5 mins, 14 secs read

Trick or Click! Don’t Scare Clicks Away With These Monstrous Newsletter Mistakes

2 months ago

Have you ever had a bad dream about work? From a marketer’s point of view, it would probably be a meeting about acquiring new leads. After hours of brainstorming, suddenly someone comes up with a BRILLIANT idea of… sending a newsletter. At this moment, you can wake up screaming. But wait, maybe newsletters don’t have to be marketing beasts that scare your audience away? We’ve identified the scariest newsletter mistakes that can make your emails feel like flesh-eating zombies to subscribers.

A Nightmare on Email Marketing Street

If you are not convinced that newsletters are an effective tool, then I have some good news—this has already been checked. DISQUS asked 1,421 people if they subscribed to newsletters and 70,6% of them admitted to subscribing to at least one!

Sometime earlier, Marketing Sherpa conducted a study that showed that as much as 72% of adults in the US prefer to receive messages from companies by email (and this is definitely more than the audience of TV commercials, social media, personal communication or from phone calls).

So how can you encourage all these enthusiasts to subscribe to yournewsletter? Here are some good tips:

The graphic shows newsletter as a link in a malinig footer.

The phantom of all-in-one bundle newsletters

Are your newsletters as long as mummy’s bandages? This problem results from the fact that newsletter writers feel the urge to cram everything they can, which results in a frightening mix of PR stories, presenting new products, blog updates, event photos and more.

What can you do to avoid such situations? The rule is simple – one newsletter, one issue. Keep it focused and don’t let it be a Frankenstein of random parts sewn together.

Try to look at the newsletter through the prism of the final recipient and their potential interests, not the information that you want to put there to satisfy yourself.

Spend more time and create two different variations of the newsletter. For example, prepare newsletters addressed to your customers (discounts, new items in stock, educational content) and business partners (links to business info, company news or pictures from the events you participated in).

Use newsletters to help you achieve specific business and marketing goals.

Below you will find a scary list of informative content which could be used in your newsletter – maybe you’ll get inspired:

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Promotion vs. Education

Let’s be honest: writing about products is our marketing bread and butter. But why would our clients want to read about this every month (or every day)?

Newsletters should not look like a promotional leaflet from the supermarket. You want to engage your clients, make them emotionally attached to your brand, and not scare them away with trivial things that may or may not interest them.

So what can we offer customers instead? The answer is simple: education. They will appreciate more detailed, valuable information supported by a specific offer more than an offer supported by random data and photos.

the GIF presents a short sequence from a Harry Potter movie, showing flying pumpkin lanterns above the school dining room

Subject Line Vampires

After you have created the content of your newsletter, it’s time to send it. But what guarantee do you have that customers won’t remove it right away by sending it to the trash folder? What’s the best way to at least get them to open the message? There is no perfect solution here but in practice, you can encourage them to open the message by using the appropriate email title.

Many marketers make a basic mistake by trying to make their newsletter titles compatible as part of a series and referring to the name of the month, company, or just by putting the word “newsletter” in the email subject line.

There is a better way. The idea is always to draw interest and engage your recipient. If you get their attention, they will click on the received email. Here are some examples of how Thrillist does it (perfectly):

The graphic shows newsletter using catchy email subject lines.

Call to Action: Do It Now!

Keep your content scannable. If you have an old template that looks like it’s covered in dust and spider’s webs—clean it up and make it readable. Check it out how Banana Republic did it:

from this…


A screenshot of a newsletter by Banana Republic in 2012

Banana Republic newsletter in 2012

…to this


A screenshot of a newsletter by Banana Republic in 2017

Banana Republic newsletter in 2017

Remember to use content blocks, bullet points and other visual elements. Keep design both minimal and tidy (while complying with your brand book).

Take special care about the most important element – call to action buttons. Make them visible and encouraging the recipient to take further action. Lead readers where you want them to go—a product page, social media channel, blog, etc.

And always remember: a newsletter is not meant for selling, but for building a long-term client-relationship.

TIP: Speaking of time, be like a werewolf transforming EACH full moon. Send newsletters regularly, as promised (daily/once a week/once a month), not when you remember to do it. Thanks to this, you will be perceived as a committed and credible brand🙂 No one likes those friends who contact us only when they want something once in a blue moon, right?

Haunted Ending: Let Readers Unsubscribe Easily

Always choose the lesser of two evils. It’s better to let readers resign calmly than to have your mailbox and social media feeds full of claims about spamming.

Remember that in accordance with applicable law and good practices, placing the unsubscribe button in every marketing email is mandatory, so try not to take it personally. Put it in a visible spot.

Here are some reasons why people resign from newsletter subscriptions (or do not decide to subscribe anything at all):

TIP: It is a good idea to put a questionnaire on the newsletter resignation pagewhere you ask about reasons for unsubscribing. The information you gather can be used to stop the outflow of users – for example, maybe you’ll get feedback that you should change the frequency of sending the newsletter so you don’t flood email inboxes with too many messages.

The graphic represents newsletter mistakes with Halloween-themed details: a moon in the dark night and a zombie finger clicking a green smartphone screen

Newsletter Mistake Busters to the rescue!

Making friends with newsletters is not as difficult as it seems. Just make sure that you learn from your mistakes. If you stick to this advice and will test everything before sending you will refine the style and content of your message until it is fully optimized.

Remember also that the newsletter, like every email campaign, has the benefit of being measurable, so check from time to time on the relevant stats and fix elements as needed.

And on the occasion of Halloween, together with Edgar A. Poe, we wish you that the midnight newsletter knocking on the mailing door was something terribly brilliant, not “nothing more”.

The graphic presents a quote from a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, surrounded by green flying bats