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The art of the newsletter


Newsletters are popular marketing tools. Done well, they can be incredibly effective. Unfortunately, most people’s efforts end up in the circular file before anyone has bothered to read them. Why? Because the editors committed too many newsletter no-nos. If you’re in charge of your company’s newsletter, be mindful to avoid these mistakes.

No grand plan: Your newsletter needs to have a vision. Without one, it’s just a hodgepodge of articles that have no continuity. It’s hard to build reader loyalty without a vision. Make sure you identify your key audiences and what you’re trying to get them to do/know.

Too much ego: Sure, your newsletter is a sales tool. But be careful that you don’t toot your own horn to the point of arrogance. Celebrate your product/service’s excellence, but do so with case studies or client testimonials rather than in the first person.

Not providing value: We live in a “what’s in it for me” society. Your newsletter is fighting for your readers’ most precious asset — their time. So make it worthwhile. Give them new information or insights so they look forward to receiving your newsletter.

Inconsistency: Hitting deadlines is tough, and it’s tempting to let them slide. But if you promise a quarterly or monthly newsletter, then it needs to come out on time. Every time. What do you think it says about your business if you don’t keep your promise on newsletter deadlines?

Lack of interaction: Give your readers a chance to talk back. An e-mail address, a contest, a bounceback card, a URL that solicits feedback. Make it a conversation rather than a monologue.

Newsletters are a lot of work. Make sure all the effort you put into your publication pays off. Avoid these newsletter no-nos and you’ll have loyal readers for life.

Drew McLellan is Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group and the author of “99.3 Random Acts of Marketing.” He can be reached at Drew@MclellanMarketing.com.

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