Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Email Newsletter Mistakes

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.


om strategy said...

hi, John, how are you?

This is a nice post pointing out something that goes on every day.

On the point about borders, for me personally it's more about 'value' than coupons. If Borders could replace those coupons with something else that would add value to your life, would you still unsubscribe?


John Whiteside said...

Sure, if there's value. It's hard to figure out what that would be.

The coupons do work well. They get me into the store - I've always got a list of books I want to pick up, and the coupons get me over there.