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New York Times: Email Newsletters Are Alive and Well


Post Date: July 1, 2014
By: Janine Perri

A recent article in the New York Times, titled “For Email Newsletters, a Death Greatly Exaggerated,” challenged the assertion that email marketing, and email newsletters in particular, are rapidly becoming irrelevant in a marketing landscape dominated by social media. Instead, the article claims that email newsletters “are not only still around, but very much on the march.”

Unlike social media and general Internet searching, which contain overwhelming amounts of information, email newsletters curate and/or summarize the most relevant stories for the target audience, the article says. The article notes, “At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters — some free, some not — help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to.”

Because readers choose to subscribe to certain email newsletters based on their interests, newsletters serve as a platform that offers tailored content in an easy-to-read list form. Email newsletters can consist of a list of summaries and links to news sources, or may contain original articles, videos, and other content. The article states, “An email newsletter generally shows up in your inbox because you asked for it and it includes links to content you have deemed relevant. In other words, it’s important content you want in list form, which seems like a suddenly modern approach.”

The targeted (and modern) approach of email newsletters leads to many subscriptions and a high open rate. For instance, the article says that Quartz sends its daily email to 75,000 subscribers, and about half of the recipients open it. In addition, MailChimp is sending over 400 million business-to-consumer emails and email newsletters every day, and is growing at a rate of more than 10,000 users a day.

“Legitimate organizations who care about their customers know email marketing is far from dead – in fact it’s the lifeblood of their customer relationship management (CRM) programs,” says Karen Talavera, President Synchronicity Marketing and a DMA email marketing instructor.   “Consumers enjoy the savings, exclusivity and empowered shopping experiences email delivers, while business people thrive on content, education and reminders pushed straight to their inboxes – information they otherwise wouldn’t have time to track down.

“Commercial email is far more ‘trusted steed’ than the cockroach mentioned in this article, and it is high time we give it its due as the under-appreciated, often taken-for-granted workshorse of marketing,”  she says.

The article acknowledged that the use of email may be declining in certain demographics, such as young people, but a Quartz study indicated that email newsletters were the most popular news source for executives. Specifically, 60% of global executives read an email newsletter as one of their first three news sources they check daily, outperforming the Internet and mobile apps.

Email newsletters are not dead, but have evolved according to consumer demand. With targeted content, subscription service, and user-friendly formatting, email newsletters remain important to marketers, news outlets, and most of all, consumers.

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