In the "connected" world, where people are bombarded with information, email newsletter subscription increases the chance of your message getting through. However, it is absolutely vital that when you get a subscriber you deliver them genuine value. A newsletter that is simply full of hard sell and poor quality content damages your reputation. Do it well or don't do it at all. People experience a greater connection and loyalty to companies through e-mail newsletters than is possible through Web sites, according to a recent study from Jakob Nielsen.
"Newsletters feel personal because they arrive in your e-mail inbox, and you have an ongoing relationship with them. In contrast, Web sites are things you glance at when you need to find an answer to a specific question," said Jakob Nielsen, principal of the Nielsen-Norman Group, a Freemont, Calif. research group that conducted the study. Nielsen Norman Group focuses on all aspects of consumers' interaction with a company.
Nielsen's study of email newsletters found:
» People have "highly emotional reactions to newsletters which feel much more personal than websites." People are "frustrated by newsletters that demanded too much of their time."
» If people "keep getting unwanted newsletters, the messages will start to backfire and become regular reminders that your company is annoying."
» People should be able to subscribe and unsubscribe quickly.
"People get a lot of email. They don't have time to read a lot of text." Therefore, newsletters need to be short and laid out in a simple, straightforward manner. A regular subscription schedule is very important.
"Writing good subject lines is especially important, both to encourage users to open the newsletter and to distinguish the newsletter from spam."
A word of warning. People are drowning in spam. In an intranet, it may be okay to send a monthly What's New to all members of staff. But unless you want a reputation as a scam artist, never, ever subscribe people to a public newsletter without their agreement. Address all unsubscription problems immediately.
Always treat your subscriber with respect. Otherwise, they will treat you with contempt.
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