Marketing strategy

How Newsletter Referrals Can Improve Your Marketing Strategy

This article was sponsored by Paved. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the sponsor.

Online advertising is one of the most popular and effective ways to increase brand awareness, traffic to your site, and overall revenue.

However, despite the increase in popularity, the pool of potential customers online is starting to shrink.

Paid social networks have become saturated with competitors, making it more difficult to achieve profitable earnings.

Consumers are starting to use ad blockers to reduce timeline clutter, while others are turning away from social media altogether.

Luckily, there’s a new way to bypass ad blockers and meet highly qualified prospects: Sponsored Ads in Newsletters.

Sponsored Ads in Newsletters Can Help reach millions of people at the right time in the customer journey.

What are newsletter referrals?

Newsletter referrals are paid advertisements that are placed in existing, high performing, high engagement and active newsletters or mailing lists.

By connecting to verified email posts that have a large subscriber base, proven open rates, and high click-through rates, you can be sure to reach millions of qualified applicants with just one ad from newsletter or a single newsletter sponsorship.

What is the benefit of newsletter sponsorship?

When you sponsor a newsletter relevant to your product, you have the opportunity to send your message directly to an existing and qualified community.

Think of newsletters as podcasts and newsletter referrals as podcast referrals.

In podcast referrals, the host forwards the message from their approved referrer directly to their existing community. Those established podcast listeners are likely to be interested in the content of the ad.

In newsletter referrals, the owner of the email post forwards your message directly to their email distribution list.

Since you’ve chosen a relevant business to partner with, these recipients will likely be interested in your ad.

Screenshot of Morning Brew’s daily newsletter, November 2021

How Sponsored Ads in Newsletters Outperform Social Media Ads

Social networks are an essential part of the marketing strategies of many businesses.

In fact, Facebook’s May 2020 State of Small Business report found that 160 million businesses use the tech company’s social media apps every month.

Features like customer analytics and targeted advertising have increasingly enabled small businesses to compete with established businesses, making social media advertising a top choice for new brands.

However, the increase in the number of users also comes with an increase in challenges that make it more difficult to capture qualified leads.

Paid challenges on social networks

Despite the popularity of social media ads, they are not a perfect solution.

The main drawbacks of social media advertising, from the growing popularity of ad blockers to ad blindness and mistrust of social media, make it harder for businesses to achieve a high return on investment.

Ad blockers

As marketers, we love good publicity. However, most consumers do not share our passion.

In fact, many don’t like ads so much that they will literally pay to avoid them.

About 42.7% of internet users reported using ad blockers, according to a 2021 Hootsuite report.

The problem:

  • You can devote your time and budget to creating an engaging Facebook campaign, and it can be blocked by at least half of your target audience.

Advertising blindness

Have you ever run a social media campaign that got a lot of impressions but barely any engagement?

There is a reason for this – advertising blindness.

Advertising blindness refers to the phenomenon in which consumers ignore banner-type information.

This often happens subconsciously, as users seek to avoid distractions.

The problem:

  • On a subconscious level, many users pick up patterns to identify which posts are advertisements. Then, while browsing, they will automatically scroll through the marketing posts in their feed.


59% of consumers expect information on social media to be grossly inaccurate, as a 2020 study from the Pew Research Center found.

The constant misinformation and privacy concerns on social media platforms have caused consumers to revoke their trust in these digital spaces.

The problem:

  • Many consumers may approach social media ads with some skepticism.

How do newsletter referrals solve these problems?

Newsletter referrals are like social media ads, only better – they’re digital, highly targeted, and effective at any stage of the customer journey.

However, newsletter sponsorships, such as newsletter ads, compensate for areas where social media ads are insufficient.

They offer a more personalized and trustworthy alternative, excelling in direct reach, relevance and credibility.

Direct reach

Advertisements in newsletters cannot be blocked by ad blockers.

On top of that, they get delivered right to their target audience’s inbox.

Whether you host a dedicated email sponsorship or a small placement in an existing newsletter, your audience will be more likely to interact with your brand directly.

By launching a newsletter sponsorship campaign, you will have a better chance of catching the attention of your potential customers.


Newsletter subscribers are a passionate bunch. After all, who else would want to receive a newsletter on the same subject on a daily or weekly basis?

When you sponsor a newsletter, you can reach your target audience exactly where they are.

Is your target audience made up of travel enthusiasts looking for deals on flights and hotels? If so, you can sponsor a Zoomcake newsletter.

Are you promoting a product that helps customers relax before their nighttime routine? Partner with Sleep Realm to reach subscribers who want a better night’s sleep.

Whatever your niche, you’ll likely find a newsletter community that matches it.

By identifying the common interests of your target audience, you can present your brand to more engaged readers.

You will reach more qualified prospects and they will have access to great offers or product recommendations – this is a win-win scenario.


It’s no secret that newsletters have a huge advantage over other media channels when it comes to consumer confidence.

A Mantis Research survey found that 60% of adults subscribe to at least one email newsletter, while online-only media received a trust rating of just 55% among consumers.

When you sponsor a newsletter, it’s almost like the publisher is personally recommending your brand to their readers.

Rather than appearing as a random, stand-alone ad, you’ll be able to borrow the trust the newsletter has established with its audience.

How you could reach millions of people with just one newsletter ad

Launching your newsletter sponsorship campaign is similar to developing any marketing plan.

To create a newsletter sponsorship campaign, you must:

  • Identify your goals.
  • Choose your partner (s).
  • Design your creation.
  • Analyze the performance of your ad.

1. Identify your goals

Having a goal in mind is crucial to building a successful campaign. Start by thinking about what you want to get out of it.

Do you want to boost your notoriety? Driving traffic to your blog? Gain qualified leads?

Once you have an idea, choose clear parameters and KPIs. How much traffic do you want to generate? How many leads would you like to gain?

Structure your goal using the acronym SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

2. Collaborate with successful companies

Choose the right partner with whom to run a successful referral campaign. When selecting a company to work with, focus on three key areas:

  • Value: Pay attention to the value of the ad with metrics like cost per click (CPC).
  • Niche: Get the most qualified leads by making sure your ad is placed in front of people whose interests match your target audience. Find a post in the same industry or directly adjacent to it.
  • Demographic: Finally, you’ll want to make sure the reader demographics match your target audience.

To gather the information you need, you can request a media kit from each of your potential partners while you do your research.

Alternatively, you can use a directory like the Paved Marketplace to search for newsletters by category and to find performance statistics and pricing information.

3. Design your advertising creation

Your design guidelines may vary depending on the newsletter you are sponsoring.

Some will offer a range of options depending on your price, ranging from a single block of text to a dedicated email.

4. Analyze the performance of your ad

Once you’ve started your newsletter sponsorship, you’ll want to track your results.

Keep an eye on metrics like opens and clicks to gauge your engagement.

You can even calculate cost per acquisition (CPA) by combining your referral engagement metrics with your landing page conversion rate.

The Paved platform simplifies this step by monitoring your performance indicators from the start of your sponsorship. This way advertisers can check their results in real time without disturbing the publisher.

Easily Launch Your Campaign – Join a Sponsored Newsletter Marketplace

You can register as an advertiser on Paved to launch your newsletter sponsorship campaign.

Image credits

Featured Image: Image by Paved. Used with permission.