Newsletters vs Marketing Emails: the difference and when to use them

Published April 7, 2021 | Written by Elias Charbel

Newsletters and marketing emails are the most popular types of outbound campaigns used by marketers, and by chemical suppliers as well. They are both quite simple to execute, effective to reach a target audience, and easy to track and measure performance.

Over the past 20 years, we have been using both targeted emails and newsletters at SpecialChem. These solutions to help suppliers of specialty chemicals and materials to increase their brand awareness, give a massive exposure to their products or content, and engage new customers from their target audience — mostly engineers, formulators, and specifiers who are considered the technical buyers.

If you are reading this article, you certainly want to know what makes each of them different, and when you should consider them in your digital marketing plan. So, let us dig in.


What is a Newsletter?

A newsletter is an email sent to a list of subscribers on a regular basis. It usually provides news and educational content about a specific theme or topic, aligned with the expertise of the provider or website from which it is sent.

You can build and send your own email newsletters to your own subscribers, or even book promotional slots in third-party’s newsletters.

This is one possibility that we offer at SpecialChem. For example, we have 3 different newsletters issues that suppliers of specialty chemicals and materials can use to reach our community. The issues are:

  • Industry News / Bi-weekly: Keep up with the latest and hottest news in the specialty chemicals and materials industries.

  • Product Selection / Weekly: Get expert knowledge to assist in product selection: latest product launches, detailed info on technologies and suppliers, selection guides, online webinars, and courses…

  • Technical Solutions / Monthly: Go further with this monthly bulletin that focuses on key technical challenges and solutions.

As we cover 5 industries, we send 15 different issues every month with an average of 45,000 global subscribers per issue. This makes our newsletters a leading outbound channel to reach the technical material specifiers and buyers in the plastic, additives, cosmetics, adhesives, and coatings spaces.


When to use Newsletters?

Newsletters are great to influence your future buyers when they look for helpful content and resources, or when they keep an eye on the industry news. It is less intrusive than a marketing email as subscribers are aware of the sending frequency. The audience is usually broad, global and reaches several parts of the value chain.

We recommend newsletters when you want to:

  • Reach a broad audience.
  • Share educational content or information about your products.
  • Engage future customers when they screen solutions.
  • Generate leads to feed your sales and marketing contact database (from third-parties’ newsletters only).
  • Assert your leadership in a target market or industry.
  • Launch a new product and broaden your market reach.
  • Promote a specific event (webinar, trade show, conference…).
  • Collect broad market feedback from a given audience.

What is a marketing email?

A marketing email is sent to a targeted list of recipients that requests them to take a specific action. These actions usually help your prospects to progress in their buying process as well as retain your customers.

Typical marketing emails include:

  • Welcome emails to say ‘Hi’ to the people who create member profiles or register for the first time on your website — and who agreed to receive marketing emails.
  • Promotional emails to send special offers or invitations to events.
  • Nurturing emails to share educational documents or information to help your prospective customers progress in their buying journey.
  • Retention emails to maintain a good relationship with your customers.
  • Customer satisfaction emails to gain feedback on what needs to be improved.
  • Transactional emails to confirm buying processes.

Recipients provide their acceptance or subscribe to receive emails, but they will not necessarily receive all your emails. Only the people who match your target audience for this communication should receive them.

This email can be sent from your company to your own list of contacts, or from third parties to their own audiences. This is what we do at SpecialChem. Suppliers of specialty chemicals and materials can promote their solutions and nurture their target audience with our marketing emails.
You can use several criteria to target the audience that you want to engage.

In B2B, the typical targeting criteria are:

  • Type of company (formulator, compounder, converter, OEM...)
  • Job position and department.
  • Interests based on the past activities on the website.
  • Interests based on the information provided by the contact, usually upon registration.
  • Geographical location.

When to use Marketing Emails?

Marketing emails are excellent to set your prospective customers and marketing leads in motion. They deliver best when they are used to target the right person at the right time with the right message.

We recommend you use marketing emails to:

  • Target a specific audience: job position, company activity or region for example.
  • Target professionals who have shown an interest in your company, solutions or even interest in competitive alternatives and companies.
  • Nurture and engage with those material specifiers and technical buyers who interacted with your content.
  • Generate leads for your sales and marketing funnel (from third-parties’ emails only).
  • Launch a new product to quickly initiate first engagements.
  • Promote a specific event (webinar, trade show, conference…).
  • Collect broad or targeted market feedback.
  • Keep your promotional messages private from competitors.

Own vs Third Party: what is best for you?

During my first calls with prospective leads, I often see two scenarios when discussing targeted email and newsletter options:

  1. “Well we have our own contact database and we already send them emails and newsletters. Why would we need to promote our solutions in yours?

  2. “We don’t have newsletters, and we don’t really send emails to our leads and customers. Should we? Or is SpecialChem enough?

Well, my answer is the same in both cases. First, there is absolutely no competition between your own marketing actions and those that you run on third-party websites.

And second, third-party websites are complementary and unavoidable to broaden your market reach and engage your future customers at the right time on the channels they use to progress in their buying journey.

By focusing only on your own database, you are missing all the other material specifiers and technical buyers who routinely use other websites to self-educate on the specialty chemicals and materials they need for their formulations or applications.

For example, our visitors use SpecialChem websites to ease their material selection. Most of our newsletter subscribers are looking for helpful resources about new products or technologies. And when they visit our website or open the newsletters, they may not yet have known that your solution exists.

This is why you must always consider third-party channels, for marketing emails, newsletters and all the other marketing solutions they may provide that could fit into your digital strategy.



Do you want to reach engineers, formulators and specifiers of specialty chemicals and materials?
Promote your content and products to the largest audience of technical buyers in the plastic, coating, adhesive and cosmetic spaces. Reach 45,000+ subscribers via our newsletters or target your future customers with nurturing emails.