At least I like to pretend that they are. The fact of the matter is that I hate email newsletters with a burning passion. People mostly ignore them, they’re a pain in the butt to design and I think it’s just a dumb way to get information to your audience these days.
I realize that this is a strong opinion to hold, and one that not everyone agrees with. Lots of thriving ministries place a big emphasis on email newsletters, and Cleve even threw together a great list of bulk email services that he’s had success with.
With that said, I’m trying to move our church further away from email newsletters with every project I take on. Here’s why:
RSS is More Effective
News feeds are finally gaining mainstream popularity due to the abundance of personalized start pages and feed readers that are built into just about everything these days. RSS feeds push information out immediately, can be integrated into countless programs/devices and require no extra effort on our end.
Facebook is the New Start Page
It seems like almost everyone I know starts and ends their time online by checking their Facebook page along with their email. Since our Facebook page automatically pulls in our RSS feed, fans immediately receive the latest news without having to take additional steps to subscribe.
Feedburner Has Email Subscriptions Built-in
Newsletters Aren’t Effective Any More
Do you regularly read the email newsletters that end up in your inbox? I know I don’t. Even if I sign myself up intentionally, I’ll skim the first message I receive (maybe) and will then ignore all of the rest. They even begin to annoy me over time, requiring me to unsubscribe or just block the message as spam. Just like ads online, my eyes are in the habit of ignoring the newsletters in my inbox.
Am I saying that email communication all together is a bad idea? Not at all. I understand the importance of occasional email blasts for special events and promotions. I just feel that the weekly newsletter format is an outdated way to push out your information online.
So there… I’ve layed out my opinion on the matter. I would love to hear your side of the story; do you have a rockin’ email ministry that’s extremely sucessful? Are newsletters still necessary in today’s online world?
[Image © Pepo]