Ads in Emails

The legend of Jeanne Jennings has written two articles, for Clickz, about 3rd party advertising in your marketing emails.
Tips for Selling Ads in E-mail Newsletters, Part 1 & Tips for Selling Ads in E-mail Newsletters, Part 2

It is something that a lot of people would like to do but cannot allocate the amount of time it takes to actually implement in a way that does not annoy the recipients.

This is a complex thought process but can be extremely lucrative if done correctly.

It is not something that can work for everyone and more often than not it is more suited for content publishers than on-line sellers. This is mainly because senders with an e-commerce click through target want everything to go to their shop and not risk competitors as the ads would normally be trying to do that too.

At the surface level you decide where on the email the ads are going to go and then if everyone will be getting the same ads or you want to make it targeted. I expect most people to be doing the same ads for everyone.

Then you decide how you are going to charge: one sum to have the ad on there – yellow pages style; cost per click – Google Ads style; cost per acquisition – don’t bother cos you can’t control the landing pages.

If you have the profiling available for each person you could really go to town on it and make the ads dynamic depending on the interests and behavioural actions you have per recipient! This could be stage two, once you have recorded the Ad actions of recipients on the generic ads, you may then have enough data to target. You could also push small surveys here and there to help this better – a bit like the preference centres extension.

Some companies will do a dedicated 3rd party mailing once a month or so, this can be more lucrative in bursts but over time you are likely to see the list shrink.

Either way the important thing is to take ownership of the ads and make sure that the recipients know that it is still you, only you get their data and you don’t share it with anyone else!

This can be a good complementary revenue stream to your normally emailings but as soon as you start thinking of it a separate thing or allow it to take priority over the reason why people signed up in the first place your list and your relationship with your customers will suffer.

It was Seth Godin who said that interruption is bad, so don’t allow the ads to get in the way of the content on the page but it is not interrupting if the content you supply is accompanied by ads which complement the content in a non intrusive way.
For the actual implementation tips check out Jeanne’s articles from Aug 10, 2009 & Aug 24, 2009.

Finally, normally you put the Ads on the right to stop stops them intruding on the main content. This is because people read from the left.
But one thing I’ve noticed and something that Google tried recently, is that if you put the Ads on the left they will get more clicks!
You have to decide if your recipients will tolerate, or even notice, that they have to read your content from further over in the screen!