Your Newsletter Sucks. This Is What It Makes Absolutely Terrible?9 min read

So you’ve started a newsletter, huh? Well, good for you!

But before you do anything else, I think there’s a little something you should know. 

Most newsletters SUCK.  They are often ineffective and suck at converting.

But have you ever wondered what makes a bad newsletter or what are the common email newsletter mistakes?

Well, I got it covered for you.

In this blog, I am going to help you make your newsletter stand out from the crowd. How? By familiarising you with the blunders that you must steer clear of at any cost.

But before diving straight into the email newsletter mistakes, let’s understand a little more about this affair.

In this article, I am going to discuss:

  1. What is a newsletter?
  2. Are Newsletters Dead?
  3. Common Newsletter Mistakes

What is a newsletter?

A newsletter is a regular document (usually in electronic form) written by a single author (or a small team) that is sent out to a specific audience weekly. It can be used for marketing purposes, to update the subscribers on the latest news or events, or simply as a communication tool.

Are Newsletters Dead?

The answer, fortunately, is NO – newsletters are not dead or dying. Rather, they are starting to make a significant impact, AGAIN.

Source: Giphy

Now, what do I mean by AGAIN?

There was a time when newsletters were pretty much an alien thing. And it took some time for this email marketing technique to take off.

Fast forward to a few years, newsletters started becoming obsolete. Most newsletters were just total crap and full of fluff. People either unsubscribed or marked them as spam. And to be honest, I did the same.

However, fast forward to now, newsletters are becoming more and more popular.

Why so?

Because many newsletter publishers have cracked the code of engagement. They are sending out newsletters with a genuine aim to connect with the audience and deliver value. And in turn, they are gaining trust and building a brand that people love.

Today, newsletters are not just for businesses anymore — they're for everyone! In fact, there's a growing trend of people using newsletters as a way to deliver knowledge and generate income.

(Well, that’s a topic for the next blog on “Making Money Through Newsletter”. You can subscribe to my Substack Newsletter to stay posted.)

And yes, next time someone asks you “Do newsletters really work?”, reply with a solid YES.

Common Email Newsletter Mistakes

Hello,

Thank you for your email.

I’m sorry to say that your company newsletter is just not helping.

Source: Giphy

But I think, I can help get things right.

If you have ever wondered what makes a bad newsletter, then let me point out a few mistakes you must avoid.

1. Your newsletter is boring

When I subscribed to your email newsletter, I had high hopes. I was looking forward to it.

BUT then my hopes shattered after receiving your newsletter.

It seems that you’re not sure what to write.

But then an email has to go out every week, right? So, you ended up sending a product update and what’s going on at your company.

I understand. Your boss must have rejected your idea of a company newsletter that gets read.

(Hey marketer, that’s a red flag. I think you should switch your job.)

I wish you sent me an email newsletter with a fun-to-read tone.

2. It’s all about YOU and not about ME

Why are you talking so much about your company? I know about your company and maybe that’s the reason I subscribed to your newsletter.

But the “YOU” factor is getting too much to handle.

From the very moment I opened that email, all I could see is that your company is organizing an event next month, there’s a new update on your product, and some random articles from your website.

What about my preferences? You didn’t think of considering what actually I would like to read?

Too bad!

3. The advertisements are irritating

Understandably, advertisements are a good source of revenue for companies. And every company, with a business model that allows revenue for ads, should opt for it. There’s absolutely no doubt about that.

But pal, is it fair to add ad banners on the top, in the middle, at the bottom – basically everywhere?

No, I suppose!

It feels like you’re focusing more on the money from your advertisers rather than delivering value to your newsletter readers.

And this, mi amigo, is one of the terrible newsletter mistakes. TRY TO AVOID IT.

4. Your newsletter is not consistent

Well, I don’t think I have the right to point out this mistake because IT IS THE SAME WITH MY NEWSLETTER.

Sometimes I take more than 45 days to send out a newsletter. I feel terrible about it.

