Learning with Email Newsletters…

Image by Amnemona

…isn’t the way for me. I’ve subscribed to a couple of interesting websites where I get few mails per week of some topics that I find interesting. The emailing is slowly killing my interest in these contents.

Email seems to be a wrong kind of a class room for me. When I check my mail account, I try to do it quickly and efficiently – no one really likes to spend time with it, right? This also affects how I read the mails I should like.

I read them like running and toss them away or archive them, most likely never to return to them. What a waste of time and the original purpose is lost; I subscribed to them to learn something new, not to get a panic attack or an information overflow.

I believe that, for me at last, RSS reader is still a better way to go through short materials like these, but still, book’s still the number one. I like the contrast in the moment when I don’t have to watch the computer screen I watch for so many hours per day. And it’s more fun and relaxing to lay in the couch too. 😉

May we send you a newsletter, please?

Image by ropesandpulleys (License)

Sometimes you only have to ask nicely.

This morning I received a mail from YouTube. It was a happy mail, a nice mail, a mail that didn’t make me angry but to like YouTube more and feel there are real people writing me these mails.

So, what makes people read a mail anyway? Of course one thing is a right kind of header. The header in this message was something that may have some importance to me, My YouTube Preferences. Of course this could be some kind of a phishing attempt, but I as a professional emailer [a smiley face here] know this isn’t one [they’re not asking me to open anything and there’s no attached files in it – is a good sign on that one].

The letter itself starts like this, and I quote:

At some point, you opted in to receive a weekly newsletter from YouTube. You may have noticed that we actually haven’t sent this newsletter in quite a while, although we assure you we’ve been quite busy during that time!

What a nice way to put it! No, I actually didn’t notice that you haven’t ‘spammed’ me even once after the day I registered to YouTube [maybe a couple of years ago], but that’s OK, now I realize it.

The tone in the beginning of the message is personal, natural and even with a slight self irony in it. A class example how to start your message if you want someone to read it.

The message continues with describing whatfor they’ve send me the current message: they are announcing that they are beginning to send out more newsletters in the future and if I like to have them to my mail I don’t have to do anything.

This Taoist ‘do nothing’ is a very pivotal point here. If I’ve once subscribed to a newsletter, there shouldn’t be any reason to bother me with a new subscription. Users are often lazy, don’t try them out.

If the YouTube staff wanted to be annoying, they would’ve put out a message where was a link like “Re-subscribe”. This could’ve been a good place for YouTube to do a survey using the data on, for example how many users clicked the link.

Right after this point in the letter they are also describing, with a sentence, how I should proceed if I don’t want these messages in the future. So that one’s cover too.

So what else one would like to bring up in a letter like this? When you’ve shuffled through the trouble of getting the customers/users/ reading your message, why not tell them where they can read more about your service? Yes of course: from our blog! ‘Here’s the address if you would like to read it sometimes”.

And then shut up and close the letter; thank the customer of using your services and invite them to check out the new stuff you’ve created for them by providing the address to your service if they have somehow lost it. And ‘Sincerely yours’ as a cherry on top.

A newsletter doesn’t have to be that more inventive or unique than this to stand out and be worth of reading. Keep it small, introduce what you got to say [and have something to say] with a clear and solid way – don’t bore the reader. And talk nicely. The tone of ‘would we’ isn’t sucking up. It’s called c-o-u-r-t-e-s-y.