One of the most common marketing mistakes made by authors, businesses, and non-profits is sending “you-letters” instead of a newsletters. A “you-letter” is a newsletter that’s all about Y-O-U, which is self-absorbed and annoys people. For example, you’re probably sick of getting emails and junk mail where someone writes about themselves the whole time. It’s like that person is saying: “Hey, I know you’re busy, but I’d prefer for you to just sit there and read a bunch of selfish blather about me.”
For instance, when I was writing the chapter about newsletters for my new book, “Sell Your Book Like Wildfire,” I received an unsolicited e-newsletter from a new author plugging her first book. To my chagrin (and her loss), her newsletter content contained six different promotional ads for her book – all in the same issue. Yet, there wasn’t one helpful article or piece of information that benefited me. Ironically, her book was all about how to overcome stress and work more efficiently. Yet, her newsletter was a picture of inefficiency. Furthermore, it made me want to avoid all future newsletters from this person.
If you want to kill the promotional power of your newsletter, talk about yourself and ignore the needs of your audience. Make that mistake a couple of times, and people will throw everything you send to them in the trash.
Here’s a good rule-of-thumb to remember: Keep 80% of your newsletter content focused on helping or entertaining the audience. Write beneficial articles, answer frequently asked questions, comment on current events, provide resource listings, etc. Then, limit the other 20% of your newsletter to content about yourself, such as product promotion and personal updates. Stick to that 80 / 20 rule, and your newsletter will turn into a more effective marketing tool that people look forward to receiving.