Mistakes People Make

Here is the beginning of a list that we may be adding to from time to time. This is a listing of mistakes we have seen enewsletter issuers make:

  • Dull presentation -- Many of the BTB letters we see are just plain drab and uninteresting.
  • Too much "Us" -- These are letters that overkill with self praise. They are all about "Our wonderful facility", "Our wonderful people", etc
  • Not enough linking -- Links to outside sources of useful info can expand the effect of a letter.
  • Not newsy enough -- They are called enewsletters, so why do some turn out to be sales pamphlets?
  • Sent out at the wrong time -- There are days of the week and times of the day that can be optimum for certain products and service. So why send them at other times?
  • Bad subject lines -- That line at the top of email inbox listings must lure the reader to open the letter. Some smell of junk mail.

Ok, that's our starter list. Please feel free to do some add ons.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig

Senior Marketing Strategist



Massaging The Layout

The first try at a layout for an enewsletter can become a dart board. It is interesting how things become apparent when one sees the letter as it comes up from the Inbox. So, everyone involved should feel welcome to suggest changes and improvements.

Is this bad? Well, when not carried to an extreme, it is useful. We have just been through this with an enewsletter for an important client. In this case, a lot of the critique for improvements came from us. We are not so insecure that we are unwilling to criticize our own work.

The real villains, with respect to critiquing the first letter, are those who purposely ignore that fact that it can be improved. We cannot call this benign neglect. There is nothing benign about not trying to improve on one's work.

We view the enewsletter as a living, changing organism. We do not think an enewsletter should be carved in stone.

We may seem to be foolish for making more work for ourselves. But, in our opinion, this willingness to engage in change is one of the criteria of true professionalism.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


The Critical Importance Of List Management

eNewsletter programs are vitally dependent on mailing lists. They can live or die, depending on how well these lists are managed.

Once Loop Consulting receives the intial email distribution list from the client, a database is created and uploaded for storage. After the each issue is delivered a report will organize and classify the entries as follows:

  • Total emails sent
  • Total hard bounced emails (undeliverable or dead)
  • Total soft bounced (available but temporarily undeliverable. We resend every 3 hours for 72 hours.)
  • Total emails received
  • Total emails unsubscribed
  • Total newly subscribed emails
  • Total emails forwarded
  • Total emails opened

We provide our clients with a report of the list's performance based on the above criteria.

If you aren't getting this kind of attention from your service, you definitely need us!

Prescott "Pete" Lustig

Senior Marketing Strategist



Who Should Be Doing Your eNewsletters?

So, are we going to tell you that Loop should be doing your letters? Not necessarily.

There is always the option of doing the letters yourself - and a lot of enewsletters are internally generated. In order to do this you have to own, or have access to, the software to distribute letters and track the action. You have to have someone on staff who manages the enewsletter campaign. You need someone with technical expertise. You also need someone who is a more than "pretty good" writer. And you need to have a expediter, a whip, who sees that it gets out every month.

That is a load! But if any one of these elements is not there, the chances that the enewsletter campaign will die a slow, painful death are high.

Yes, we can bring all these factors into play to do enewsletters for you. And how sweet it is for you to be in a position to drive the machine instead of being the horse that pulls it.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


Do eNewsletters Have To Be Drab?

We look at scores of enewsletters to see what is going on - and to see how ours stack up in comparison. From this informal survey we come up with this observation: most enewsletters are insufferably dull.

Why do you suppose this is? One guess that we make is that some corporate decision makers are nervous about not looking serious. To carry this assumption a step further, they may be afraid that someone in their corporate hierarchy may criticize them for a letter that has a little frivolity in it.

Another reason, we postulate, is that they simply haven't thought of the letters being any way but dead-on "businesslike."

But, if you take human nature into consideration, people will be more likely to read through letters that offer them a little smile -- even an occasional laugh. Or if a letter is written more in the form of a real life story, readership can be better. It is easier to get through than a letter that reads like a sales pamphlet.

If you want an example of an enewsletter that offers entertaining stories, take a look at EMI, Loop Consulting's monthly enewsletter. http://www.loopconsulting.com/emi/july2005/

We love to write letters that people like to read. How about doing it for you?

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


Taking Advantage of The Blogging Phenomenon

You must be into blogging or you wouldn't be reading this. It is amazing that out of the millions of blogs out there, one can still find a niche that attracts readers with specific interests. The sheer size of the blog-reading audience assures that a commercial blogger can attract a substantial audience for his or her products/services.

We know that people who come to our eNewsletter Marketing Spot are taking action. We are getting a lot of signups for our eNewsletter from it.

Also, I will share my experience with my personal blog, The Late Life Crisis in MSN Spaces. It was chosen as the blog of the week and that delivered 115,000 visitors to the site.

Successful blogging does require frequent postings. That can be a challenge when your business has so many other demands on your time. So, if you want to get into blogging, consider having us do it for you. You can be assured that we will keep it going.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


The Paper Letters Didn't Have A Chance

I was just paying a stack of bills and found that I was throwing out a lot of enclosed materials. Some of them were newsletters that were enclosed with the invoice. That is, enclosed along with a bunch of other pieces of advertising paper.

I simply sorted out everything that wasn't the invoice or the return envelope and dumped them in the waste basket. The newsletters were folded, so I didn't even look at the headlines. Whatever message the company wanted to get to me never reached its destination - my mind.

Now, contrast this with what would have happened if these had been enewsletters. First of all, I would have gotten some sort of a kernel of the message in the "subject" line of the email. Second, even if I don't fully open the letter, in the MSN Explorer email that I use, the opening lines of the message are displayed in the space below. This allows me to decide if I want to fully open it and read all of the message.

So, there have been two levels of attention getting - two stages of information imparted. This can give me the incentive to fully open the letter and read it.

I don't need to belabor this point, do I? Enewsletters have an attention-grabbing effect that paper letters just don't have.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist