It’s easy to write a bad newsletter. Let me show you how.
1. Too long between issues
Newsletters are a nuisance to write. You never know what to say so you push it to one side while you try to think up something brilliant. Evasive action gets you through this month, so you do it again next time. Then just when you’ve perfected your system, one day guilt appears. So you churn out a newsletter and off it goes…
“Who the hell is this?” and “I don’t remember signing up for this.” Flaming spammer… Hit that unsubscribe button fast!
Moral: Stay in regular touch with your people. You’re building a relationship with them, remember?
2. Sales, sales, sales
If you’ve got to do a newsletter it had better bring a return for your efforts. Maybe you should tell them about your new product and perhaps put a special offer in on the side. A testimonial will show how good you are. Better add that. What else? Oh, don’t forget that affiliate link. That might bring in a bit of cash.
How much money do they think I’ve got? Why would I buy this stuff? I don’t really know anything about it. And, it’s all ads. There’s nothing worth reading so no point saving it. Delete!
Moral: Your readers want information, not sales material. Share information with them. Educational content will stay in their memories a lot longer than sales material. It’s the content that will lead them to buy.
3. Poor layout
I wonder how much I can fit in. If I squeeze the ads into one side I can add all the text in the middle. Ah, I’d better put in a picture of the product if there is room…
OMG! What is all this? Where do I start? I’m not reading this. It will take me forever to get through it all. No headings, no dot points – bah! Delete!
Moral: Blocks of text, no images and messy layouts make the newsletter too hard to read. If they can’t scan it and pick up a sense of the content, they won’t read it at all.
4. No opening message
Let’s get into this. Who cares if I’ve become a parent for the first time or if the business has just won an award? Why bother saying hello or wishing them a good month. Just tell them what I want them to know and that will be plenty.
This must have been written by a machine. There’s no human contact in here at all. And, I hate it when it says “you all.” I’m me, not one of a crowd. If you’re going to send this stuff, send it to ME.
Moral: Social content is important. It’s what gives people a chance to connect with you and it’s what shows your human side. If you want to build a relationship with your readers, you have to include some personal content.
5. Nothing to click on
I’m glad that’s done. I’ll throw on a buy now button and that will do. That gives me some way to measure the results. A few sales will be great.
I don’t want to buy that yet. Isn’t there something else to look at? What else can I look at? It doesn’t lead me anywhere.
A call to action isn’t always about “buy now.” You can call people to your blog or Facebook page. You can call them to check out a video link or complete a puzzle. You can call them to enter a competition. A call to action is something that makes your readers do something in response to what they’ve read. It gets them interacting with you and it’s a great way to measure which part of your newsletter is most interesting.
See? It’s easy to do a bad job, isn’t it? But if you’re going to write a newsletter, why not write one that works? It might take a little longer but the results will be worth it.
So, are you going to kill off your list or nurture it?