Are you "oversharing" your newsletter? How overzealous promotion can affect your brand and how to prevent it


I'm a woman who receives hundreds of emails a day, literally hundreds.  In order to be sure I (eventually) get to everything on my plate, and that I get to them in the order they need to be addressed, I triage them.  Hundreds of them.  Nevertheless I personally see what crosses my inbox and lately I've noticed more and more newsletters that I've never subscribed to flying into my inbox.

As a woman whose personal and professional calling is to help entrepreneurs and to build brands, I do enjoy company news and newsletters.  I love to hear about what brands I follow are up to and I read their newsletters. I also  sign up for apparel and accessory lines newsletters that I purchase often and I follow websites that keep me "in the know" like Social Diva, Laughing Sage Wellness, and Shefinds to name a few.  So it's not that I have an aversion to newsletters, I probably read over fifty of them weekly.

Still....Add that to client emails, press correspondences, Tin Shingle emails....well you get it - I am innundated with emails as most publicists and business owners are.  Nevertheless when an unfamiliar email crosses my inbox I KNOW it's unfamiliar.  And even when it's informative and perhaps even an exciting product, I've become annoyed that someone chose to add me to their email list without my permission.

When at an event recently I ran into a couple of editors I work with who were lamenting the same thing - they're finding themselves added to email lists from fashion lines, experts, products, even newsletters that in no way relate to the beat they cover.  These editors receive twice the amount of emails I do at times, and yet they know when they've been subscribed to a list without their permission...and they aren't happy!

These anecdotes are all meant to illustrate an unfortunate habit of some small business owners who may believe it's a bit of harmless self-promoting, when it's often seen as intrusive and pushy.  Of course we're all eager to get the word out about our brand, but it's best to do so virally, in forms of traditional pr, or with savvy internet marketing strategies, instead of simply adding names to your list without permission.  This is often ensuring you're starting off on the wrong foot, as your first introduction may well be an uninvited email - not a great way to make a first impression!

Instead of adding an editor's name, how about sending an irresistable pitch that invites them to visit your site (or sign up for your newsletter).  How about finding unique ways to capture emails that may be clever but still take names voluntarily?  Be sure you show them the value that your product/service/expertise has to not only them, but their readers ( or viewers if it's a producer).  At the end of the day, your mission should always be pure - to share your business with those you created it for, and you want those people to be true ambassadors of your brand.  Ambassadors are created by people developing a passionate following of your brand and story.  Ambassadors can't be forced, you must win them over by really changing the way they think, feel, cook, get it.  At the end of the day it's about the response they have to you or your product.  You want to start out with a good introduction and build brand loyalty.  You want them to WANT to read your newsletter.  You want them to want to send it to their friends, families, and colleagues.  

With that in mind here are your assignments:

1.  If you are signing up readers to your newsletter without their permission stop.  If they are in the media  and you are doing it you must doubly stop!

2. Create value in your product/service/expertise and in your newsletter that make it something people not only look forward to daily/weekly, but come to depend on.

3. Create your own internet marketing strategy directed specifically towards database growth, newsletter angles, and clever methods (contests, mandatory sign ins, rewards via newsletters) to capture email addresses that will allow you to build a larger mailing list.

4. Be sure your website is mentioned in all of your publicity hits that leads people to your homepage where you should always have a newsletter sign up that is visible and active.

5. Be your own best publicist and tell everyone, everywhere you go, why they should be on your newsletter.  I myself do this all the time.  I love sharing things that I find helpful, cool, fun, interesting, I share them with those I love. If I had a penny for every time I recommended someone to go visit

Follow those rules and I'm sure you will see more success, and keep the good energy flowing between you and those you are hoping will be part of the growth of your business - however that may be!

Follow those rules and I'm sure you will see more success, and keep the good energy flowing between you and those you are hoping will be part of the growth of your business - however that may be!



Sabina - this is a great point. First of all, it's illegal to add people to your list without their permission. Even if it's your mother, her permission should be given. Not only is it illegal, it's just not good karma. Plus, the numbers don't like it. If you add a name to your list, and that name wasn't expecting to start getting newsletters from you, they are unlikely to open your emails. And the more names you have like this, the lower your overall open rate will be. And if you sell ads on your newsletter, the open rate is very important. The higher it is, the higher your potential ad rate can be for your newsletter.