Are Email Newsletters Dead?

Posted by on Oct 22 2012

There are three email newsletters I read faithfully, every single time they enter my Inbox. I subscribe to over 20 newsletters, but only three are “never miss reading” newsletters.

Would you say email newsletters are dead because I don’t read 17 immediately, or would you say it’s very much alive because of the three I read right away? (Look at the bottom of this post for the three I love.)

There’s been lots of talk among my clients and students these days, speculating on the possible demise of the email newsletter as a powerful internet marketing tool. Funny thing: I remember having this discussion back in 2005 with my internet marketing colleagues, yet email marketing is still alive and well years later.

Sending out weekly or monthly updates to your list of customers, students and mastermind group members has grown in popularity as a marketing tool ever since the Internet began.

But now people are overwhelmed with the amount of email they’re getting, so what are you to do?

There are lots of pros and cons to using email newsletters and email marketing. Let’s look at an overview:


  1. People can get to know you through your newsletters. Not just what services or products you offer, but how you think and feel about the topics you write on.
  2. If you’re sending out HTML emails, you control the look and feel of your email newsletter, and can establish a solid brand and image in people’s minds.
  3. You can track to see who opened the email and how many people clicked on the links in the email. Statistics are a crucial measure of the success of email marketing.
  4. You can customize your message to segments of your list. For example, if a group of students took an introductory-level class with me, I can offer them the advanced-level class. Or if people have expressed an interest in a specific topic, like running a mastermind group, I can send just those people a new article I’ve written on that topic.
  5. Never overlook the fact that most people are time-constrained and appreciate convenience. With the overwhelming number of places on the internet to search for information, having ONE source they can rely on is a blessing.


  1. There are many ways to get in front of your target audience with your content and news now: social media sites, your own blog, article bank sites like EzineArticles, YouTube, etc. Your newsletter is just one of a mix of marketing, education and communication techniques, and it requires more effort now to communicate through all these channels.
  2. Too much email, too much junk. People are inundated and often will ignore things in their Inbox that they can’t take care of right away or that have a lower priority. And don’t forget those nasty filters that whisk away your email before your reader even sees it!
  3. If you don’t write regularly, people are apt to forget about you. Or worse, think you’re inconsistent and therefore unreliable. Ewwww.


You need a strategy for your email marketing. (Oh, no, I used the “S” word!)

I still believe your mailing list is the hub of your internet marketing strategy. It’s the only place where people have raised their hands and said, “I want to hear from you.”

  • Putting a subscription box on your blog, where the visitor enters their email address and it gets added to your email list, will allow you to send blog posts to people who don’t visit your blog often.
  • Build your mailing list by making offers through your social media channels.
  • Put your free offer on the back of your business card so that you get subscribers via your live networking events.

Even Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner says in this interview that the way to retain people from our blogs is to get them on our email lists. He says email marketing is THE most powerful marketing technique, and I have found this to be absolutely true. He also says that your email list is your most valuable asset besides your content. Strong words from a guy who’s focus is social media marketing.

Here are some tips:

  • Above all else, offer value. When you write an article for your email newsletter (or your blog, or your Facebook posts), make sure you’re giving good information. (Read your past five newsletters…did you serve your audience well?)
  • Sixty-day rule. Remember that your subscribers are most responsive in the first 60 days of signing up for your list. Stay in contact with those folks more often than your once-a-month newsletter.
  • Loyalty counts. Reward long-time subscribers with special freebies or discounts.
  • One of many tools. Ask yourself, “What are ALL the different ways I can communicate with my audience and share my articles, advice, offers, and news?”
  • One of many lists. Think of your email list as just one list of many. Your Facebook friends are a list, your Twitter followers are a list, and your blog subscribers are a list.
  • Combine with human contact. Don’t just have an email list and think that’s enough for people to get to know you and trust you. Offer free teleclasses and webinars. Be available via Facebook or Twitter for ongoing conversations. Give live speeches both locally and nationally. Get out there and be seen – everywhere.

