Despite being a broad area, when most people think of email marketing they tend to think of promotional emails. You make a purchase on a travel website and agree to emails about other products and services. Then they send you emails about deals they are running, one week it might be the Caribbean then next its cheap holidays to Croatia. Dont get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. The reader is getting exactly what they agreed to, in my case more ideas for holidays! This method has been proved time and time again to work.

There is more than one way to communicate with your customers though and if you do this in the wrong places it can go wrong. The most common place for this to happen is in an email newsletter.

With a promotional email you are looking for a specific action from the recipient. The whole design of the email is focussed on that call to action. The call to action can be different; a sale, a registration or even a download. You will not build a long term relationship with the reader with this kind of email, they will buy or not buy from this email.

The email newsletter has very little in common with these promotional emails. The whole point of sending a newsletter is to grow a longer term relationship and influence future behaviour. This is aimed at multiple purchases rather than the one off result of the promotional email. You can still promote deals, sales and products in your newsletter and it will also generate immediate sales. You do need to include more than those deals if you are going to get the real benefit of a newsletter; longer term customer trust.

When these two styles of email marketing get confused is when marketers tend to find a problem. You cant expect to sign people up to a newsletter and then send them nothing but promotional emails. If the readers expectations on sign up arent met, they will vote with their feet and unsubscribe. That will then leave the marketer frustrated with a belief that a newsletter doesnt work.

It doesnt necessarily matter which approach you choose. The underlying message has to be that you need to meet the expectations of people who sign up to your email marketing. If you offer a newsletter, send subscribers valuable content that builds trust and doesnt hard sell.

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For more information about making the most of your email marketing, contact email marketing company RapidShot.