Put the news back into newsletters

Put the news back into newsletters

When I first started writing newsletters, my purpose was to convey information to customers, employers, members, voters and others.

As a result, the people I was writing for were able to communicate with these well-targeted audiences to deliver valued information, establish credibility and build relationships.

Marketing antics
Then the marketing guys horned in, churning out newsletters with lots of exclamation points, flashy graphics and mail-in coupons. However, astute people knew these were really advertisements, just as they weren’t hoodwinked by advertorials and infomercials.

Soon the marketing pros were embracing electronic newsletters. Sure, they would provide some news, but most were blatant attempts to drive you to their web site to make a purchase. That’s why their success is measured in click-through rates and sales.

Again, the smart people knew this was advertising, though usually several notches above the dreaded spam. These people still loved receiving information-filled newsletters. But now they could forward them to friends and colleagues, link to related information, vote on polls and send back comments.

Newsletters aren’t shopping centres
If they wanted to buy something, generally, they went to a store. Sure, many of them shopped on-line too, but mostly for specific items such as software or books their local store didn’t have in stock.

At Stickemail, we think newsletters should build relationships by sharing information with a well-defined target. Making sales may be a desired end-product. But the long process of building confidence and trust, not one-time sales, is what our clients and their audiences appreciate most.

We don’t expect that most of our readers will become our clients. But many will come to value our expertise. And if someone asks them for a recommendation, they just might mention us. Or not.

3 ways to spur action in inboxes

a preview pane that relies on clear, compelling text
writing and design tailored to scanning
content that’s targeted to specific groups
1. Clear preview panes
In WebDigest for Marketers, Larry Chase advises publishers to rely on text, not graphics, to lead people to open their e-mail because images are blocked by default in the popular Outlook.

Even when readers click to download the pictures, they still have to be lured in by the preview pane.

That’s why it’s so important, in the first few inches, to clearly articulate your main message and give readers a reason to open the email.

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