I have a lot of creator friends on Twitter.

Most don’t understand the difference between newsletters and email marketing. They think both are the same thing.

For example, it’s common to see questions like this: “How do I create a newsletter?”

When I ask, “Do you mean how to create a newsletter or how to build an email list?”

They reply, “Aren’t they the same thing?”

The answer is: they seem similar but are actually different.

An email list is a group of folks who have expressed interest in wanting to hear more from us via emails.

The “want to hear more from us” can be in the form of a newsletter, or it can be in a different form — for example, regular emails that are not newsletters.

Here are the differences between Newsletters vs Email Marketing.

1/ CTA to join email list

Newsletter: Subscribe to my public speaking / fitness / cooking newsletter.

Basically, there’s no hook on why folks should give their email address, other than the promise of a future newsletter.

Email Marketing: 3 easy steps to conquer stage fright and speak confidently on stage, even if this is you’re doing this for the first time. Enter your email address so I can send it to you free.

Email marketers will always use a hook like this (lead magnet) to get people’s email addresses.

2/ Purpose

Newsletter: Readership oriented

Kinda like a magazine publisher. The focus is on how many readers / subscribers read the newsletter content.

Email marketing: Sales oriented

This group of people believes that the goal of emails is to generate sales so their business thrives.

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3/ Content type

Newsletter: For the most part, newsletters provide valuable and helpful content.

Email marketing: The content is more story based and entertaining than it is helpful. It can still be helpful… just not as helpful as newsletters.

But it’s more unique and relatable because this type of email shows the personal human side of the sender too — it’s not just about “providing value with helpful content” all the time.

4/ Content source

Newsletter: Create unique content or curate content from other sources. Like a “Best posts around the web this month regarding Apple gadgets”.

Email marketing: Let’s create our own content.

5/ Monetization

Newsletter: Mostly make money from sponsorships / ads, some earn via a paid newsletter, while a minority also make money selling their own offers.

Email Marketing: Make money from selling their own offers (products and / or services).

6/ Automation

Newsletter: No automation. It’s all about sending one-off emails in real time.

Email Marketing: Relies heavily on automation to make evergreen, automated sales.

This means that even if no real-time emails are sent today or next week or next month, sales would still come in from the automation.

7/ Segmentation

Newsletter: No segmentation. They send email newsletters to all subscribers.

Email Marketing: Depending on the goal of each email, email marketers send emails only to the intended and relevant segment.

8/ Frequency

Newsletter: Typically follows a schedule — monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, etc.

Email Marketing: Outside of the already set-up email automation, other emails (called “broadcasts” by this gang) typically have no set schedule. They send emails as they see fit.

There is a tiny group of email marketers who send daily emails though.

So which one is better? Newsletter or Email Marketing?

I’m gonna give you the most hated and overrated answer in the history of marketing, “It depends.” 😎

Both serve different purposes.

Go for newslettrs if you:

  • just want to provide value without anything in return (i.e. you’re already rich and have no need to earn a living through this)
  • want to make money via sponsorships / ads or a paid newsletter
  • love to create really awesome content
  • like to curate other people’s content

Go for email marketing if you:

  • want to make the most amount of money while solving other people’s problems
  • hate spending tons of time creating the most helpful content only to give them away for free

Email is fun,

Welly “def in the email marketing gang” Mulia

Welly Mulia

👋 My customers (Content Creators) send 30M emails/month via BirdSend. They save 80% in email tool expenses every month while still enjoying high email opens.

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