Can we take a minute to talk about newsletters?

I’m torn.

There are a few newsletters that I LOVE. They provide killer content and some really interesting actionable ideas. They find a problem or a pain point and they provide a solution, or at the very least an explanation. They tell me what interesting people are doing and why. They’re great.

But please note that I used the word “few”. I used that word because MOST of the newsletters out there are garbage. They remind me of when I began wooing my wife. It was impressive. There were roses and presents. Small post-it notes left all around with whispered messages of I love you. There were coupons for hugs. There was jewelry. It was incredible.

It’ a lot like when you’re on a site and some company offers you some fantastic piece of actionable content and the promise of more to come, only to feed you bullshit offers and recycled content on the regular, just to get in your digital pants.

So, I’ve been hesitant to really use newsletters in any significant way in my own business. I KNOW that they work. I know that you can use them to foster relationships and make sales. I know this. In my heart of hearts. But there’s a trade off. In many cases, you end up annoying and aggravating existing customers just to gain new ones.

I know. It’s going to cost more to get a customer than to keep a customer but the cost of a new customer should never be losing an old one. Ever.

So every once in awhile I push out a newsletter with something cool I’ve written or worked on. And every single time it’s the same old story. I promise them a date night once a week. I promise romance. I promise the flame. And then I work. And they’re left behind. And I’m always disappointed in myself.

So where does that leave us? I believe that newsletters have the potential to be incredibly powerful. I recommend them to (some) clients but here are the caveats;

  1. Keep it up. If you promise something, deliver. If you promise weekly updates, deliver weekly updates. If you promise quarterly….
  2. Deliver REAL things. If you want to pop in a couple old blog posts or something like that, feel free. But this shouldn’t be the same BS content you’re just tossing out willy nilly all over social. You made them give you something, their email, so you better give them something back.
  3. Don’t look so god damned unoriginal. I get why we use templates. It’s easy. And they look pretty good. But I get 4-5 newsletters a week in my inbox that all look the same. And they get deleted…quickly.

If you have a business, it’s a good idea to have a newsletter. But understand that it’s work. And do it right.