The Difference Between Email Marketing and Electronic Newsletters

Each week, several dozen promotional emails pass through my filters and land in the various folders I’ve prepared to receive them. Some are long and some are short. Some are ignored and some are read. Some are clicked and some aren’t. They all want me to buy but they do it in different ways.

Or rather, those dozens of different emails want me to buy in just two different ways: sooner or later.

Some want me to buy immediately. They provide a quick announcement of a discount or a special offer. The emails tend to be small, digestible at a glance and have a single, clear call to action.

Disposable Email Flyers

They’re email flyers, as simple and disposable as the bits of paper that students hand out to passers-by on any commercial street. If I needed the product anyway, then I’d probably grab the opportunity to buy from that seller and at that price. If I wasn’t already considering a purchase though, then a glance at a simple email — like a quick look at a paper flyer — will struggle to create enough desire to make the sale. I’ve usually forgotten about the email five minutes after I’ve looked at it.

That’s why email offers work best when they include discounts.

That doesn’t mean they’re not effective. Email marketing like this should produce a quick burst of additional sales and at little extra cost. They should be a valuable part of any business’s marketing system.

Long-Lasting Newsletter Relationships

But they’re different to an email newsletter. These long-form marketing pieces also want me to buy now but they recognize that I might not. Instead of being forgotten though, they try to build a relationship by providing valuable information that keeps the company and the product at the top of my mind.

The offer might be subtle and folded into the content so that the emphasis remains on the information rather than on the product or the service. They might contain links, often to a blog post, rather than bright action buttons. They’re read because they’re interesting, and not just because they contain an offer that expires soon.

These kinds of emails aren’t just looking for a quick burst of sales. They’re looking for a long-term relationship. They want me to keep reading, to keep clear of the unsubscribe link, and to feel that this is a company with whom I should stay in touch. By maintaining that relationship, the company has a chance to build my desire to purchase the service they’re supplying while creating the loyalty to do it from them.

When that company sends out an email flyer then, I’ll already be sold — and I’ll be ready to act.

About the author
Dean Shanson is a professional marketing writer and a New York Times bestselling business book ghostwriter.