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Why Your Email Newsletter Isn’t Working – 10 Campaign Killing eMail Newsletter Mistakes

email newsletter mistakes

Posted By Stig1 on June 2, 2013

eMail Newsletter Mistakes – Why Isn’t Our eMail Newsletter Working??

Some common email newsletter mistakes typically conspire to keep success at bay for many organizations’ campaigns. That’s a cryin’ shame, because an email newsletter is one of the most powerful customer relationship enhancement techniques available. Unfortunately, for too many organizations, it is a waste of resources, because one or more of these common email newsletter mistakes ensure it just isn’t working.
If that sums it up for your business, should you just pack it in, or is there hope to revive it? Step back from the ledge, because chances are you don’t have to give it up.
There are some common reasons why organizations’ newsletters fail. Sometimes correcting even one or two of these will resurrect things, get them back on the right track, and let you see a healthy ROI from your newsletter initiative.
I’ve delivered thousands of marketing newsletters in the last decade, and not all have been successful. It’s learning from those mistakes that breeds success. With that thought firmly in your noodle, take a look at these common email newsletter mistakes, and see how many apply to yours.

eMail Newsletter Mistakes – Campaign Killers to Avoid

1) You’re Not In Tune With Your Audience

If you aren’t in tune with audience expectations or needs, your newsletter will fall flat. That’s why knowing your audience and what they really want is a primary key to success. After all, if you don’t know what they want, how are you going to give it to them?

2) It Doesn’t Deliver Enough Value

Mistake number 1 can (and often does) lead you smack into the next mistake; you just don’t deliver enough value. Your audience is looking for something, and if you don’t give it to them, and keep giving it to them, you’re going down in flames. It’s that simple. Really.
Value comes from a number of avenues, but here are 5 time tested classics:
  • Actionable Information

  • Humor

  • Entertainment

  • Information that gives your reader an advantage, alleviates fear, or prevents loss.

  • Revelation

Another bonus from always delivering the goods is that your newsletter has breakout potential. People will share it on social media and forward it to friends. One huge advantage of an email newsletter over the traditional variety is ease of forwarding… just a click. You’ll have the potential to greatly extend your reach and generate new subscribers and leads outside your list and existing customer base.

3) Ill-Defined Goals

You may not know what your readers want. It’s also possible you haven’t defined what YOU really want (or need), either. If you’re not aiming for well-defined goals, it’s going to be tough to hit them. When a newsletter isn’t working, no measurably defined goals mean there isn’t only no way to know if you’re missing, but how also badly, and in which direction.

4) No Tracking or Analytics

If you’ve set precisely measurable goals, the next step is actually having the analytics to track the different metrics that impact them.
Some of the most important metrics successful email marketers track include:
  • Open Rate

  • Clickthrough Rate (for each link)

  • Unsubscribe Rate

  • Complaint Rate

  • Forward Rate

  • Social Shares

  • Time and Day of the Week Open Rate and Click Response

5) No Compelling Subject Lines

If it doesn’t get opened…. enough said!

6) Poorly Written Content

Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Well, you better write like it, or hire a firm that does. Otherwise, your readers will never enjoy or become emotionally invested in your content. On the other hand, maybe you could stick to graphics……

7) Not Engaging Your Audience

Engaging; yeah, it’s kind of a corporate buzzword these days, right up there with content marketing, reach out, community, and collaborate. No matter, it’s still vital to maximize your newsletter’s effectiveness. If you’re not engaging, readers don’t interact.
No interaction ultimately = no transaction. That’s not good math. You’ll also have a heck of time getting shared; a shame, given the supercharging effect social media can have on your newsletter.
How best to engage? If you’ve wondered that, you’re not alone. It’s a good question, and in fact, questions are an excellent engagement technique. Don’t just ask questions, ask ones your readers will want to answer.
Other effective engagement tactics for your newsletter are:
  • Polls

  • Giving valuable, branded content (think videos, eBooks, special reports, and white papers)

  • Content and Subject Personalization

Brian Reich, Managing Director, little m media put it like this:
It’s not worth sending an email unless there is content worth reading, sharing and discussing. Our ability to source content that has value to our audience(s) and/or create that content ourselves will determine our email marketing strategy.”
For more email marketing engagement techniques deemed effective, see the results from marketing research firm Marketing Sherpa’s 2013 Benchmark Survey, conducted on over 600 leading marketers.

8) Too Much Straight Selling

If you’re constantly pounding your readers with BUY, BUY, BUY…. they probably won’t. At least not in the numbers they otherwise would. They’ll just tune you out. In fact, unless you’re over-delivering in other respects, they probably won’t even stick around.
That doesn’t mean neglecting to ever ask for anything, though. Employ more subtlety and creativity in your messaging. It’s a long term strategy, but at the end of the day (actually, many, many days) you’ll come out ahead.

9) No Call To Action

People won’t do what you tell them if you don’t, well, tell them. It almost makes too much sense, but it’s true. It’s also one of the most common threads running through ineffective email newsletters. You can deliver choice content, reveal secrets your readers have been after for decades, and make them laugh long into the night, but in the end, you have something you want them to do, and you have to ask.
It may not always be a sales message, and in fact, it shouldn’t be. (see 8, above)

10) Inconsistent – What’s Up?

Mickey Macs didn’t become the world’s largest hamburger joint by accident. No, they used a battery of tactics, but one of the most powerful was consistency. Their burgers may not be gourmet, but you always know what you’re gonna get, whether you’re in New York, New Mexico, or Mexico City. They deliver consistent product, message, and branding.
You may or may not be purveying burgers, but the same rules apply to newsletters. Consistency in everything from branding to message ensures your readers bond with your organization, a primary goal of most newsletters. That bond positions you as the trusted expert, makes selling easier, and drives down your sales cost.
Have you been asking yourself “Why isn’t our email newsletter working?” Did making one or more of these common email newsletter mistakes cripple yours? Have you tasted success with your organization’s email newsletter? If not, what do you think has been holding you back? What have you found that’s helped make it successful? Leave a comment with your answer. I’d love to hear it thanks!
You know the drill, please share this article using the little icons, many thanks!

Author: Stig1

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