12 Ways to Improve Your Newsletter's Format
Has your newsletter kept the same format for over a year? Is your newsletter's
format based on a currently available template? If so, you may be losing subscribers
and money. Over the last year, several major changes have occurred on the Internet
that may have made your newsletter's format obsolete.
One change is the pervasiveness of spam and the wide implementation of email
filters to deal with spam. Another change is the increased sophistication and lack
of patience exhibited by Internet users. Bring your newsletter up to date by making
the 12 changes described below.
1. DO NOT use a creative email subject line.
Do not use a cute or creative phrase for your newsletter's email subject line.
This will cause the recipients email filter to send your newsletter to the spam
bucket. The subject line should contain only the name of your newsletter. To avoid
getting filtered, make sure the subject line contains the word "newsletter".
2. DO NOT personalize your newsletter.
Everybody knows their name was inserted by an automated application and that you
don't really have a clue as to what their name is. Your readers will view you as
insincere and dishonest. Don't use insincere and dishonest automated personalization.
You are tricking no one.
3. DO NOT put a "this is not spam" message at the top of your newsletter.
Unless your newsletter can be mistaken as spam, do not put a message near the top
of your newsletter stating something similar to "by subscription only ..." or "you
subscribed ..." or "to unsubscribe...". If your newsletter can be mistaken as spam,
see the following tip.
4. DO NOT use a "top sponsor" ad.
Although advertisers pay more for the top sponsor ad position, accepting them
causes you to lose money overall. This is because the first thing your subscribers
see when they open your newsletter is advertising. You lose subscribers. Don't waste
your subscribers time, get to the meat first - your feature article.
5. DO NOT use a "Contents" section.
Do not put "Contents" near the top, or anywhere in your newsletter. Although almost
all newsletters have a contents section, there are three reasons why you don't want it.
1. You are publishing a newsletter to make money. You make money through advertising
in your newsletter. You want your readers to peruse the entire newsletter, including
the advertising. If your reader sees nothing of interest in the contents they just
delete your newsletter without reading any part of it.
2. It wastes the readers time. As an example, next time you watch TV news, notice
how they waste your time "telling you what they are going to tell you". Instead of
wasting so much time telling you what they are going to tell you, why don't they just
By enticing you with coming stories, they hope to prevent you from flipping to
another channel when they go to commercials. That doesn't work with me. As soon as
they start telling me what they are going to tell me, I flip to another channel.
Don't waste your readers time by telling them what you are going to tell them, just
get to it!
3. The contents section lists only the titles of the articles. Unfortunately,
nowadays writers are too busy thinking up cutesy titles that don't give you a clue as
to what the article is about. Therefore, reading the contents is a waste of time.
6. DO NOT put a message welcoming new subscribers.
Assuming that your newsletter has a low turnover rate, the vast majority of your
readers will be old subscribers. You force old subscribers to read the same "welcome
new subscribers" message over and over again in every issue.