Email marketing is more critical than ever. In fact, it is estimated that there are more than 251 million active email accounts in the U.S. in 2019, with this number only expected to rise. Yet, most marketers are conflicted about this direct-to-consumer channel, and don’t immediately think of it as a high-value tactic.
The main reason is that consumers today can access content on countless channels: websites, TV, Facebook, Instagram, video, email, mobile, apps, and the list goes on. In this crowded media marketplace, consumers have the power to choose their preferred channels to consume what they want, where they want, when they want.
With so many choices, email tends to fall to the bottom of brands’ tactical lists because of some challenges inherent in email marketing:
- Challenges building scale and readership
- Outside of brand teams’ core competency
- Strain on resources to maintain
- “Stepchild” status in the brand’s marketing plan
But there is a way to bring email back.
Publisher Newsletters: An Email Marketing Vehicle
Instead of homegrown email communications, publisher newsletters present a great alternative for brands and advertisers looking to engage in this direct-to-consumer channel. Because email newsletters are a core part of their offering, publishers have had to figure out how to tackle the common email marketing challenges like scale, expertise, and quality content.
Publishers also have built quality relationships with their readers. By signing up for publisher newsletters, consumers have said, ‘I welcome you to my inbox to send me content or information on a particular topic,’ and are therefore more likely to be engaged, to click on content drivers, and to go further in their consumption journey.
The Advantages of Publisher Newsletters to Marketers
Let’s explore three reasons why marketers should consider publisher newsletters:
1. Deeper engagement
Newsletter audiences represent highly engaged and often, fiercely loyal, segments for publishers creating content. Healthline’s Director of Product Marketing, Renata Tanenbaum, has declared this cohort of hand-raisers to be “insatiable when it comes to content that’s relevant to their personal experience.” According to a Healthline Health and Wellness Newsletter Survey, 4 out of 5 read the newsletter regularly, and they dive deeper than other Healthline audiences with 30% longer average session duration and 15% more page views per session than audiences visiting from other sources. This voluntary opt-in audience also shows higher engagement with advertiser content than other audiences on site.
2. Ability to Personalize Content
Because email is one of the few channels that can be personalized, publishers have figured out how to get personal with newsletters because consumers have raised their hand. In contrast, personalization in other channels, like banner ads, can often feel creepy to the consumer.
According to eMarketer, there is an increasing B2C marketer interest in focusing personalization efforts on email channels1. Publisher newsletters offer marketers the ability to ‘personalize’ and ‘select’ specific target audiences they want to reach. While data and technology make this possible at the person-level, this can also happen more simply by targeting via content. At Healthline, we have 29 different newsletters in condition areas (Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Health, Fibromyalgia) and wellness/life stage categories (Becoming a Mom, Senior Health, Nutrition), which deliver advertiser penetration amongst a particular group of consumers
3. Traffic Driver
In an eMarketer study on consumer health information websites, email and newsletters represent the third most significant referral channel, narrowly behind direct traffic and organic search2. Newsletter audiences are ‘hand raisers’ and they’re taking action. At Healthline, we see that 49% of newsletter sign-ups visit the site immediately after opting in. Publisher newsletter audiences offer incredible value to advertisers looking to target an engaged audience and encourage them to take action.
“Email came back into the forefront at this interesting time when people were evaluating their relationships with platforms and sources,” according to a recent Fast Company article. Too often, email has been thrown into media plans as a ‘value-add.’ But this audience and channel is worth more. People who choose newsletters as their preferred channel are highly engaged and take action, so can no longer be overlooked. Newsletters are a way for advertisers to connect with these people on their terms. Let’s change the narrative of our media strategy, and leverage newsletters to center on the audience.
Interested in how you can tap into the value of newsletters for your brand? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 “Digital Channels Used for Personalization According to US B2B and B2C Marketers, March 2018,” Evergage and Researchscape International, “2018 Trends in Personalization,” April 25, 2018, as cited by eMarketer
2 “Share of US Visits to Consumer Information Healthcare Sites via Smartphone vs. Desktop, by Referral Channel, Q2 2017,” Adobe Digital Insights, “Healthcare,” Jan 30, 2018, as cited by eMarketer