Email newsletters aren’t dead. They are a strategic component of your internet marketing plan. But having an integrated internet marketing strategy, mixed with some real-life connection to your audience, is what will bring success.

Oh, the three email newsletters I read faithfully?

Not only do they use their email broadcasts to strengthen their brand image, but I love the way they think and write, too.

Do you use email newsletters and email marketing in your business? I’ve love to hear your thoughts and questions!


20 comments for now

20 Responses to “Are Email Newsletters Dead?”

  1. Teresa MorrowNo Gravatar


    Thanks for an informative and relevant topic for today’s busy business lifestyle. I agree about newsletters. I don’t subscribe to a lot of newsletters but when I do it is because I don’t want to forget about the people behind the newsletter and it gives me the way to stay in touch.

    I also subscribe to feeds to those who may not have a newsletter but those I want to be sure in stay in contact with.

    I like your point about using the different types of online outlets to remain in front of your target audience…newsletter, blog, social media, video, etc.

    Nice post!


    Teresa Morrow

    05 Mar 2010 at 9:10 am

  2. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    I’m glad you found the post helpful, Teresa. There are so many internet marketing options available (42 by my last count!), that we need to create a good mix of them that suits our needs, personality, time constraints and budgets. But I’d never get rid of my email newsletter! 🙂

    05 Mar 2010 at 7:09 pm

  3. GrantNo Gravatar

    Thanks for your insights! I hear a lot of people talking negatively about e-newsletters being yesterday’s news. Thanks Karyn!

    05 Mar 2010 at 4:30 pm

  4. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    I think they can be “yesterday’s news” if a small biz owner doesn’t provide good content, or if their newsletter mailings are solely a means for selling services and products. But if you give good value, then people will love your newsletter, and will also be interested in hearing about your offerings. It’s all about respecting your reader and being helpful and informative.

    05 Mar 2010 at 7:10 pm

  5. BethNo Gravatar

    As long as there are people like me around who prefer to read information over watching videos, there will be ezines and print newsletters. Of course, there also have to be people putting them out to the public for them to exist as well. I save some in folders online and offline for reference. Long live ezines!

    08 Mar 2010 at 12:21 pm

  6. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    I agree, Beth, long live ezines! 🙂

    08 Mar 2010 at 5:23 pm

  7. Ellen Britt, PA, Ed.D.No Gravatar

    Great stuff, Karyn! Yes, I’ve unsubscribed to so many newsletters lately I can’t even count them. They have to be a VERY compelling read to make be stay on board.

    08 Mar 2010 at 1:15 pm

  8. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    Ellen, I’m whittling them down to “must read” email newsletters and “all the rest.” My test: If an email newsletter has not given me good, practical content in the past 6 issues, I unsubscribe. I don’t mind getting marketing messages from folks, but if I don’t get some “meat” in the form of strong content/articles, it’s just not worth it.

    08 Mar 2010 at 5:25 pm

  9. Lynda-Ross VegaNo Gravatar

    Very timely post, Karyn! I was in a conversation about this very subject last week. I agree with you that there are more pros than cons and your tip “above all else, offer value” is right on target. I subscribe to several email newsletters because they do offer me value and I appreciate the convenience as I am on email a lot! And thanks so much for sharing the newsletters you read faithfully! I follow Nancy too, so now I’m excited to check out your other recommendations!

    08 Mar 2010 at 5:23 pm

  10. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    Lynda, what other email newsletters do you follow faithfully?

    08 Mar 2010 at 5:26 pm

  11. AnneNo Gravatar

    I’d be interested to know what typical opt-in rates are. I am finding that less then half of those who purchase something from my online store opt in to receive my email newsletter.
    Perhaps this is part and parcel of being a product oriented business, rather than a coach or consultant. Because of that, I’m focusing more on getting people to connect via social media.

