Do You Really Want Another Email Newsletter?

books in a stack (a stack of books)

Every time someone tells me that I need to build a list and start an email newsletter I think of the pile of books around my house that I still haven’t gotten around to reading.

That pile isn’t shrinking as fast as I would like it to and is not because I am not reading. I always have a book or two that I am plugging through plus the seven magazines I subscribe to.

None of that takes into account my most valuable and limited resource…time.  Family and work responsibilities take precedence over reading time and that makes me wonder about newsletters.

Do You Really Want Another Email Newsletter?

One of the biggest business mistakes people make is we often spend far too much time thinking about what we need, like and want. The focus should be first on what our prospects and customers need.

That being said I feel comfortable saying my time issues are not unusual. I am not an outlier, those of with families that have school age children tend to be very busy but that doesn’t exclude those who don’t have children either.

You rarely come across studies that say the average person complains about having too much free time on their hands.

And that my friends is why when people talk to me about building a newsletter I have a standard list of questions I ask:

  • Do we really need another newsletter?
  • Is there a point to pushing out another email that people probably won’t read?
  • What do you hope to accomplish and why are you doing this?
  • What service should I use and why?

If you can’t answer those questions authoritatively and enthusiastically than I would argue against spending time creating something that is going to be a time suck.

That doesn’t mean newsletters are bad or that they aren’t useful because they are. Email still works but you need to provide real value to make sure they are read.

What Would It Take For You To Commit To Reading Another Newsletter?

Remember when I said business people spend too much time thinking about why they like things and not enough on their customers? Well ignore that for a moment and ask yourself what it would take for you to commit to reading another newsletter.

Once you answer that question ask yourself if you can commit to meeting those requirements and if you can say yes go back to the list of questions we talked about earlier and review.

If you still feel good about everything you should be on your way to building something special and meaningful that people will open and read.

What do you think?

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  1. Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes June 2, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Mimuba I think your solution for a sample audience makes a lot of sense, I really like that.

  2. Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes June 1, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Hi Adrienne,
    You are absolutely correct it can apply to blogs too. My experience has shown that some very good bloggers aren’t as adept at putting together newsletters. I suspect it is because some focus on trying to provide newsletter content that isn’t on the blog and it leaves them overextended.
    They could use the newsletter to drive traffic to existing content on the blog and find success that way.
    Ultimately I think it is better to have a smaller list of devoted readers than a larger one of mixed interest.

  3. Mimuba May 31, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Hey Josh
    You are right just adding another newsletter will never serve your purpose. Yes if you have a unique idea or you think you can give something different, some more value to your readers then you must start your newsletter. In that case not starting the one is a big injustice to your readers. But who will decide if your newsletter has some value to your readers. Here comes the role of close-door survey. 
    You need to pick a sample audience of your close friends and family members. Just send first three copies to them and then ask them, request them even force them comment on it without any courtesy or any other soft consideration. In that way you can decide are you really want to add value with your newsletter or just adding another one in the lengthy list already available online mostly free of cost.

  4. AdrienneSmith May 30, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Hey Josh,

    The same thing could be said for blogs.  Do I really need to read one more blog?  Do I really need to be sure and read what this guy or gal has to say?  I would say yes if what they share is something that peaks my interest.

    I visit a lot of blogs but there are probably just a little over a hand full that I really like to be sure and read each week.  If their newsletters are just as good as their content then hell yeah, I’m there.  It’s the people who do nothing but sign up for everything under the sun thinking they’re supporting them when they never open them and read them.  I don’t want your support like that and you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t opt into my list.  I only want you there if you want to be there.

    So I think they are good if that’s what you want.  Otherwise they are just a waste of our time.


  5. Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes May 30, 2014 at 8:43 am

    KDillabough I think it is a pretty common observation/comment. I know I had to make a point to go through my stuff and cut back, limited time and bandwidth.

  6. KDillabough May 29, 2014 at 6:02 am

    I think a) I signed up for too many newsletters when I started out online that b) got read in the early days that c) got followed up with more pushes from so many to sign up for newsletters that d) got to be too much white noise that e) prompted me to unsubscribe to many to f) become much wiser about what I need and want online. Cheers! Kaarina

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