Friday, November 03, 2006

#1 email newsletter usability violation

What's the worst mistake you can make with an email newsletter that users subscribe to?

Using it to sell shit.

Guess what? When a person subscribes to a newsletter deliverable to his or her computer, that person does NOT want to see tons of ads, or hyped bullshit about some fucking seminar or an exclusive fucking report.

Subscribers to newsletters want News in a Letter. That's what a newsletter is. They want a personal communication, with updates and information they can actually USE. They want meat, not window dressing.

Give your newsletter subscribers practical tips, URLs of interesting and relevant sites, highlights of new research, quick guides, step-by-step mini-tutorials, essence statements, product comparison charts, technology alerts, business trends from your point of view, instructional anecdotes, business principles, professional insights...all the stuff you should also be presenting in your blog or dynamic content website.

I am about to un-subscribe to some newsletters that are just creepy, sales-crazy, boring hype and hoopla jobs. What a freaking waste of my valuable time, opening up a newsletter that just wants to shout at me to BUY some stupid shit. If it's THAT good, make it FREE, jerkbag.

Don't sell me, tell me. Tell me what you know, that could benefit me, right now. I don't want to wait for your lecture in Dallas or your camp in Oregon. I want a Free Prize Inside my newsletter, an added value, A REASON TO BOTHER OPENING IT EACH TIME IT ARRIVES.

I don't want your white papers, your conferences, or your books.

Just give me distillations of your expertise, and links to pre-surfed web sites. Thanks.

Flush your freaking ads and seminar registrations down the toilet where they belong.

If you want me to buy your crap, quit pushing it so hard. Give me some practical, useful information, then tack a discreet and modest ad at the bottom, in the remote possibility that I might desire every word you spit out.

Convince me with tons of free stuff, then maybe, if you're a real genius, I MIGHT actually BUY some of your junk. But not until you get me addicted to, and helplessly dependent upon, your thinking and writing, that I got for nothing.

Astonish me with FREE crap, and I may end up BEGGING YOU for more, at whatever cost.

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