Things that shouldn’t be included in an email newsletter

Over the course of a number of blog posts, we’ve looked at what content you should consider including in your email newsletters if you really want them to stand out (and matter) in your subscriber’s inbox. With this article however we want to focus on content that is best left out, for a number of different reasons.

To get the ball rolling (and to rack your brains), let’s have a quick recap of the content that we should work hard to include:

Dynamic Content — This looks at tailoring your campaigns based on how you’ve segmented your audience according to their individual wants and needs. What it aims to do is make sure each target group receives different content, such as offers, images, calls-to-action and links to landing pages. It makes sure your email marketing campaigns remain highly personalised and targeted, which is of course what you want to aim for if you want those results you so desire.

Social Media Content — You need to be actively driving people through different social media platforms to your website with the aim of converting them to sign up to your newsletter. Likewise, your newsletter should include links to your social media profiles too. But that’s the obvious advice. You can also include feedback and opinions on what’s currently trending in your industry; include tweets and comments that your subscribers have posted that might benefit your other readers (thereby giving them recognition and making them feel valued) and conducting interviews and surveys via Twitter and Facebook and including the full interview in your next newsletter.

Great Content Topic Ideas (read: relevant, interesting and useful to subscribers.) – Event listings; lists (everyone likes a good list); how-to guides; Q&A’s (listen to what your subscribers are asking via social media platforms, blogs, forums etc.); trends and predictions; product reviews; guest author contributions; trivia, history and interesting facts.

Right, now that’s out of the way let’s start having a look at things that really shouldn’t be included in your email newsletters.

Massive images — For so many reasons, these should be restricted to one or two small images that are actually relevant to the content. By default, images are normally blocked and a surprisingly small number of marketers take the time to include alt text, so subscribers can’t see what the images are anyway. Added to this, they can also take painfully long to download and many readers simply can’t be bothered or lose interest half way . However, if you are going to insist on including large images, make sure they are not embedded. This way your subscriber can choose whether they want to download the images or not.

Questionable content — Anything that is remotely political, religiously biased, sexist or racist in any way needs to be omitted from your email newsletter. If in doubt, take it out. Of course if you are a legitimate campaigner or church organisation for example then your newsletters will essentially be based around these topics but you still need to be careful not to offend anyone.

Full credit card details — Yes, we know this sounds obvious, but it’s been seen before. It’s simply too risky and it’s not worth putting your customers privacy and your reputation (if anyone other than your customer sees the details and uses them to their advantage) on the line. Always make sure only the last few digits of a credit card number are visible, and absolutely never include the last three numbers of the security code on the back of the credit card. These days, there are too many other places a subscribers email can land up, other than in their inbox, therefore it’s a good idea to keep personal information (especially banking details) to a minimum.

Other recipients email addresses — another obvious one, you’d think. Whether it’s accidental or not isn’t the point, the fact is there are strong privacy policies in place that prevent a person’s email address from being shared and one wrong click of a button means that you might CC everyone instead of BCC everyone, and this in itself is very difficult to come back from. Of course if you’re sending your emails through an established and professional e-mail marketing service, then you wouldn’t have this type of problem. Don’t snigger; there are still many who send their email campaigns through Outlook.

Large Attachments — These can also take an absurd amount of time to download, especially if it’s a report or white paper. Rather insert a link in the body of your email newsletter to a landing page where subscribers have the option to download it if and when they want to. Also, adding attachments can make it more difficult to get through spam filters, as if we didn’t have enough trouble as it is trying to reach our subscribers inbox.

So, there we go, go forth and create interesting, email newsletters with content that your customers are going to love you for, and not cringe and shake their head at. And of course, don’t forget to listen out for what content they are really interested in finding out more about.



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