Your Greatest Challenge - Continuity of Publication

Before I joined with Marcos I was doing newsletters for advertising agencies. These were sent to prospect lists and were intended to be issued monthly. Obviously, ad agencies have writers in-house. So, why would they hire an outside party to write these letters?

I found that most of these agencies had tried to do their own letters and just couldn't get the job done. Client business inevitably took priority from this in-house newsletter writing activity and the monthly letters became quarterly letters -- then dwindled down to "whenever" mailings.

We have found this same problem affecting our clients at Loop. They say that they will provide the content and we will do everything else. Well, right from the start the content becomes a problem. The first letter is usually a beast. Everyone in the client shop gets involved and after the pieces are passed up the echelons for approval, the first issue deadline is missed.

It doesn't get much better in subsequent issues, so we resolve the problem by doing the content for them. And this is a good thing. We are pros at writing newsletters and do copy that gets results.

The moral: Be realistic about what you will be able to do yourself. And don't feel guilty if you send it outside. The objective is achieved - the letters go out and good things come back.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


Make Your eNewsletter Pay For Itself

One of our enewsletter clients has been carrying advertising in its letter. This advertising pays the costs of producing and publishing the letter, and then some. Now we have a had a second client ask us about the mechanics and financial potential for advertising in their letter.

We have shown them how ads can be incorporated into the layout without being too intrusive. The ads can be located in a banner about midway down the letter. Also, they can be in a vertical sidebar-type box. Additionally, there can be a series of small boxes across the bottom of the letter.

In many cases the advertisers are in businesses that cater to the organization that issues the newsletter. These advertisers will be seeking to reach the readers of the letter, but they also will be running ads to curry the favor of the newsletter's publisher.

If this interests you, email us mmenendez@loopconsulting.com and we will get in touch to further explain this advertising opportunity.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


Make Yourself A Spokesperson

Some of the newsletters I like best are those which make me feel that I have gotten to know the writer. The outstanding example of this technique is Kim Komando, self-styled "America's Digital Goddess".


I get her daily newsletter with tips about computer problems and usage. I don't know if Kim is real or fictional. Doesn't matter, I have the impression that she is personally communicating with me. She even mentions her personal life, at times. And she is a knockout!

So, when doing a newsletter, consider the possibilty of setting it up as a message from a spokesperson. And make the spokesperson appear to be real, even though you may be creating a fictional personality.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


Shotgun Or Rifle? What's The Target?

Every enewsletter program should start with a profile of the type of reader you want to reach. Yes, that's elementary, but a lot of marketers just want to aim at a crowd of people and hope to hit a lot of them. This is the shotgun approach.

That's fine if you are trying to market a product or service that is almost universally used. I mean like bread or sunglasses or toothpaste. If everyone is a prospective customer reach is everything.

But for most products and services there are market segments of frequent users. These segments, of course, can be defined by profiling their demographics. So these special segments then become a group to be targeted in your marketing communications. This is the rifle approach.

Ho hum. Everyone knows that.

But if they do, why do so many marketers get sloppy with their mailing lists?

When targeted lists become infiltrated with the addresses of those not fitting the profile, there is another problem that arises. Focus is lost. There is then a tendency to generalize the message. Instead of speaking specifically to address the needs and wants of the defined audience, the marketer begins to shape the message for the broader audience.

And that isn't the way be most effective with the enewsletter program.

Maybe this piece of opinion is not leading edge thinking. However, it is basic and we think it isn't a bad thing to be reminding marketers to watch their fundamentals.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Stragtegist


May We Talk About Sex?

Considering the fact that women now occupy a substantial number of the decision-making positions in marketing and service companies, why do so many newsletters sound like a guy talking to guys?

Maybe it is because the newsletters are written by a guy who is trying to please upper echelon guys in his company.

Is it possible that newsletters written to persuade women should be written with gender factors in mind? Perhaps it could be something as simple as the tone of the letter -- the antithesis of "How about them Steelers?"

Perhaps it persuades by identifying more closely with the demanding role women must fill to satisfy work and family.

Or perhaps the message is built around current events that are female centered.

If the letter can make the reader think, "This writer understands", then it has come a long way toward making a friend and customer of the reader.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


Want To Be An Insider? Of Course You Do.

An approach for attracting readers to your enewsletters --and getting people to read through them -- is an invitiation to become an insider. Insiders get the useful information first. They get the facts that others don't yet have. The become, in effect, members of a private club.

