We actually enjoy email newsletters. Good, bad, phenomenal and just “meh” – we sign up for quite a few of them. Here are 5 signs that yours may be, well, meh.
Meh. Average. Doesn’t make you turn cartwheels, doesn’t make you call the cops either. Let’s dissect some common newsletter problems – email newsletter or paper newsletters both apply here. For instance:
1. Jargonization. Webster’s Dictionary defines “meh” as…wait, there’s the first problem. I may not know what you’re talking about when you say meh. Just as your reader may not know what you’re talking about when you say…well, you get the picture. Remember that one person’s jargon is another person’s desire to go to the airport, book an airline ticket, get on a plane and use the barf bag. We’ve railed on this stuff in the past, and we’ll continue to do that. If you write decent copy, you can avoid jargon.
2. Lack of a Point. We got one today that said, well, about fifteen different things. “Come see our store, I’m new at this job, there’s a lot going on, wow it’s nice outside, look, a shiny object!”
Buried in there was an invite to introduce yourself to the new guy, whose job is to meet as many people as he can and make you feel as welcome as possible. There’s the point!
3. Lack of an Objective. Volume 1, Issue 1 always gets people excited. Usually the boss says “let’s do a newsletter.” Then there’s an editorial meeting, and maybe a design meeting, and a really good first issue.
Then, stay tuned for Volume 1, Issue 2. Wait for it…wait…oh, whose job is this? MINE? Oh crap, well, I’m really busy, and…
The lack of clear objectives behind any project is a recipe for disaster. So, too, can be:
4. Failure to Grab Attention. Hook us with a clever subject line or headline. Entice us with a deal of some sort. Mention something about unicorns. We don’t care what – just grab our attention.
And, email marketers, don’t do it with “Re: your message.”
5. Over-personalization. Email marketers blend 4 and 5 for so much eye-bleeding pain I need an antacid. “Re: Dave’s new software.” While brilliant 3 years ago to get an email from Barack Obama that says “I need 20 people like you, Dave,” this was also from ye olde tyme days when we actually thought there was a slight possibility that the person on the other end knew our name.
(I didn’t actually think that. Other people did.)
The personalization tags are out of control – they’re nice to have and can be attention-grabbing. But still…use with caution.
Now, before y’all comment, here are a couple things to share from Area 224 HQ:
A. We do send out an email newsletter from time-to-time. BUT we don’t overdo it; and partly because we would rather focus on our blogging efforts.
B. And we do have an objective behind our blog. It’s sharing BS-free knowledge, insights, and commentary on marketing, marketing communications and startups as they pertain to emerging businesses and emerging communications trends.
We do both and avoid the meh. Here’s hoping you do the same.