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Friday Digital Roundup

The Friday Digital Roundup is a witty take on the weird world of the internet. With fun stories from around the globe, it’s the only email newsletter you’ll actually read and enjoy!

We do love writing it, but clearly not as much as people like receiving it - just look at the response we got when a technical hitch meant it wasn’t sent out on time!

David Morphew @DavidMorphew

I didn't receive the Roundup. The Roundup comes on Friday. Therefore it can't be Friday.

Geraldine Jones @EWC_wordsmith

No digital round-up this week?! My breakfast just wasn't the same without it :(

Helen Taylor @HelenTPermCos

It's the only way to start your weekend and end the week! Miss it, miss out!

Spaghetti Blog

Wednesday 21st November 2018

Why We Banned Newsletters, and Why You Should Too…

Wed 11th Jul 2018
By Todd

As we scroll through our inboxes we’re naturally being selfish. We’re looking for emails that concern us, are about us, and (if you’re in business) are from people who want to work with us and give us money.

Our inboxes are busy and our selfish little minds are interested in what concerns us, not others.

There are 269 BILLION emails sent a day. A DAY! How you stand out in all that is quite baffling.

But what we do know is that sending a ‘newsletter’ isn’t gonna cut it.

Years ago Jo and I went to an awesome digital marketing conference in Birmingham and a guy stood on stage and talked to us about email marketing.

At the time we were new to the business game. We loved social media (it’s where we met, after all) and were not really into email. Our list was small and we were somewhat sceptical that email marketing worked.

This speaker changed that though for us though… he changed it forever!

Email marketing

Since then we’ve used email a lot and it forms the core part of our marketing.

For the life of me I can’t remember his name, but he said a few things that stuck with me (although I’ll paraphrase here):

  • If you don’t email your list, you’ve basically unsubscribed them all
  • Don’t email for the sake of emailing
  • Add value and don’t make it all about yourself.

We listened and we started to use email marketing. We opted to send a weekly email full of fun and quirky stories and we decided it would be called the Friday Digital Roundup.

As we’d learned that day, it would be valuable, interesting, and it would stand out in people’s inboxes. It would also help us stay in contact with our customers and potential customers.

The first email went out on Friday 25th July 2014 at 6am (here it is) and it has been sent every single Friday since then. Add yourself right here.

But it is not, and will never be, a newsletter!

We banned the word in our training workshops. We refuse to allow people to call their email marketing a ‘newsletter’. And although we offer email writing services we don’t let our clients call them newsletters either.

 

But why? What’s wrong with newsletters?

For us (if you’re a small business) EVERYTHING!

“You should never email for the sake of emailing and you shouldn’t make it about you – make it about them!”

That’s what the guy said, and he was right.

What is a newsletter? Well we think it’s an email all about you and your business that features your news and updates and has no real value at all.

Most newsletters are full of updates that I don’t give a crap about. I’m sorry.

 

I don’t care that you had an office birthday.

I don’t care that you’re up for an award, but well done anyway.

I don’t care that your MD is going to a conference.

I don’t care that you took on a new member of staff.

I don’t care about your new office plant.

 

I DON’T CARE (and no one else does either, except your mum).

 

When I read my emails on my phone I’m selfish and so are you

I’m looking for value, sales, entertainment, something unusual, offers (maybe) and emails from people I know, like, and trust.

I’m not sat there worried about your office banter, the new member of the team or your office dog. I’m not. Jo is. If you have an office dog please send her a photo and she’ll love you forever.

What I care about is becoming better at stuff, being amused, being entertained, being contacted by people I know, being paid money, and of course looking out for emails from my mother-in-law (hi Pam!).

Where does your ‘news’ fit into that?

Look, newsletters have their place (in hell if I had my way) but you could do so much better.

 

The best ‘marketing’ emails I read are pure value

The original Friday Digital Roundup was simply an attempt to share cool updates from the world of digital in a ‘roundup’ to keep our list educated. But we quickly realised that they loved the naughty, cheeky, and often very rude stories that we added in on occasion.

The FDR simply entertains our readers on a Friday. “It’s the only marketing email I read”, “It’s a light-hearted read at the end of the week”, “I love reading the funnies from the internet in one place”.

It’s a great way to keep in touch with people whilst making them smile, and it’s a brilliant conversation starter at networking events. People come right up to us and tell us they love it – what a way to start a new conversation!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What about our news?”

It’s good to keep people involved in your story and we know it’s valuable to share interesting news for relationship building so we still share bits of our news in the FDR. At the beginning chat a bit about our week and then we get into the naughty stories.

(It’s on-brand for us. You don’t have to be rude, but you do need to add value or entertainment.)

 

Add value in your emails and get the content geared largely towards your reader instead

The reason we banned the word ‘newsletter’ is because it causes people to write drivel like a school newsletter. Do you know which parts of a school newsletter the parents read most? I’d hazard a guess that it’s the school trip info that affects them, and when their child is featured in a section in it.

Why? It’s about THEM!

I doubt you have the chance to make your email about them like that so make it a valuable piece of content instead. Most of our clients simply create a weekly blog and email that. That’s a great start.

A blog is always going to be valuable and helpful, if it’s written properly.

Do you have these pages on your website?

 

  • Blog page – value, tips, advice, opinions, entertaining and educational.
  • News page – added to keep the MD happy to share when they give to charity. You know it’s true.

 

The two are very different and I would urge you to look at marketing as a value-driven content engaging relationship tool rather than a feed of “what we’ve been up to”.

This is obviously advice for small to medium businesses because you’re our audience. I get that the bigger companies are happy to pay £1000s to create news that no one reads. That’s their issue.

 

We’ve banned the N word and we’d like you to, as well

It’s a mindset shift, you see. You ban that word and you have to replace it with something else.

The Friday Digital Roundup drives us to share interesting content and engage our list instead of looking for stories from the business or marketing world, or just emailing whenever we have something to sell or we win an award.

NO ONE CARES.

Add value, build relationships and yes, update your readers a little about your business. But please destroy your newsletter! It’s a waste of your time and effort, as is the ‘news feed’ on your website if you’re a small to medium business. Delete it. Or check your analytics and see how unpopular it is then delete it.

The FDR continues to be the cornerstone of our marketing and we constantly get replies, comments (online and in real life) about it. One week due to a technical error it didn’t send and we had messages on most channels asking where it was. Someone stopped us in the street to ask us what happened.

… we doubt they’d do that for our newsletter!

 

Ban the ‘N’ word and start creating better content in people’s inboxes

It’s been worth a lot of money to us and I thank the guy on stage at the ‘On the Edge’ digital marketing conference for sowing a seed that’s grown a forest of content and business! If only I knew his name I’d thank him.

Now, go and work out what your audience really want and give it to them online, on social and right in their box!


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Todd

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