Email Marketing Advertisements: Contrasting Views


Internet marketers debate

There has long been a debate among Internet marketers about whether or not advertisements should be made a part of marketing emails which are sent to subscribers; and more specifically, whether such ads and promotions in the form of product links and banners would be considered acceptable to the overall marketing community. The topic has been hotly debated for years, with some Internet marketers being strongly in favor of placing advertisements in email marketing while others having been strongly against the use of any kind of advertisements in email marketing.

As is often the case with most debates, there is the group which consists of those who take a more neutral stance and therefore are not either firmly for or against the use of advertisements in email marketing campaigns. This article will take a look at both sides of the argument in an effort to raise the level of awareness about this subject, invoke reasonable thought on the issue, and allow the reader to formulate his/her own opinions on whether or not this subject is worthy of discussion and the attention paid to it by marketers as well as other entities, not the least of which is the FTC.

Two sides of the debate

Let’s start with the group of Internet marketers who are strongly favor the inclusion of advertisements in emails that are distributed for marketing purposes. Those who favor the use of advertisements view the sale of advertising space in email marketing materials, such as emails or enewsletters, as a way to generate profit from any given email marketing campaign based on the belief that this tactic puts less pressure on an Internet marketer to meet expectations of email distribution list members, since emails are already generating a profit, even if they do not entice the email recipients to make a purchase.

On the other hand, those marketers who are firmly against the use of advertisements in email marketing are of the opinion that such inclusions make the emails seem more like spam and less like interesting and valuable information which just happens to include marketing materials. Those on this side of the fence feel as though any advertisement in an email marketing campaign should be subtle advertising for the products and services offered by the distributor of the email and not advertisements for businesses who have paid for an advertising spot in a given email. They believe the original emails are acceptable but additions to them are spam.

Could neutrality be a guide?

Still others are someone in between (on the fence) because they haven’t taken a position in this debate, perhaps for several reasons; but some of the reasons they have not taken a position could be revealing in the sense that any of these reasons – or none of them – could determine whether or not marketing emails that include advertisements is as important an issue as the the two previous groups have insisted it is. In other words, if the main reason for this group’s neutrality is indifference then there is not much to be revealed; but if the main reason is that, legality or best practices adhered to by the email marketer renders his/her emails acceptable whether or not it contains advertisements, then perhaps the rest of us might need to follow their example.

In most cases these ‘neutral’ individuals might believe it is acceptable for advertisements to appear in marketing emails as long as the ads do not overshadow other, more useful and valuable information which, in most email marketing campaigns, is the original intent of such emails. Understanding therefore, that this middle of the road concept could define the position of certain Internet marketers who adhere to it as not firmly for or against placing advertisements in emails which are distributed for marketing purposes as long as the email marketer (email sender) adheres to industry best practices and does not violate the CAN-SPAM Act.

In the grey

In view of the above, it is important to point out here that information in this article is vague by design because it leaves more of an opportunity for you, the reader, to form your own opinion about this issue. Such vagueness is important because the subject is largely a matter of personal preference where each reader must decide for him/herself whether or not s/he agrees with either side or chooses to take a middle of the road stance. As readers of this article may have opinions that could be influenced by whether or not they are considered to be marketers or consumers we understand the delicate nature and significance of the subject matter and how their preferences can be impacted.

One the one hand consumers may be less likely to appreciate advertisements in emails intended for marketing purposes because they might feel it distracts from the original products. On the other hand however, marketers may be more apt to be accepting of such advertising because they can understand the financial gain which is possible. So when evaluating opinions about the use of advertising, it is important to note whether or not the individual offering an opinion is involved in advertising, as it may be more worthwhile to seek out opinions from consumers since they are more likely to share the beliefs of your potential customers.

When Your Business Embraces Email Marketing


A competitive edge

Are you a business person who recently incorporated an email marketing campaign with your Web marketing objectives? If so, a self-congratulatory sentiment is in order, because you’ve embraced what is widely considered one of the most effective types of online marketing for your business. And while many business owners tend to shy away from email marketing campaigns based on a belief – erroneous as it may be – that such campaigns are always viewed as spam, others realize the importance of this marketing type (which ultimately is another kind of advertising) and are willing to invest a great deal of time, money and effort into organizing email marketing campaigns.

Business owners who have added email marketing campaigns to their overal marketing strategy will likely find that they are able to enjoy an advantage over their competitors who do not take the time required to implement an effective email marketing campaign. So if you are already using email marketing as part of your marketing and advertising strategy you may soon be reaping the rewards of your decision to do so – if, in fact, you have not yet achieved such objectives. However, if you have not yet embraced this type of marketing, you may wish to read on, because in this article will discuss a few of the steps necessary to organize an effective email marketing campaign.

One of the first elements you should consider when making a decision to start an email marketing campaign is the type of information you wish to include in your marketing emails to potential clients. This is very important because the information you provide will help your email recipients to determine whether or not they think your products or services are worthwhile.



EM professionals for hire

What this means is that you can include a variety of techniques in marketing emails which may include, but is not limited to, full length informative articles, short articles enticing readers to visit your website for more information, links to other websites which may be of interest to your readers, links to your own website and even advertisements for your products and/or services, as well as other products or services your customers may appreciate.

Once you determine the type of content and information you wish to incorporate into your email marketing, it is then time to consider how you want to structure your email marketing messages. Two of the most common structures include an informative email with subtle advertising, or an in depth e-newsletter with a wealth of information, which also includes subtle advertising as well as a few images (graphics). Deciding on the format of emails you will be sending out are important because they will dictate the staff you will need to assist you in your email marketing efforts.

You might require the assistance of a professional writer to assist you with the content in either emails or e-newsletters; that is if you are unable to write your own content. But keep in mind that if you opt for an e-newsletter you should also consider hiring a graphic artist to assist you in designing an attractive layout and creating graphics that will most likely be needed to create an appealing layout for your e-newsletter.

Opt-in lists from scratch

Next you should consider how you plan to create an email distribution (or opt-in) list. This is important because simply purchasing an email list is not likely to be effective due to the “hit-and-miss nature of such lists. In other words, when you purchase an email list, you may reach hundreds, thousands or even millions of Internet users by sending emails to all of the members of this email list, but there is no guarantee that any of those recipients will have an interest in your products or services. However, if you build your own email list of previous customers who have specifically requested additional information, as well as potential customer who have also requested additional information you will have a well formulated list which includes mostly members of your target audience.

A targeted list is ideal because you are much more likely to sell products or services to members of your target audience than you are to sell products or services to members of an email subscriber group which does not consist of subscribers who have expressed an interest in your unique content and therefore may have absolutely no interest in the products or services you offer. The underlying reason for creating your own list of opt-in subscribers is because they would have visited your website, blog or Web page and expressed a special interest in your content based on its uniqueness (niche quality), and wish to obtain more information from you on a continuous basis.

Such requests for more information and desire to learn about your company, products or affiliate service lays the foundation for long standing relationships which, in the long term, is most beneficial to your business as well as the subscriber. Once all of these preliminary decisions have been made, you can begin to create the actual emails themselves and can begin to distribute these emails; and after you have sent out your first batch of emails, you can take some time to evaluate the effectiveness of the first email before you send out the second batch.

Evaluation

This will be useful because if you determine the first batch was not very successful you can solicit feedback and make changes to the second batch before sending it out. If the second email is more successful than the first, you can conclude the changes you made were required and, in fact, beneficial.