Be Selective, Be Effective

Both eblasts and newsletters are effective means of communicating with your developer community. Each of these tactics has positive and negative attributes which will impact your decision as to when to use them. Eblasts and newsletters are not mutually exclusive; both eblasts and newsletters can be integrated into your strategy and campaign plans. Before we compare the two, let’s review the definition of each:

  • Eblasts

Eblasts are dedicated advertising emails delivered directly to your subscribers’ inbox. Eblasts are often used to promote things like a specific time-sensitive offer, event, product launch, service, or campaign. They’re best for promotion, and they entice your audience with a strong call to action to do something immediately. Many developer communities offer the opportunity to send eblasts to their opted-in mailing list of developers who want to hear from brands.

  • Newsletters

A number of newsletters focus on the developer audience. Newsletters are collections of curated content with sponsored advertising, delivered on a scheduled basis to a list of subscribers.  Advertising in a newsletter offers the benefit of planned frequency, repetition, and a context which complements your product or service.

When Should You Use Eblasts or Newsletters?

In the table below, we compare each tactic in the context of 5 critical factors:

  • Context
  • Timing and Frequency
  • Content
  • Efficiency
  • Cost


Tactic Comparison


ContextEblast– The context is communicated to the reader by your header. An engaging opening message will arouse the curiosity of the reader.
Consider eblasts for product announcements, offers, or events. They communicate “something special.”
Newsletter– In the right context, newsletter content should support your advertising message.
The newsletter can be used to reinforce your brand and your messaging, through exposure over time and repetition.
Timing and FrequencyEblast – schedule determined by the sender. Can be scheduled at any time. Delivery mechanics must comply with anti-SPAM regulations.The eblast has the advantage when you want to get immediate attention or have a time-bound event or offering you want to promote.
Newsletter– regularly and dependably scheduled by the publisher of the newsletter and opted-into by the receiver. Newsletters have the advantage of being released on a regular basis, and readers (ideally) expect and look forward to receiving them.The newsletter has the advantage when you want to take advantage of multiple impressions through frequent exposure.
ContentEblast – controlled by the sender. Eblasts offer targeted content to your audience and are a highly focused form of communication.Because of the focus factor, the eblast is good for perishable information, or limited-time offers.
Newsletter – While you are competing for readers’ attention because of other ads and content, you have the benefit of multiple exposures over time.Careful selection of the right newsletter will bring the benefit of content which complements and attracts your product or service.
EfficiencyEblast – If you have a solid subscriber list, a good product that addresses a need in your audience, and your timing is right, eblasts are an efficient method to get your message across.

Both the newsletter and the eblast are efficient in delivering your advertising message. The actual efficiency can be hard to measure, and depends on your product and messaging.
Newsletter – If you place your ad in a respected newsletter and the messaging resonates with your target audience, then it is efficient.
CostThere are a lot of variables in the cost of either of these methods. Whether you are doing it yourself or using an agency, the costs of creative development, graphic design, placement, compliance, and analytics should all be factored in.A targeted email blast will cost more because you are using a targeted, opted-in subscriber list, which is more exclusive than sending a non-targeted newsletter. Additional benefits of the eblast include exclusive sponsorship and the flexibility to market multiple promotions.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term

These two tactics should address your strategic intent. Is your ad part of a short-term or long-term strategy for your product or service? For a product that needs a quick boost, an eblast offers the opportunity to “get in your developer’s face” with a message that carries some degree of urgency. A prime example is an event that you are sponsoring, promoting, or participating in.  For longer-term campaigns where the subject is complex and can be stretched out over time, newsletters offer the ability to “serialize” your messaging.

Capability Begets Complexity

Like so many things in life, the choice between using a newsletter or eblast campaign depends not on any specific attribute, but on an aggregate of factors and the specifics of your products and campaign goals. Developer marketing is best approached in a holistic manner, taking into account the needs of your audience, their preferences, and then matching the attributes of your products and the solutions they provide.


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