And I am sure you do too. But hey, we can always fix things, right?

How about we both promise each other and work on our newsletter’s consistency? Let’s see if we can do that.

Deal?

(I think I successfully managed to hide my blunder. For those who are reading this blog, I am trying to stay consistent. Trust me.)

5. You are using the wrong tool

Many people believe that it doesn’t matter what tool you choose for your email marketing campaigns if your content is top-notch.

But let me tell you something — this isn’t the complete truth.

The right email marketing tool is just as important. Because you need to keep your email list (contacts) well organized, engage them with your business, establish your brand authority, and drive more leads.

Here are some of my personal favorite email marketing tools:

A little something based on my personal experience:

I remember seeing that “Sent with HubSpot” message at the bottom of your email. And to be honest, it affects your email marketing efforts as it gives a weird impression.

Now, this has happened to me. Being an independent blogger from the content marketing domain, I am a little limited on budget. Which is why getting a premium subscription to HubSpot was never on my list. But with time, I did realize the importance of it. I received responses to the email, mocking me about the free tool.

I started looking for other free tools; especially the ones without any branding on the free version. Found a few; but again, with limited features.

So, if you can afford it, go for a paid tool. It will be worth it. But pick the right one; the one that goes well with your email marketing strategy. 

6. Your newsletter comes from some nonsensical address

A newsletter coming from an email address like this — [email protected] — is a huge NAY!!!!!

And it was the same with your newsletter. Yes, I am talking about you.

Like I said earlier, I was excited when I subscribed but when I received it, the feeling was the opposite. You lost me without me having to open the email.

Doesn’t matter whether it’s just a simple marketing email or a well-curated newsletter, at the end of the day it’s a human who is going to read it. Therefore, it is important to build a connection and that can be done when the actual writer sends the email.

7. It’s written to everyone, not to me

Did you do a final test send of your company newsletter before hopping onto HubSpot and sending it out to your entire community?

You didn’t, right? I knew it.

Guess how? Your email newsletter read, “Dear <first_name>”. Argh!!!

My name is not “first name”.

That’s not it.

When I started reading your newsletter, I had this strong feeling that it’s a single copy with little to no effort.

What I mean by that is that your entire email list is receiving the same email; only the “first_name” gets changed. (I wish you had my name registered too. Never mind.)

Now, I am not saying that you should write a separate email for each contact. That’s not even possible. But the least and the best you can do is segment your contact list and create an email for each segment. I should at least feel that you have put in the work to determine my preferences.

Not to mention, creating personalized emails is subtlety, and not every copywriter knows how to do it. So, try honing your copywriting skills.

FAQs

Are newsletters necessary?

The necessity of a newsletter depends completely on the company. A newsletter can be a great tool if the business model includes educating or building a strong relationship with your existing and potential client base.

Are newsletters still effective in 2022?

Yes, newsletters are effective in 2022. In fact, it is more relevant now than ever before. The number of companies and individuals using a newsletter to connect with the audience is significantly high.

What’s the difference between newsletter vs email marketing?

A newsletter is a part of email marketing. However, it is different from a regular email. A newsletter is a structured email that is sent/scheduled regularly to an entire email list. On the other hand, emails do not follow a set schedule, and the content is usually short and straightforward.

The Bottom Line

Newsletters are a beautiful way to build genuine connections with people. Be it just an audience, client, or potential client, with a well-curated newsletter, you can make a great impact.

However, companies and individuals aren’t weighing much on their email newsletter strategies. And I understand, why is that the case. It is overwhelming.

But I suggest, despite all the anxiousness, take a step and get your hands on fixing it. 

Take baby steps. Try one tip at a time. Or else, analyze your current newsletter and see where you’re lacking.

The secret behind successful newsletters lies in proper planning. And if you are passionate about improving the quality of your newsletter and want to be an early adopter in the industry, then I can help. Just drop me an email to get in touch!