In actuality, all readers of the newsletters become insiders just by opening them. But the strategy is to establish an identity for the letters as a source for exclusive information.

This works particularly well for financially-oriented newsletters. But it can also work for sports, entertainment (celebrity scoop), health, politics and more.

So, don't just lay the info out there. Enhance its value with an aura of exclusivity.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


The Top 5 Creative Tips for Successful E-Mail Marketing

This is a very good article written by Deirdre Namur from Bigfoot Interactive. For your reading pleasure, I summarized what I considered most relevant points in each section of the article and added some of my comments in parenthesis.

Creative E-Mail Tip #1: Start Off on the Right Foot

Gather information that will help you create value and targeted content. (Marcos added: In other words, understand your audience and write content that will add value and be relevant).

Creative E-Mail Tip #2: Understand, Leverage, Pique

Contains clear call-to-action points; (Marcos added: Ask yourself, what is the main objective of the eNewsletter program? And then ensure that you request from the readers the appropriate responses. If its sales, add contact a representative buttons and links).

Creative E-Mail Tip #3: The Lowest Common Denominator Rules

Limit HTML file size to no more than 65K; ( Marcos added: But not less than 20k, too light and its looks like Spam to the filters).

Creative E-Mail Tip #4: Understand the Nuances of E-Mail

Content is king – relevant, personalized content drives readership and results;

Creative E-mail Tip #5: Great Creative Requires Great Process

Optimizing creative based on observed results leads to improved performance; (Marcos added: If you have a link that is buried in the content but its gotten a high click-through rate, make it more obvious in the following eNewsletter issues. This will improve the performance of your campaign).

Complete Article:

Marcos J. Menendez

Got a question or suggetion? Post it on the comments and
we’ll answer it.


Yeah, But We Do A Paper Newsletter ...

We run into this all the time when we talk to business people about enewsletters. "If we are sending out snail mail letters, why do we want enewsletters?"

Maybe we can deal with this question by asking some questions:
  • What do you know about how many of your mailings get dumped before they are opened?
  • How long do you think it takes for the letters that are in the "do it later" box get read?
  • What kind of direct feed back do you get from your mailings - and how do these responses come to you (phone call, fax, reply mail)?
  • If you are bulk mailing, how long does it take for your letters to reach their destinations?
  • If you invite readers to visit your web site, how convenient is it for them to do so?
  • What does it really cost to get out a mailing (printing, stuffing, sorting, handling, postage)?
  • Have the recipients opted in to receive your mailings?

This issues here are timeliness, acceptibility, ease of response and cost.

Enewsletters go to people who agree to accept them, they get there right now, they offer instant connection to your web site and they offer a convenient way to have a dialogue with readers.

So, why shouldn't they be in your marketing communications program?

Prescott "Pete" Lustig

Senior Marketing Strategist



Why You Should Have Your eNewsletter Professionally Designed.

I met with a very talented graphical designer named Michael Pons. We spoke about the difference between just combining “pretty images” together in an eNewsletter or understanding what the images need to be to drive the message.

We spoke about the difference between having graphical talent or having a graphical market “pulse” or a feel for what that particular market expects or wants to see- in terms of images that form your product or service.

This was a philosophical conversation on graphical design. What I can say to you is that I don’t have the talent to undertand how to combine meaningful images that covey a message since I was abashed during deeper points in our conversation.

My talent lies in finding out if the designer has a unique approach, passion or philosophy and quickly realize if this is the person you want working on your eNewsletter projects.

My recommendation to you is, if you are not a designer, leave that portion of the eNewsletter to the best people you can pay for. Guide them and offer them your visual concept and strategy but let them do what they do best, which is to make you and your product and services look good.

Marcos J. Menendez
Got a question? Post it on the comments and we’ll answer it.


Spam Filters Hate These Words

It is enough to cause a direct response copywriter to climb the walls. Many of the traditionally favorite action words and phrases now get your email messages blocked.

"Free" in combination with almost any other noun, "amazing", "buy direct", "increase sales", "lowest price", "save up to", "order now" -- the list of verboten words goes on and on. What are copy writers to do when they can't even say ""act now", guarantee or "risk free'?

Well, the critical thing is to avoid using the words that activate the Spam blockers. The place to start is to take a look at the list published in this report.


