Alex Melone
Alex Melone 14 November 2023

Marketing Emails vs Newsletters: What’s the Difference?

If anyone can clarify the difference between marketing emails and newsletters, it’s Alexander Melone, co-founder of San Francisco-based email marketing agency CodeCrew. But, as we’re about to find out, the distinction goes beyond formatting and word count.

In a Nutshell

Essentially, marketing emails are exactly that - campaigns that aim to sell a product or service. This is achieved by highlighting specific items and including clear CTAs throughout the text, directing recipients to product or sales pages to make a purchase. 

Newsletters, on the other hand, are more focused on value-added content and keeping recipients informed. Instead of sales being the main focus, a newsletter serves as a way to keep your audience updated on the latest goings-on in your business, as well as provide updates on specific products and services.

What Are the Main Differences?

In addition to the email’s intent, you can usually spot whether a campaign is a marketing email or newsletter from the following attributes:

Design: While marketing emails tend to be more design-heavy, newsletters usually rely on blocks of text. The reasoning here is simple: Design touches like product images and flashy GIFs are meant to evoke excitement in the recipient and entice them into making a purchase, while newsletter campaigns aim to inform so the text needs to be as uncluttered and as easy to read as possible.

Length: When selling a product or service, it’s always best to be concise. That’s why marketing emails are usually shorter in length. Newsletters, on the other hand, can be as long as they need to be, but don’t overdo it - you don’t want to bore your reader. 

Focus: Marketing emails rarely have more than one area of focus. If you’re marketing a new product or promotion, you’ll want as few distractions as possible. This is also where newsletters are vastly different as they tend to cover a wide variety of topics. 

Cadence: As a general rule, newsletters shouldn’t be sent more than once a month, while marketing emails have a much higher cadence. Of course, the industry you’re in will determine the cadence of a newsletter and it wouldn’t be unthinkable for a brand in a volatile industry (e.g. cryptocurrencies) to send out weekly or bi-weekly newsletters, but these are definitely the exception. 

Best Tools for Newsletters 

Speaking of cadence, if your business mainly focuses on newsletters, it means that you likely won’t need to send as many emails. Email Service Providers like Mailchimp would be a good option since they cater to smaller businesses with smaller budgets. Substack and MailLite are also two affordable, newsletter-friendly platforms worth exploring.

Which One Should You Use?

It all comes down to your business, industry, and intent. If you’re looking to keep your customers informed about what’s happening in your business, a newsletter is definitely the way to go.

It’s also a great way to position yourself and your business as an authority in your industry. Think of your newsletter as PR for your business. Additionally, if you run a B2B business, a newsletter is essential for keeping your suppliers up-to-date with product launch dates and restocks.

If you’re looking to drive sales, you’ll want to focus on marketing emails. These require a lot more strategy and insight, as they affect your business’s bottom line.

You’ll need to pay attention to segmentation, A/B testing, cadence, design, copy, and data analysis to ensure that your emails are reaching the right recipients and providing them with offers they’ll be interested in.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but these distinctions should draw a soft line between your informative and sales-focused messaging. Just be sure not to favor one over the other too much - a well-balanced email marketing strategy is crucial for good ROI. 

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Set Your Data Free With Web3

Set Your Data Free With Web3

In the first of our series of pieces looking at the top digital trends of 2023, lead web developer, Craig Wheatley, discusses what the current state of owning our own data is and how Web3 is revolutionising how it can...

Candyspace Media
Candyspace Media 1 February 2023
Read more
7 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing is Important For Your Business

7 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing is Important For Your Business

In the past two decades social media has become a crucial tool for marketers, enabling businesses to connect with potential customers. If your business has yet to embrace social media and you want to know why it is...

Sharron Nelson
Sharron Nelson 29 February 2024
Read more
How to Review a Website — A Guide for Beginners

How to Review a Website — A Guide for Beginners

A company website is crucial for any business's digital marketing strategy. To keep up with the changing trends and customer buying behaviors, it's important to review and make necessary changes regularly...

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 25 March 2024
Read more
Five Ways to Gain Maximum Return on Your Videos

Five Ways to Gain Maximum Return on Your Videos

Without question, our collective appetite for video is fuelling more video-centric experiences online. Video’s ability to impart both emotional and practical information makes it a win-win for brands and consumers...

Juli Greenwood
Juli Greenwood 2 July 2024
Read more
The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

Technology has impacted every part of our lives. From household chores to business disciplines and etiquette, there's a gadget or app for it. Marketing has changed dramatically over the years, but what is the...

Alex Lysak
Alex Lysak 3 April 2024
Read more