Avoid These Top Five Newsletter Mistakes

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You might ask, “Do we really need another newsletter?” There as many daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly newsletters out there than there are grains of sand on the beaches of the world.

There are informative newsletters and sales flyers masquerading as newsletters. There are simple text and HTML-based newsletters. There are one-page newsletters and others that compete in length with the United States Constitution.

At first the decision to publish a newsletter seems simple. Our competitors have newsletters therefore we need one. Theirs come out monthly, so ours need to be monthly. Theirs are HTML-based, so ours need to look the same. Many first-time newsletter publishers have made this mistake. Launching a newsletter because their competition has one is not the right reason to have a publication.

If you are contemplating a newsletter, keep it simple, keep it interesting, keep it short, keep to a publication schedule, and keep it newsworthy.

Avoid these top five mistakes when executing your newsletter strategy:

• Counting the Cost – newsletters can drain resources. Think back to the time you spent too much energy writing one more article, searching for a special quote, or mining some factoid. If the newsletter editor is not careful, the publication could be a drain on resources. The best way to avoid exhausting assets is to focus on the “news.” Not the frequency. Not the format. Not the fluff that sometimes finds its way into a publication. Start out slow. Publish the newsletter monthly or bimonthly until you are sure you have the news to share and the time to write about it.

• Tracking the Analytics – sending out a newsletter like a message in a bottle, thinking someone will surely pick it up and read what’s inside is pure folly. Not knowing how many of the people who receive your newsletter are reading it is a waste of your time and resources. It’s a must to know how many people receive, open, forward and click-through to your offers. Remember, the goal is not to write a newsletter every week, or to publish it every week, or to email it out every week. It’s to engage customers, clients or prospects.

• Keeping Things Interesting – if you do not enjoy writing, you will not enjoy publishing a newsletter no matter what the frequency. The reader will be able to tell within a few sentences if the writer has passion and if his heart is in the prose. Keep the writing (the conversation) practical, personal, and informative, instructive and enlightening.

• Keeping it Permission-based – have you ever given someone your business card during a introduction at an event and found yourself on their newsletter mailing list the following week? Handing someone your business card does not give them the right to sign you up for their promotional haranguing. This is not how “opt-in” works. If you want to send a person a copy of your newsletter, go ahead, but don’t assume they want to receive mailings from your company for the rest of their lives without asking their permission first.

• Knowing Your Readership – at first, you may have interesting information to share in your newsletters. But as time goes by, your audience will want to read what interests them most. Find ways to understand and listen to your readership. Poll your audience. Do surveys. Ask thought-provoking questions and give your readers a mechanism to tell you what they’re thinking.

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