Debunking 5 Myths About Placing Ads in Email Newsletters

Publishers have many preconceived notions about placing ads in email newsletters. Advertisers might have heard that newsletters don’t have as much reach as websites, that they don’t generate high click-through rates, or they’re not equipped for ad targeting. However, newsletters are actually an incredibly effective channel for advertisers to reach consumers, and one that can complement an omnichannel strategy.

Many top online magazine publishers have already figured out how to use newsletters to promote reader loyalty and sell more digital subscriptions. Placing ads in email newsletters is yet another way for publishers to generate revenue through a media channel they already use. According to a recent study by ​Reuters Institute, there has been a sharp increase in the production of newsletters in recent years, both by print and digital media publishers.

Newsletters are a nimble channel, which means that publishers have quite a bit of flexibility in the types of newsletter advertising campaigns they run. In addition to embedded display advertising, magazine publishers can also sell native advertising and sponsorships. In selling newsletter ad placements directly to businesses, publishers are out-maneuvering the Google algorithms and keeping a larger portion of their advertising revenue in-house.

This article addresses five myths about advertising in email newsletters, accompanied by five insights that debunk those myths.

Myth #1: Email Ads Aren’t Profitable

How much revenue you generate by placing ads in email newsletters will depend primarily on the size of your online audience. The more subscribers you have, the more revenue you can expect to generate. However, there are ways to make money by placing ads in email newsletters, even if your audience is small.
Understanding your audience is the key to generating revenue through newsletter advertising, especially when you have under 10,000 subscribers. What are the demographics of those subscribers, and what characteristics do they share? Savvy online publishers will use this information to pitch potential advertisers, knowing that businesses will pay a premium to reach high-value audiences.

A publisher’s ability to generate a profit by placing ads in email newsletters is directly tied to their ability to create a product that advertisers want to be associated with. Although there will always be some advertisers that are interested in promoting their products or services to a general audience, the vast majority of businesses today are more interested in connecting with targeted, niche audiences. Email newsletters can serve this type of audience up on a platter, making newsletter advertising extremely profitable for most digital publishers.

Myth #2: Finding Advertisers Is Hard

Selling advertising for a high-quality product should be easy. Some people believe that it’s tougher to sell ads in a newsletter than a website, mainly because advertisers aren’t as familiar with newsletter advertising in general. Overcoming that obstacle is up to the publisher. With the right information and materials, publishers can easily demonstrate what newsletter advertising looks like and the benefits that email has over other channels. Once you start running native advertising and sponsored campaigns in your newsletters, you might even find that potential advertisers are coming to you and asking to get involved.

Myth #3: Readers Don’t Like Advertisements

One of the more pervasive myths is that readers don’t like seeing ads in email newsletters, and that seeing ads will cause them to unsubscribe. With any email that goes out, there are a certain number of readers who are likely to click “unsubscribe.” However, this number is not nearly as high as most publishers fear. The number of unsubscribe requests you receive can be minimized by ensuring that advertisements are aligned with the content in your newsletters. For example, you will have more success publishing ads for sporting goods in a newsletter that goes out to sports fans than you would embedding ads for cosmetics or pet products.

Myth #4: Advertising Undermines a Publisher’s Credibility

Aside from non-profit news outlets, few online media organizations are exclusively ad-free. Consumers these days realize that advertising is the trade-off for receiving professional journalism for free. As long as your advertising content is not impacting your editorial content, you should be able to go about placing ads in email newsletters without seeing negative backlash from readers.

If you do choose to run editorial content that involves a business that advertises in your newsletters, clearly disclose the relationship in a conspicuous location. Paid content, such as native advertising or sponsored articles, should be clearly labeled, as well.

Myth #5: Advertisers Are Challenging to Work With

Some advertisers are challenging to work with, of course. That’s true regardless of the channel. Publishers who run display advertising or sponsored content in email newsletters usually don’t have any more difficulty working with clients than publishers who run advertising on their websites.

The easiest advertisers to deal with are usually the most satisfied. Finding business owners who are a good fit for the publication, and charging those advertisers a fair price based on the value that your newsletters provide, will help you develop a positive working relationship.

Have you started selling ad space in your email newsletters? If the answer is no, then now is the time to start. Get in contact with Web Publisher PRO to learn how we can diversify your revenue streams and take your publication to the next level.

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