There are good reasons e-newsletters are a dying marketing tool. Many are filled with mistakes — not as glaring as typos, although they can certainly be a factor.
The simple truth is that most people don’t know how to design or send an e-newsletter. It’s something that should be left to marketing professionals, but that’s not always possible. Knowing what drives customers away is key to understanding how to keep them. If you can avoid the common errors, e-newsletters can still work wonders as a marketing tool.
Take a look at the seven biggest reasons why people are passing on this form of marketing.
1. Unresponsive design
Responsive design simply means that your newsletter can be read on any platform, whether it’s a smartphone or an old PC. If it’s not properly formatted, it can look like a jumbled mess and will be quickly deleted or filtered to the spam folder.
This is by far the easiest issue to fix, yet there are still many newsletters going out without responsive design. When customers can’t read them, they certainly won’t buy anything.
2. Too many of them
Most people get annoyed if they check their email first thing in the morning and there’s a newsletter every day. The vast majority of businesses don’t have something new to say every day. Instead, stick to a newsletter that comes out weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly. This ensures that people don’t get sick of seeing your company name in their inbox; they’re more likely to open it. Use the off-days to craft the newsletter.
3. Bad formatting
Whether it’s an ugly template, poor font choice, or so many colors they assault the eye, an ugly newsletter is a big turn-off. Unfortunately, the word “ugly” can be subjective to many people. Choose classic designs, plenty of white space, and don’t ramble. Most newsletters can be around 200 words or less, along with images or videos. People don’t read much, so don’t depend too heavily on text.
4. Timing is everything
Most people are likely to read newsletters if they’re sent Monday-Thursday during typical down times such as the 10am coffee break or 3pm slump. If newsletters are sent to clients around the world, sort them into appropriate times. If a person hears the phone beep at 3am and notices it’s a newsletter, that can be sufficiently annoying to unsub; the best-case scenario then is that the email gets buried and never seen.
5. Too many images or videos
Videos and images can make a newsletter more enticing, but try to avoid overuse. If a person has a slow connection or older platform, the images might not load at all. In that case, make sure text is available that describes what the images entail. This is another responsive design issue.
6. It looks like spam
This is perhaps the biggest reason newsletters go unread. If an email looks like spam and reads like spam, it’s probably spam. Only send email to customers who have requested information, and make sure the content is relevant. If someone purchased something only once from an e-commerce site, he or she probably doesn’t want daily ads.
7. Lack of customization
Let’s say a person ordered a yoga mat from your site and opted in for newsletters. Now ads for camping gear and hiking boots are streaming into the email box. What does that have to do with practicing yoga? Whenever possible, customize different newsletters to different groups.
Newsletters can be a great marketing tool, but only when you follow best practices. Turn to professionals for the best results. An e-newsletter might seem to be free, but what about time and labor? It’s much more effective to have an expert in your corner, instead of using blind trial and error.
Originally posted on July 24, 2013 @ 1:08 pm