5 Big Mistakes Highlighted from Our Email Newsletter Reviews

Email newsletter rants from email marketing expert, Jeanne Jennings

As I was paging through our list of email newsletter reviews, written by the admirable Jeanne Jennings, I was finding some pretty great commentary about what worked and what didn’t work amongst the email newsletters we reviewed.

Wine Spectator’s Sips & Tips needed a byline to match their personality

“It’s so friendly and personable that not having a person associated with it seems odd,” writes Jennings about Wine Spectator’s Sips & Tips email newsletter. And how true it is. How often do we come across a blog post or an email newsletter with deep opinion and personalization, only to be held up by a brand name rather than a person?

Variety Headline News sending emails too early in the morning

“I imagine that Variety wants to be there to greet their industry folks when they arrive in their office, but sending in the middle of the night puts them in the midst of some unsavory company (read: spam),” says Jennings about Variety Headline News. Her solution? “I’d try a send time closer to office hours, based on the make-up of their list. If it’s primarily west coast folks, then 10:00 AM eastern (7:00 AM pacific); if a majority of the list is east coast, then closer to 8:00 AM eastern.”


Computerworld forgets about the preview pane

“All the momentum built by the from and subject lines is lost when readers see the preview pane,” says Jennings about Computerworld’s First Look email newsletter.

“The real story here is what’s missing and what’s here that shouldn’t be,” she writes. “We’re not seeing anything that provides a clue about the content – no headline or anything else to back-up the expectations set by the subject line. There’s also no link to view the email online, which would at least offer an opportunity for readers to benefit from a more readable HTML version.”

Another annoyance that Jennings noticed was the advertisement. “What’s here that shouldn’t be? An advertisement – or a note from the email newsletter “Sponsor,” just like we did in 1995. Even in an ad-supported email newsletter like this one, this isn’t the best use of prime real estate.”

South Beach Diet Online’s Daily Dish uses graphics for ads, but not for feature articles

“One key piece of content in most issues was a recipe – why aren’t we shown an image of the dish in the email?” asks Jennings. “This would be a way to pull images in to support and highlight the editorial content – although it would probably require South Beach to decrease the current space given to image ads, to avoid image overload,” she writes. “The email wasn’t engaging to the eye and didn’t immediately draw readers in”.

Wall Street Journal’s Media & Marketing Edition truncates the subject line

“We go from a great ‘from line’ to an average ‘subject line’,” says Jennings.

“The first half of the subject line is the same from issue-to-issue and seeks to differentiate this email newsletter title from their others,” writes Jennings. “A worthy endeavor, but one better handled with an abbreviation in the subject line or as an addition to the from line.” Jennings suggests a few tweaks:

  • Shorten “MEDIA AND MARKETING EDITION:” to “[Mktg]” or something similar, or
  • Change the from line to read “WSJ Media and Marketing Edition”

“And the all caps? It should go,” she writes. “It’s so 1995, not to mention it’s shouting at the recipient.”

If you have any loved/loathed email newsletter quirks, feel free to rant in the comments!


Leave a Reply