Email newsletters aren't exactly the most current marketing topic, but I think it was worthwhile for MarketingProfs to recycle an old piece on email newsletter mistakes. As I read it, I noticed that I still see many of these mistakes today - especially #4 (bad headers) and #5 (making it hard to unsubscribe).
As usual I have a nit (I guess I'm like that...). Their mistake #1 is "confusing newsletter with promotions" and they write:
Many marketers don't make the distinction between an email newsletter and email promotions. The latter are action-oriented; designed to provoke some kind of (immediate) response through a click, a sign-up, a purchase, whatever. They're what most people think of under the term opt-in email marketing.
Email newsletters may contain action-related elements, but their real potential lies in building, over time, a lasting, long-term relationship with the reader. Which means they may not try and induce any kind of immediate action at all. Instead, they create a climate, an environment, a relationship which predisposes the reader to taking such an action at some other time.
I don't think the distinction was ever that clear; I think it's less clear now, with things like blogs taking on more of the relationship role. And frankly, for some consumer-oriented newsletters, I expect a promotion; the day that Borders starts sending me newsletters without coupons is the day I unsubscribe.
Still, it's worth thinking about the basic mistakes they identify next time you're putting an email newsletter together.