[thelist] Email: Newsletter Programs

Steven Streight steven.streight at gmail.com
Tue Feb 6 18:32:58 CST 2007

The vast majority of products need to be seen to be engaging,
dream-inspiring, craved. But even in very visual products, is the image of
the product in use, solving a problem for, enhancing the life of, the
customer? Or it the product just sitting there, stupidly? doing nothing.

Product as hero. Product as fun.

But still, is this graphic exuberance what ppl expect and want and find
useful and compelling in an email newsletter?

Are we expecting users to luxuriate over breathtaking photo displays? An
analogy is the answering machine. You don't promote music by leaving
telemarketing pre-recorded songs on answering machines. You  could do that.
Somebody probably will do that and get famous and rich overnight. But
generally, we don't want long speeches, narratives, poems, songs, books, on
our answering machines. We want brief messages.

I see email as a textual telephone and an online answering machine,
recording a message and delivering it to the recipient.

I challenge the graphics heavy, experiential marketing devotees to do an A/B
split test on graphic heavy and graphic lite, with the same copy, and see
which wins. Very low cost experiment. Then, try a very brief message with a
list of links that are timely, relevant, etc. Links to big presentations of
pretty pictures and dancing bubbles. But just a Heads Up newsletter, very
short on the text.

Emails are more like texting than magazines or TV commercials, are they not?

It seems like some are bound and determined to make email a direct mail
package, or a TV commercial storyboard, or a billboard.

Because "everybody's doing it". Because it looks good in your portfolio and
in the conference room. Text, links, and a logo would look so, so efficient,
yet so drab. But minimalism often outperforms grandiosity.

On 2/6/07, Hassan Schroeder <hassan.schroeder at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/6/07, Steven Streight <steven.streight at gmail.com> wrote:
> > But does a newsletter, email variety, need graphics to do its job?
> *It depends on the context*
> > Maybe it's just me, and ppl like me, but an email is not about photos
> Yes, sorry to break the news, but it *is* just you (and people like you),
> which does not include everyone :-)
> > Graphics in newletters seems to carry a wee bit of "let's make it
> pretty"
> > and "ppl like pix" and "it must conform to Corporate Style"...
> How about they carry a fair bit of "branding", as well as information,
> in an *emotionally engaging context*?
> Do you, by chance, get newsletters from REI? Patagonia? Two wildly
> differing styles, but both engaging and effective. Outdoor gear and
> garments, shown in a natural setting. The word "tent" doesn't quite
> juice the mojo like seeing a picture of a pitched tent overlooking a
> green valley, snow-capped peaks in the distance. The first says,
> "tent". The second says "whoa. Camping. ROAD TRIP! Where's the
> credit card with some overhead?". :-)
> Let's see -- Levis? Swell? Amazon? Pictures of books, how droll. Yet
> without parsing /a single word/ I can see that the offerings include
> O'Reilly selections (thanks to their distinctive covers) so I'm already
> inclined to look more closely and *read* the details. I am *engaged*.
> There are many ways to use imagery in communication, and there's
> no reason I can see that that doesn't apply to email newsletters.
> In context. :-)
> --
> Hassan Schroeder ------------------------ hassan.schroeder at gmail.com
> --
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Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate
Web Usability. Blog Revolution. Ecommerce.

steven [dot] streight [at] gmail [dot] com


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