    01 Oct 2012 at 10:21 am

  12. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    Anne, I think you’re going to find that if your offer is simply, “Sign up for my newsletter,” your opt-in rates will be low. Who wants another email newsletter?

    But if you said, “Sign up for my newsletter and receive________,” and give them a REASON to look forward to your newsletter (or maybe give them a free ebook or audio for signing up), then you’ll see your opt-ins increase.

    Even if they’re already purchased something from you, you need to tell them WHY they’ll love your newsletter.

    01 Oct 2012 at 10:33 am

  13. Lalitha BrahmaNo Gravatar

    Thanks Karyn for providing the pros and cons. I use ezine as one of the ways of marketing. However some times, I end up taking too much time thinking about the content. On the flip side, ezine keeps me stay in the online business and marketing game. Reason…
    1. It helps me hone my writing and marketing skills in a non-salesy way.
    2. Reminds me that there is a list of persons that were interested in what I had to offer.
    3. Allows stay connected with my prospects/clients without stepping out.

    07 Nov 2012 at 9:08 am

  14. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    You bring up a good point, Lalitha…writing my articles for my email newsletter/blog really does help me hone my writing skills. I can get caught up in writing the content, too, and hours can roll by before it’s “just right.” 🙂

    07 Nov 2012 at 9:36 am

  15. Diana SchneidmanNo Gravatar


    Looks like you consistently read about 15% of the ezines you receive. That’s about my percentage too. About 85% of the ezines I have subscribed to automatically go into a separate email folder that I occasionally open late in the evening.

    This means that the content must be really interesting. Personally, I am more interested in business-related content than photos of someone’s kids in Halloween outfits, but there are lots of readers for the latter too.

    In addition, it means that there are many ezines on the same marketing and self-development topics. Different approaches, writing styles, personalities and even graphical designs resonate with different folks. The number of consistent readers is much smaller than the total list.


    07 Nov 2012 at 9:16 am

  16. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    Diana, I’m not sure if you got a chance to click over to the Michael Stelzner interview. He’s the owner of Social Media Examiner and has daily visitors to his blog of 500,000. He says that his open rate on email newsletters he sends is about 25%, so what you say is true: not everyone opens every email you send. For me (and I’m guessing for most folks), if the content is helpful and practical, and relates to something I want to learn about, I open and read it. I like to read meaty articles that really give great tips, so in my mind, it needs to be over 400 words. If it’s light, fluffy or off-topic, I just delete it. 🙂

    07 Nov 2012 at 9:35 am

  17. Paula ScardamaliaNo Gravatar

    I’ve reduced a lot of the newsletters I read to a regular few and even then, I sometimes don’t get to them.

    I publish one weekly and have subscribers who tell me that they wait for Tuesday morning, or know it is Tuesday morning because of my newsletter. And I have a few readers who faithfully give feedback to it.

    I’ve wondered about cutting back to every two weeks, but will continue the weekly for now.

    Thanks for the timely article.

    07 Nov 2012 at 10:13 am

  18. Paul GuyonNo Gravatar

    Karyn, thanks for the great article! I was afraid I was the only one who thought a newsletter was a good idea, despite all the buzz about social media.

    I teach my clients to be consistent, leverage good content, be authentic and accessible and provide value and they will build a good rapport with their herd!

    Email marketing is not dead, done right, it still works!

    I also recommend you have a print newsletter for many reasons, but that is a different story for another day!

    Thanks again for the interesting articles!

    07 Nov 2012 at 12:38 pm

  19. Pam LuteyNo Gravatar

    Dear Karyn,
    I have loved your information for years. I have a Pinterest site and would love to be able to pin your information but I saw the information at the bottom of this page and think you would not allow me to do that.
    Let me know your policy.


    10 Nov 2012 at 1:46 pm

  20. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    Hi, Pam,

    I turned on the “Pinterest Share” button on all the blog posts, so you should be able to pin any of them now! 🙂


    11 Nov 2012 at 12:02 pm

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