We guarantee (oops, shouldn't have said that) that you will be startled and dismayed. But it is something you have to deal with if you are going to be a successful enewsletter marketer.

Oh yes, it isn't just a matter of avoiding these words in the subject line of your email. The blockers look through the entire text of your enewsletters. So, your challenge now is to find effective substitutes for these nasty words.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist
How Long Should My eNewsletter Paragraphs Be?

Good advice on the length of paragraphs. This is coming from
Jeanne Jennings of ClickZ, she writes “Years ago, I read a case study that determined 5.25 lines, no more, is the perfect length for an online paragraph. Though not fanatical about it, I do try to keep my paragraphs within this guideline. To accomplish this, we broke long paragraphs into shorter ones.” (Purposely presented break in paragraph to make the point)

I know they should be kept short but I didn’t know of an exact line count. The most important thing is to remember is make sure the paragraphs do not discourage recipients from reading due to their length.

Marcos J. Menendez
Got a question on eNewsletters? Post it as a comment and we’ll answer it.


Discovering The Obvious

Martin Gaido, our Senior Technology Officer tells me "Have you ever noticed how the Fed Ex logo has an arrow in it? Yeah, it's between the 'e' and the 'x'...". I gave the logo a look and there it was, subliminally obvious. It was like seeing the logo for the first time. Am I blind? Or did you just notice too?

Marcos J. Menendez


What Day Is The Best Time To eMail?

If you want your enewsletters to be opened, timing can be a critical issue. The time of day your enewsletter goes out is important - as well as the day you do the mailing.

For Businesses: The best days to connect are Tuesday through Thursday. Monday is a bad day because too many decision makers are tied up in meetings. Friday is not good because there are a lot of early-leavers (particularly in the summer).

What time of the day are they most likely to read their email? It may not be big news that there is a peak in business people reading email during the lunch hour. Also, there is action at the the end of the day.

For Consumers: They spend more time on the Internet Friday through Sunday. This gives them more time to open and read your offering. It should be noted that many people will be checking their email at varying times during the day. So, timing is less of an issue.

So, be smart and send out your letter at the times and days people find most convenient to look at their email.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist



Donating Ideas

Hicham El Guerrouj

My Dad recently received a highly prestigious position as the voice/representative for a national non-profit organization. One of his tasks is to recommend to their marketing department ideas on how to boost donations for the year.

He asked me if I had any. I said that I did, but if his organization used them and I didn’t receive some sort of royalty or commission I would sue them… we both laugh it off.

But you know what? There was a level of seriousness to my comment. What if a simple chat among family gives birth to an idea that produces millions in donations? After all, how complex is the
Lance Armstrong Foundation “Live Strong” bracelet campaign? Not complex at all. How successful? To the tune of 12 millions dollars collected from yellow bracelet sales.

We willingly give away our ideas in the form of suggestions because we want to help and because we see little value in the abstract thought. But as
Joey Reiman in his book Thinking For A Living says “tomorrow's ideas will be the currency”, I too believe that in the near future “ideas” will be taking on a whole lot of tangible dollars worth since implementing them is far easier now than before.

In the mean time, I’m on my way to the Patent Office to submit a couple of ideas I had last night just in case they turn up as an exchange for donations.

Marcos J. Menéndez

Loop Consulting Group
Enewsletter Marketing Insight- May 2005 Issue

In this issue: Just before the seminar started, I asked the speaker "With all due respect sir, how is a man your age involved in cutting edge internet communications tools?" and he said "Well, I've been involved since 1972, when I helped create the
TCP/IP protocol for the Internet..." His answer got my undivided attention from there on. Complete article…

Marcos J. Menendez
Loop Consulting Group


What Do You Bring To The Party?

This is the time to put some emphasis on the word "news". When you send out enewsletters the expectation is that you will be presenting something new. Yet many enewsletter publishers do not seem to grasp this concept. There is a tendency to write about things that really bring nothing new to the party.

You know what I mean - rehashes of old information about their company and products, self-centered pieces about top management, editorials about political matters or maybe advocacy pieces for worthy causes.

When you see the title "newsletter" is this what you would expect to see there? Our bet is that you would be looking for information that you didn't have before. We think that you would be expecting something with at least a little edge of the excitement that comes with real news.
So have something fresh to bring to the table before you start your next newsletter.
Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist