Introduction to WordPress Newsletters

Hey there! Welcome to a brand new post series on WordPress newsletters, marketing, and its underlying psychology. I’ve split this guide into two parts so that’s it’s easy for you to read!

The first part is for those who are new to newsletter subscriptions. It talks about how newsletters work, their use and importance.

The second part of the guide is for the seasoned veteran who’s come here for the psychology study. For the newcomer, I’d recommend giving this guide an easy read – end to end. This’ll help you better understand the psychology behind the first part. Let’s get started!

So What Exactly is a Newsletter?

For those of you who are totally new to the word newsletter, simply put, it’s an email sent by a person or an organization that’s delivered straight to your inbox. You subscribe to an organization’s newsletter to receive news, events, promotional material (like discount coupons) similar things. generally sent by a company’s website, blog, or an academic site – anything that generates or curates content.

An email list is a list of email addresses that have been collected with the owner’s permission. You collect your website/blog visitors’ email addresses to build an email list. You then send out emails (newsletters) to this email list.

Example of a newsletter subscription box

If you are a subscriber, a newsletter is a one stop shop for all the updates, blog posts and promotions from a particular blog or company website. If you’re a marketer, blogger, or run a product/service business online –  an email list is like a hall full of people waiting to hear about your product. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Pocket’s Newsletter

Check out this example of the weekly newsletter from Pocket. They contain the best stories from around the world. The newsletter has a three-fold benefits.

Simply put, newsletter management is one of the most (if not the most) important responsibilities of a digital marketer.

Why Does Everybody Stress the Importance of Email Lists?

You might have noticed that every successful online entrepreneur, business, marketer and blogger stresses on the importance of newsletters, sometimes also called email lists. Anyone who has been able to make a profit from the Internet, almost always recommends newsletters as a great way to generate leads. Let’s try to understand why.

Following are some of the traditional benefits of an email list or newsletter:

  1. Maintaining a steady flow of traffic in your website.
  2. Promoting your new or updated products and services.
  3. Communicating important news and events of your brand.
  4. Generating additional revenue through sponsored content.

Newsletters in the Age of Big Data

Now let us consider the importance of newsletters in the age of big data.

Defining Scarcity and the Safehouse

Did you know that one hundred hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute? Or 2 million blog posts are published every day? In today’s media-centric world, the only thing that’s scarce is time and attention. Data is being generated at an unimaginably fast rate, which isn’t humanely possible to consume.

One of the safe-houses from all this chaos – a digital sanctuary, if you will – is in an individual’s inbox. That’s the one place the person goes to every single day to find content that interests him. Now here’s a keyword we’re looking for – interest. A person is interested in a product/website only when it piques his curiosity and he wants to learn about/from it. He is ready to spare a few moments of his time –  which, in most cases, entails his attention.

How does he go about doing it? Hey could:

The third one is what we’re interested in today. A newsletter subscription has the most personal touch compared to the rest. Here’s why –

The average digital user spends 7 hours on the mobile phone every day. When he subscribes to your newsletter, a dedicated superhighway is built between you and your subscriber. You are allowed VIP access through all the chaos. (Lucky you!)

Your content now has a way to directly reach your subscriber’s most personal device – his phone. And where is his phone? Either in his pocket, or within a moment’s reach. You might be reading this article from your phone!

Newsletters create express highways between you and your subscriber’s inbox.

The “Junk Inbox”

I’m probably overselling newsletter subscriptions – but you get the flow don’t you? Consider my example. I have two work inbox-es and one junk inbox which I occasionally visit when I’m bored. In case you were wondering, junk inboxes are meant for those newsletters that you must subscribe in order to unlock a potentially valuable e-resource, like a whitepaper or e-book. I’m extremely selective about the newsletters I subscribe to.  Only a handful of them make it to my work inbox. Those that do are invaluable, and I personally respond to the emails.

A work inbox in the 21st century is the storehouse of all the “needle in a haystack” content – those select few ones that “make it”. Your aim should not be to reach any inbox. You aim should be to reach a person’s work inbox.


Here’s a quick summary of this article:

In the next article of our series, we’ll learn how to setup the free Mailchimp newsletter service for WordPress.