated, your newsletter is similar to a newspaper or magazine. Presenting your newsletter in a magazine-style format, for its look and feel, is a favored approach.
However, you are sending your newsletter via email, so your newsletter will not have pages like a magazine would. Instead, your newsletter will have sections. This will help to organize your content.
Newsletter Sections Example…
- Welcome – or – This month…
- How-to tips for [month name here]
- Industry events
- New product news (not necessarily your products – but can include)
- Get more information… (This could include links to your blog articles and/or social media links, or other helpful links)
As you can see, organizing your information is similar to a newspaper or magazine. This helps the reader scan the content available and decide what they prefer to read.
Write for Scanners
Most of us today don’t read everything from top to bottom. We are scanners. We look at titles and subtitles first and decide what to read from there. If you do not do this, it is unlikely people will read everything – and may not read what you want them to see the most.
Knowing how people read, you should organize your content in a way that allows people to scan. This means writing your titles and subtitles in a way that will give the reader the most important messages. It helps them quickly discover that a particular section has the information they are looking for.
Put the most important sections or content near the top – always. Even with scanning, most people usually do not read all the way to the end.
Excerpt Content Or Full Version?
There are two ways you can approach the content in your email newsletter:
- Include the full content in your email.
This works fine if your content and number of sections is fairly small. However, if you have plentiful content or sections – this is not the best approach.
- Include excerpts of content and link to the full version.
This is the best approach for most newsletters. It is a must when you have a lot of content. It helps you to create “scan-friendly” content.
Start with an excerpt or summary paragraph and link to the full section. This gives your reader a brief peek at or “teaser” of the full content. If they want to continue, they can click the link to read the full version on your website.
This approach keeps your email from being too content heavy. Readers can preview each section without feeling overwhelmed. The reader can get the gist of the content, then click the link to get the full story if desired. It gives the reader control.
Goals For Your Email Newsletters:
– Provide your prospects with helpful and valuable information.
– Increase viral awareness of your company or products through email forwards of helpful information.
– Position you or your brand as an authority.
– Earn your reader’s respect and trust.
– Keep you or your brand in your prospect’s minds.
– Drive traffic to your website or blog.
– Generate sales through occasional product mentions or specials.
– Generate sales through lead magnet offers (opt-in email sequences).
Pros Of Email Newsletters
– They can achieve all of the above goals.
– If your content is engaging and valuable, you have a higher likelihood that your newsletters will be read and acted on.
– Little or no buying pressure, can create a stronger bond between you and your customers.
– Done right, meets reader expectations and can contribute to lower unsubscribe rates.
– Usually not time-sensitive, content is valuable whenever read.
– Format allows for longer content.
– Goal is not sales, therefore, allows you to write in a voice that best represents your brand.
Cons Of Email Newsletters
– Takes more time and resources to create. May have to create email newsletter and website content.
– More difficult to format.
– Committed to a publishing schedule.
– Primary goal is not sales, therefore sales produced will be lower.
– Multiple sections and longer content makes it more difficult to test and track effectiveness.
Email newsletters take more work to create than a direct sales email. They do not drive direct sales. It is more difficult to determine your ROI. Think of email newsletters as a long-term approach toward building customer respect and loyalty. These two factors ultimately contribute to increased sales.
Tips For Creating Email Newsletters
- Allow readers the option of reading the newsletter in a webpage.
- Include a table of contents or and “In this newsletter…” summary section.
- Place the most important sections (that will matter to your readers most), near the top, above the fold.
- Use excerpts of your content and link to the full section.
- Make all links obvious and optimized for mobile. Prefer text links to images or buttons.
- Try to ensure most of your content will remain timely.
- Use a consistent voice for your writing.
- Write at a reading level all of your audience can understand. Avoid jargon unless you are certain your audience will understand it.
- Include mostly helpful information versus sales pitches. Use as little sales pitching as possible. (Your email marketing is for driving direct sales – not your newsletter.)
- Include some form of contact information at the end (any or all of these: email, phone, address, link to contact us form)
Coming up next…
After reading part two, you’ll have a full understanding of the advantages of marketing emails and email newsletters. Most importantly, you’ll learn why and when to use each.