I’ll never forget the sudden needle-scratch and chirping crickets moment when Eric Murrell mentioned that “Email newsletters are dead” while we led a session at MinistryCom several years ago.
Funny thing is, several attenders actually referred to that comment on the feedback surveys at the end of the conference – Not positive either.
I might reget it, but I think it’s time to dive back into this polarizing subject.
Do you read email newsletters?
I feel that’s a valid question to kick things off.
For me? No.
I have every intention to read the ones I actually sign up for. However, before I can read it I get more in from the same folks, so then I just end up deleting all of them to avoid being behind – A vicious, vicious cycle.
My email reading habits make me skeptical about email newsletters.
Why all of the recent email newsletter invitations?
Please hear me out. I don’t believe all email newsletters are dead… yet. There’s definitely a time and place for them.
For example, they’re still the primary way most churches get the word out. Folks read these because they realize this is the best way to find out what’s going on.
But what about personal email newsletters? I’ve seen these grow in recent months. Are they making a comeback? What happened to blogs and other forms of social media to get your message out and engage a following?
When I asked this question on Twitter recently, our good buddy Tim Schraeder (and proud owner of a personal email newsletter) weighed in.
“A wise person told me social media is a way to interact with your tribe. An email list is a way to build your future.”
Tame the pitches down, tiger.
Eric Murrell says, “I think the problem is that the inbox is an intimate space; whether requested or not.” Indeed, my biggest frustration is with the email newsletters that always end up being a sales pitch. Honestly, it’s just about all of them for me.
Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing, talks about this.
“I see people doing this all of the time. I sign up for their ‘newsletter’ and all I get are pitches for products. I want to learn from you, that’s why I signed up. I made this mistake years ago myself. I built a newsletter up to more than 300,000 subscribers and started my pitches. I lost more than 100,000 subscribers in six months. Ya, whoops.”
He goes on to say,
“It’s not about list size, open rates, or click-throughs if all you’re going to do is pitch them. It’s about engagement. It’s about when I see your newsletter in my inbox, among 400 other things in the morning, I say to myself, ‘I have to read this, it’s always great.’”
What say ye?
Where do you land on this subject?
Are you using email newsletters? Personal or organizationally? How are they working for you?
Or the flip side – Are you anti-newsletter? What brought you to that decision?
I feel like we’re just scratching the surface. Please comment below.