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Why Most Email Newsletters Suck & How To Fix Them!

Let’s be honest, most email newsletters are bland, repetitive and fail to engage with their readers.

Fortunately, there are 7 common mistakes that once fixed can elevate your email newsletter to that next level!

The majority of these problems can be fixed in less than 30 days.

The 7 most common newsletter mistakes to avoid

  1. Making It All About You – This is perhaps the most common mistake we see in email marketing generally. Brands are understandably excited to talk about their products or services. Unfortunately, your readers care much more about themselves than you. People stay subscribed to your list because there’s something in it for them. Make sure your content relates to your reader’s interests to maximise engagement and minimise unsubscribes!

  2. No Calls To Action – Most newsletters suffer from either a lack of goal focus or call to action overload. The common misconception is that if you give your readers lots of options to click on, then you have more chance of getting them to take action. All the data suggests the exact opposite is true. Keep your newsletter copy tight and focus on a single goal or action you want your reader to take. (This also helps provide clarity when reviewing results)

  3. Writing Like A Robot 🤖 – Try to avoid writing in a voice that sounds like a PR robot. People like hearing from other people, not generic corporate speak robots using industry buzzwords or overly elaborate language to convey their point. Let your personality shine through! There’s a fine line between speaking in a brands voice and sounding like a train announcement. Don’t be frightened to give your newsletter its own voice. A fantastic example of a daily newsletter pulling this off is the Morning Brew. If a daily newsletter can manage this consistently then producing your monthly newsletter suddenly doesn’t seem so hard.

  4. Hard Sell – The exact opposite of lacking in calls to action, some newsletters push way too hard for a sale. Obviously, at certain times this can be appropriate, but no one wants to have a salesperson hammering their inbox each week pushing for that deal. Email newsletters are best used in building brand loyalty and developing long term relationships. Selling too hard in a newsletter not only kills reader engagement, it dramatically increases the number of people unsubscribing each month.

  5. No Segmenting – On average 56% of people will unsubscribe from a newsletter if they feel the content is relevant to them. Yet the vast majority of newsletters are sent to the entire list without any regard for personal interests. See our post on the dangers of email blasting for more on this topic. Ideally, your newsletter subscribers should be able to self select their interests on sign up, allowing you to personalise the content they receive in future emails.

  6. No A/B testing – Google famously tested 41 different shades of blue in its logo before settling on the final choice. We’re not suggesting you go quite that far, but it’s sensible to routinely test variants of your newsletter to find the best mix. It’s amazing to see the impact small changes can have on your newsletter results. Subject line, layout, images, tone and calls to action are just a few of the things you can alter to test the impact.

  7. Ignoring The DataIt goes without saying that this blog post wouldn’t have been possible without data. Shockingly the vast majority of emails are still sent with little or no regard for the results they’re generating. It’s easy for marketing activities to become stale over time. Email has been around for so long its often the channel which gets neglected the most. Getting reacquainted with some basic email metrics can really help realign the purpose of your newsletter and help revive the marketing channel to its former glory!

Remember, newsletters done right are an effective marketing tool in the ongoing fight for consumer attention. The fact that most newsletters are so bad provides a massive opportunity for those brands ready to invest some energy into fixing the problems outlined above.