In today’s crowded inboxes, email newsletters should be short and to the point. One point is ideal, rather than two or three articles. Worse is the brain dump ezine where the professional writes a term paper and showcases his/her knowledge.
This ezine tip comes from Michael Katz’ E-Newsletter called "Simply Put…Simple Sells," Oct. 13, 2006. (To subscribe, email ContactUs@BluePenguinDevelopment.com.)
Here’s an excerpt:
The problem with most E-Newsletters is "too much." Too much detail, too many points being made, too many words being used. Too much, too much, too much.
Few people have time or interest in learning everything you know about your chosen profession. Even if they did, that’s not why you publish a newsletter. You do it to position yourself as expert, make a human connection with your readers and stay top of mind, so that when a prospective client has a need that you can satisfy, you get the call…
In practice, that means doing three things (there’s probably a few more, but I’m oversimplifying again):
1. Isolate one idea. If you can’t sum up the central point of each edition of your newsletter in a handful of words, you’ve got too much in there. That’s not such bad news – take one idea and save the rest for a future issue(s).
2. Seek to educate, rather than impress. If you can approach your newsletter as a tool for helping your readers better understand the ins and outs of your area of expertise, you’re on the right track. Too many companies on the other hand, seem more interested in demonstrating how much they know – big words, detailed arguments, blah, blah, blah. Don’t worry… if you succeed in giving me a simple insight that I didn’t have before, I’ll believe you’re an expert anyway.
3. Boil it down. Your audience may be capable of plowing through a detailed document, but whether they want to or not is another story. Remember, your newsletter arrives in the middle of the work day along with dozens of other emails, most of which are short and casual. Think in terms of a tasty snack which leaves them hungry for more, rather than an eight course meal which has them running for the men’s room (sorry, bad metaphor).
Bottom Line: There are many situations in which providing lots and lots of detail works in your favor. Writing an effective E-Newsletter however, is not one of them. In this case, focus instead on providing brief, simple, easily understood chunks, with the promise of more to come next time.
Great advice from Michael.