April 1, 2013

10 Signs this is Your First Newsletter

photo by photosteve101

I'm such a newsletter critic. I think it makes me better at what I do - learning from others' good and bad examples. Here are the things that often stand out during my critiques:
  1. You didn't use a bulk email application.
    This is such a big mistake, it deserves its own post to list all the reasons why!
  2. You didn't include a link to subscribe.
    If your newsletter is good, your readers will share it with their friends. Don’t make those friends have to hunt for your sign-up form. Not everyone is tenacious.
  3. You used a misleading subject line.
    Perhaps you felt that you had to trick people into opening your newsletter. Don’t do this! Readers will feel like they've been duped if you don’t deliver on the promise in your subject line.
  4. I see obvious errors.
    There are spelling errors and, oops, a hyperlink doesn't work. Always get another set of eyes to check your newsletter. Don’t forget to click on all the hyperlinks. Don’t get complacent about this over time. Mistakes stand out!
  5. You didn't include social media sharing links.
    You’re missing out on the opportunity to extend the reach of your newsletter beyond your subscriber list. If your content is interesting, people will share your content… but only if you give them a quick, simple way to do it.
  6. You didn't include social connecting links.
    You’re missing another opportunity to increase your fan base. Make it simple for them to find and follow you online. Include direct links to all of your social media accounts and make those accounts public.
  7. There’s no value!
    Nothing in here appeals to me or piques my interest. I've seen some of it before. And stop talking so much about yourself.
  8. It looks plain icky.
    It’s got a poor design and even worse, poor formatting. You've used colours that make reading difficult. All the text is jammed against the borders and... how many different fonts did you use?
  9. I’m confused! Too many different calls-to-action.
    I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do next… or first? Having too many choices causes indecision and inaction.
  10. There’s no ‘read online’ link.
    That means no longevity and some folks simply won't be able to read your newsletter.

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