How to Send an Effective, Non-Annoying Email Newsletter

Did you know that newsletters are far more effective at driving business to your company's website than social media? For you "I-Don't-Have-Time"-ers and you "Why-Bother"-ites, maybe you should rethink your marketing efforts and create a promotional email. Only please make it less annoying, less spam-like and less cringe-inducing than everyone else's newsletters.


1. Content matters. Don't get lazy and turn your newsletter into an aggregator of other people's newsletters. Come up with short, to-the-point information, stats or opportunities. Make sure that you have relevant, concise information about your industry that's interesting. Without the interesting part, you've lost me.

2. It's not about you, it's about me. You're writing a newsletter to feed me information that I can't find elsewhere. If you send me a newsletter that's all about your company, guess what you're forcing me to do? Unsubscribe. I want content relevant to me. I want it to speak to me. And if it's about you, I'll find info relevant to me elsewhere, thank you very much.

3. Decrease the height of your header. Your company's header is beautiful. Of course it is. But if you want me to read your content, don't make me scroll past its beauty to get there. I'm not subscribed to your newsletter so that I can stare at the name of your company all day.

4. Visuals are king. Videos and photos catch the eye and help us wade through your content. They can act as markers, as statements, or as comedic sidekicks to your content. A picture is worth a thousand words -- so it shoots your word-count through the roof-- but inserting visuals to describe your text is the support that every newsletter needs. Think smart: if your pictures comprise grassy knolls and verandas and other yawn-inducing portraits, don't bother. Faces go a long way, whether they're people or pets. Anything bold and beautiful, really. (Interesting note: I asked seven photographers for their newsletters for this piece, and not one of them has a newsletter for me to show you. Instead, check out this one.)

5. Help others help you. Both Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios and Brad Farris of Anchor Advisors write a draft of their company's newsletter and that's that. Then they pass it on to someone else to edit, research and fill in all the details. Take the work out of it and hire folks to help you get your brand out there.

6. Use Mad Mimi. The email marketing company's 2.0 upgrade enables users to interact with your newsletter in a variety of social media channels. Constant Contact and other competitors are lovely, but Mad Mimi and its customer support rule.

7. Go mobile. A significant percentage of millenials check their email via a mobile device. If your newsletter isn't optimized for smartphones, which many email marketing services may handle for you, then you may be losing out on your readership.

I seldom receive a fantastic newsletter. When I do, it makes me love the brand that much more. A little effort can go a very, very long way in building your business.

Jill Salzman

Jill Salzman is currently growing her third entrepreneurial venture, The Founding Moms, the world’s first and only kid-friendly collective of monthly meetups for mom entrepreneurs.  A graduate of Brown University and law school, she started a music management firm and then launched a baby jewelry company before creating her current venture. Jill has been featured in national media outlets including People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Daily Candy Kids, NBC5 and WGN TV. She is the author of Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs, a columnist for NBC Chicago,  and she gave her own TED talk on 11/11/11. In her spare time, Jill enjoys kloofing, baking, and erasing her daughters’ crayon artwork from the kitchen walls.

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