5 Top Newsletter Mistakes

Caitlin McElwain

It wasn’t that long ago that people were pronouncing the end of the e-newsletter, as users flocked from email over to social media. But email’s death knell has proven to be a false alarm – if anything, email newsletters are on the rise, with service providers such as MailChimp adding as many as 10,000 new users each day.

Done effectively, newsletters can drive important business objectives from establishing an ongoing branding and communications channel with customers to growing sales.

But these common mistakes can reduce the effectiveness of your newsletter campaign – or prevent your newsletters from ever getting seen in the first place.

Mistake #1: You don’t check before you send

Typos, broken links and missing images can all frustrate readers – and make your business seem unprofessional. Before you hit send, it’s important to thoroughly check your newsletter, including proofreading for typos and grammar mistakes and clicking each and every link to ensure it takes readers where they expect to be sent.

Mistake #2: Your subject lines aren’t compelling

If your newsletter is the hook, think of your subject line as the bait. An effective subject line lures readers to open your email by making a promise doing so will be worth their time. What sort of promises can incent people to click? The answer will be different for every business subject lines which promise to inform, entertain, make people’s lives easier or save them money are all attractive (just make sure the content follows through, or you’ll lose your audience’s trust). A study of 24 billion emails by MailChimp found that personalized subject lines, conveying an appropriate sense of time sensitivity or urgency, and thanking readers also tend to boost open rates.

Mistake #3: You’re ignoring the data

Analytics are an important tool for uncovering the data that can help you improve open rates, click through rates and other key metrics. Tracking and comparing newsletter data will allow you to see how factors such as day of the week or time you send out your email, the name of the sender, or the type of subject line you use affect how users interact with your newsletter. Some email deployment platforms offer A/B testing so you can directly compare how different factors impact user behaviour.

Mistake #4: You aren’t making your newsletter mobile friendly

Even if you have an intriguing subject line and send out your newsletter when your audience is most likely to be receptive to your message, if you haven’t optimized your newsletter for mobile, there’s a good chance it won’t get read. These days, the majority of email messages are opened on people’s phones – so if your text is too small or your design requires too much scrolling or zooming, you run the risk mobile users will simply hit delete. Any links should be optimized for mobile too – but all Yellow Pages websites are designed and tested to ensure they look as good on people’s phones as on their desktops.

Mistake #5: You’re acting like a spammer

With the deluge of junk hitting people’s inboxes, email providers have had to become increasingly sophisticated about how they filter out spam. But strong filters mean that legitimate emails sometimes get caught too, landing in people’s spam folders or flat-out getting rejected by their servers. There are ways you can reduce the likelihood of getting flagged as spam. For starters, cross-reference lists of common spam words so you can avoid using them in your subject lines or in the body of your newsletter, and ensure that any links you include go to credible websites (and avoid using URL shorteners). Clear instructions for whitelisting your newsletters are also helpful for ensuring they reach their destination.

In Canada, it’s also important for businesses to familiarize themselves with anti-spam laws which require user consent (PDF) and a clear “unsubscribe” button, among other specifications.

Newsletters are just the start

Email newsletters are a great way to drive awareness and sales for your local business but they’re just one of the many important tactics local businesses can employ. Yellow Pages pros can help you find the best way to get your business in front of local shoppers through expert website, search and advertising solutions.

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