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Newsletters that drive me crazy!

May 19, 2014 | tips, Vee's blog | 0 comments

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

That is to say, bad newsletters drive me insane! Newsletters and email communications are my thing, so whenever they land in my inbox, I do take a quick look and then notice if my attention is grabbed to read further (and what they did to engage my interest) or hit delete.

But there is one particular newsletter that I get sent regularly that drives me nuts because it is soooooo poor!

I’m not going to name and shame her, because that wouldn’t be fair, but suffice to say, she’s part of a financial services company that are quite large and well-known, so I have to say I’m rather perplexed no-one in her organisation is saying anything and letting her send out such unprofessional mailings!

So here are the appalling email newsletter mistakes that this lady is making.

Sending email newsletters from Outlook.

This not only contravenes Spam Cann laws, as she doesn’t (and can’t) provide an unsubscribe link.

However, you could overcome that by adding at the end (which she doesn’t), an instruction that if one wanted to be unsubscribed to reply with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject heading. In practice this would be a nightmare to administer. If anyone was to ask to be unsubscribed, it would be a huge chore to find out which group they’re in.

The perils of sending email newsletters in groups

Why a group I hear you ask? Well most ISPs won’t allow you to send out more than 50 emails an hour, so to combat that, you arrange your contacts into groups and every hour send the email to the next group – who has time to spend all day sending out a mailing??

Of course, this then adds a danger that a person could be in more than one group so they get more than one copy of your newsletter, and without an unsubscribe option, how much more annoyed would you be to receive an unwanted newsletter more than once?

Who’s reading?

Because she’s sending her newsletters through her Outlook account, there’s no way of knowing who and how many opens she’s got or what articles they’re clicking through to.

If she did have that valuable information, she would then know which articles were popular, which would in turn give her better direction of what to write more of.

Using words like “Newsletter” or “Bulletin” in the subject heading

How boring and uninteresting! Newsletter/Bulletin/Update does not make me think “oooo that sounds interesting, I must read this”. It makes me want to hit the delete key without further thought as I sift through the bulging inbox.

The subject heading should be enticing and captivating, stop you in your tracks so that you feel compelled to read on. It should be short and punchy. Using the word ‘bulletin’ or ‘newsletter’ (even if it is), is a waste of valuable space in the subject bar.

‘Dear Ladies and Gentlemen’

What?! So what a big giveaway this is a group email! I’m lumped in with a bunch of others, so she doesn’t really care about me at all!

Using a mail programme like Constant Contact or Mailchimp means you can personalise the email to Dear [first name].

Even though I know it’s a mass mailing using mailmerge, receiving a mailing that is personalised to me makes me feel a lot more special than being addressed ‘Dear Gentleman and Ladies’.

Using Jargon

The only good thing about her email is that it’s brief. It’s actually just a bullet list of headings from her newsletter which is attached as a Word document (more on that next!).

Now a bullet list should give brief succinct information, like a subject heading, that entices you to read more.

But this list is so succinct that she resorts to using financial jargon that I’m sure someone in her very large company would know exactly what it was.

But I’m not in her company. I’m not a financial person. I’m just an ordinary person who might use a financial advisor. I’m thinking if she uses jargon in her emails and newsletters, she might also use jargon when she talks to me and make me feel even more stupid than I already am feeling reading her email, so, take a guess… would you think I might go to her for financial advice?

Attaching a Word Document

There are so many different versions of Word out there with so many different fonts and layouts, that it’s very unlikely that a Word document will look the same on every computer.

So much better to save the Word document as a PDF, because then the document will look as you intended to everyone, regardless of whether they have a Mac, PC, Tablet, with whatever version of Word.

bored nowBy the way, I’ve not even got as far as reading her Word bulletin, as I’ve completely lost interest now. The bland bulletin with no images and large paragraphs of small-font talking jargon is, quite frankly, a hard read and I’ve more important things to get on with.

In fact far better to have short intro paras from the bulletin in the body of her email with read more links that take you to the full article on her website…. Once on her site, people are more likely to look around at other stuff on the website and if they like and need what she offers, then become a qualified prospect and then a client.

Final word

I did actually reply to this lady and suggest that her email newsletter could be vastly improved and I would love an opportunity to have a no-obligation conversation where I could share some tips, but she declined to even have a conversation, saying she was quite happy with it!

Some people eh?



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