These 7 common mistakes make many businesses’ email newsletters less effective than they should be.

Most businesses know the value of a great eNewsletter, especially if they offer a skilled or complex product or service.

That’s because an eNewsletter helps show off your expertise. It can build trust and credibility. It can reach a different audience to social media. And it can keep you top of mind when it comes to making a purchasing decision.

But many businesses make such rudimentary mistakes with their eNewsletters that they’d almost be better off not sending one at all.

Here’s 7 of the most common mistakes we see.

1. They’re boring.

There’s a lot of information competing for people’s precious time. So if you want people to actually pay attention to what you’ve got to say, you need to make sure they’re going to find it interesting. Fight against blandness. Present your information in an interesting way and use proven techniques such as the ‘How to’ article and the listicle. And, above all, make sure your headlines grab attention and compel people to read more. Speaking of which…

2. They ignore the subject line.

Too often people slave away for hours on an eNewsletter, then sabotage their good work by sending it out with a subject line like, ‘Newsletter – August 2015’.  Your subject line should be short (ideally viewable in its entirety on an iPhone) but it should also reel people in, appealing to their emotional side as well as their rational one. You can read more about how to get people to open your emails here.

3. They don’t segment.

Nothing turns people off more quickly than irrelevant content. Send out stuff that misses the mark even once and you’ll start losing people: open rates will plummet; unsubscribe rates will soar. So don’t rely on one big mailing list. Instead, group your subscribers together by interest and send out different eNewsletters – with different headlines and even different articles – that speak directly to them. And before you include any article, first ask yourself, ‘why would my audience care?’.

4. They get the format wrong.

Some businesses still like to include each article in its entirety in the body of the email. Others like to use an attached document such as a PDF… This is 2015 not 1997, so there’s no excuse for either. The stories in your eNewsletters should be hosted on your website and the content of your eNewsletter should contain punchy intros that invite people to click through. Only then will you be able to tell who’s opening what and what they’re reading. Read more about 4 simple ways to measure content marketing here.

5. They don’t use the data.

Once you do have that data, use it. The analytics you get from even simple mailing programs such as Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor can give you great insights into what your audience is interested in. If people click on a particular type of story, replicate it. If people aren’t clicking on anything, stop what you’re doing and work out a new appraoch.

6. They view them as stand alones.

A lot of businesses think they need original content for each one of their channels: social media, eNewsletters and website. That’s admirable, but it also misses the point. Your social media, eNewsletters and website blog share a symbiotic relationship and each story you write should appear across all three, with the ultimate goal of driving people to your website and converting them into paid customers or clients. You can see that relationship below.

content marketing, how to, ecosystem, elements of content marketing

Don’t make things hard for yourself. Write once, use many times.

7. They get the timing wrong.

Some businesses send too frequently (even your mother doesn’t want to hear from you every day); others too infrequently (you want people to remember that you’re out there). Read more about how often you should blog. Other businesses send their eNewsletter at the wrong time of day, ensuring it will never get read. I clear about 300 emails out of my inbox every Monday morning and I’m sure most of you go through a similar purging process where the default position is ‘delete’. So it goes without saying, that you probably shouldn’t send B2B eNewsletters over the weekend, overnight or too early in the morning.

So there you have it, 7 eNewsletter mistakes we see all the time… But the good news is that each one of these mistakes is also pretty easy to remedy once you realise that you’re doing it.

Contact Antelope Media and find out how we can help your business win more work through quality eNewsletters.

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Read more: How to get people to open your emails

Read more: What Hemingway can teach us about digital writing

Related services: Content marketing, Websites and digital marketing.

Ralph Grayden

Ralph Grayden

Ralph Grayden is content director at Antelope Media.