An email list is a great way to connect with loyal customers, building increased brand awareness and culture. Your email newsletters are also an ideal place to drop highly relevant, interesting ads from other brands. Your customers can learn about and connect with new products and services that might be interesting to them, and you can monetize your email newsletters to make them even more valuable to your business than they already are.
But many businesses don't take this step out of fear that they'll lose hard-won subscribers as soon as advertisements go live. After all, ads are one of the few things the internet as a whole agrees on, and the agreement is that ads are bad, right?
That's actually a misconception. People don't hate all ads. And with the right methods, you can monetize your list and make more money, all without alienating your subscribers. Data from a recent Mantis Research study even indicates that many people are likely to act in a positive way (clicking through) on ads that are relevant and interesting to them. Here's what you need to know about monetizing your email list based on that research.
Ads of the Right Type Don't Tend to Bother Most Users
The majority of people who receive email newsletters are unfazed by advertising included therein. Around 40 percent say they aren't bothered by the ads, and around 15 percent say they don't even really notice the ads. Which doesn't mean the ads are invisible but probably means those users see ads as part of the entire email package — as native content to be interacted with or not according to interest.
In fact, users will engage in advertising that matches their interests. Around two-thirds of adults said they would click ads in an email if they aligned with their personal interests.
But Ads Have to Be Relevant and Interesting
Yes, you can monetize your email newsletters. But you have to set some parameters so the advertisers and ads you include are relevant to your audience base. Otherwise, it comes across as spamming, and that is not something anyone tends to be tolerant of. With the level of automation and analytical intelligence built into advertising tools online today such as PowerInbox there's also little reason to fall into this trap. It's fairly easy for anyone to set advertising parameters to avoid sending a Gen Z audience content that's targeted to baby boomers, for example.
Ad campaigns that perform strongly within email newsletters — without driving away subscribers — also tend to take other parameters into account. Many people don't want to see ads for things they've already purchased, for example — around 63 percent of Gen Z respondents in the Mantis Research study noted that this was actually one of the most annoying types of ads to see repeatedly.
Understand Your Audience
Understanding your audience helps you ensure that ads are relevant and interesting, but it also lets you know where the line with advertising actually lies. While the majority of people of all ages don't seem to detest the idea of relevant advertising, younger generations tend to be more accepting of them. They're also more likely to click through when an ad draws their attention in a good way. Consider these stats from the Mantis Research study.
62 percent of millennials and 50 percent of Gen Zers aren't bothered by advertising in email newsletters.
Baby boomers tend to be the most likely to unsubscribe from emails when ads are present, but only about 20 percent said this was the case.
70 percent of Gen Z respondents said they'd click through on an email ad that seemed relevant to them.
Baby boomers come in slightly lower with click-through rates, but a slight majority — around 57 percent — said they would click on an interesting ad.
Email Subscribers Manage Themselves
It's important to note that email subscribers are, by and large, a self-managing lot. Almost three-quarters of all adults say they unsubscribe once they no longer wish to receive information from a publisher, and a third of millennials note that they use email programs to sort unwanted mail to avoid seeing it.
While that might sound like bad news for businesses, it's actually a good system. Email subscribers who aren't interested in your offers or content anymore don't benefit from your newsletters, and you don't benefit from their readership. A self-cleaning system ensures that your list is more likely to be relevant and active, which means when you do include ads, you'll have higher click-through rates and ROI.
The bottom line is that you have to ensure advertising is tasteful, doesn't impede on the experience of the email newsletter itself and is relevant to your target audience. When you do that, monetizing your list won't drive subscribers away and may bring additional benefits to your customers and your business.