Why Nobody Reads Your Email Newsletter


Let’s play an imagination game for a minute...


You are living in Constantinople, the city now known as Istanbul somewhere in the 11th century AD.

It is a bustling intersection of trade from all over the world, one of the rare places where east meets west at this period of time. Spices from the rajas of India, silks from medieval China, ornate metal work from Iraq, exotic animals from the corners of the globe, stone and furs from across Europe fill the markets.


You are a merchant selling tanned and dyed leather from Morocco.

     The finest quality, my friend, the finest quality!

You hear from your merchant friends that they have started offering tea to potential customers and their profits have soared because of it! They tell you the more lavish the tea offering, the more they sell! And then they come back again the next day!


Bizarre!” you think to yourself.

Offering free stuff to just anyone off the street? Unheard of!

Your merchant friends sell all sorts of different things, from vegetables to parchment to desiccated animals. How strange that offering tea could help sell all of it.


You decide that even if it is pretty silly and you don’t understand it, it couldn’t hurt. So you make some cheap tea and skimp on the sugar to minimize your potential losses (all tea needs at least some sugar in Turkey), and offer the tea once in a while to the people you think most deserve it.




Nothing happens. Your profits are the same as they ever were. You decide that the tea thing may work for some of your friends, but certainly not you, and you go back to your tried and true method of yelling at people in a giant crowd.


Thank you for sticking around for the little parable!


So what was that all about?


Content marketing, particularly email marketing, relies on giving people value for free to start a conversation, to begin a relationship.

If you do not put any real effort into nurturing the conversation or relationship, most people will leave and forget about you.

The whole point of the tea is to give them something to create engagement. To get them in the door and see what you’re about. To take a closer look at your shop and bring them just one step closer to the point of sale, not to make the sale itself.


The tea in the story is an ethical bribe


For a modern business, this could be a special how-to guide or ebook. A white paper giving that explains valuable information. Free songs. A recipe book. A treasure map.  

       Whatever works for your particular niche, it doesn’t matter so long as it’s appropriate to your niche.

The point is that you need to entice people to listen to you in the first place. You have to give them a reason to listen to you and  in an our hyper-saturated information age this can be pretty challenging.


And this is where almost most people fail. 


Sooooooo many websites are just trying to sell straight away. The undertone is something like:

        "Just buy our stuff" 

There's no conversation here. What are you doing for me as a customer other than selling something? There's no engagement, no connection. 

Their email newsletter, the most effective means of establishing a longer-term connection online, is buried somewhere in the bowels of the site, mostly at the very bottom with bland language like:


                 “sign up for our newsletter”


I already have too much email. Why would I want more? There’s no reason to sign up for this at all.


But if you recast it as “Get Your Free Guide to Ultimate Bliss”

Your reader is now thinking, “hmm…. Ultimate bliss, huh? I’d like some ultimate bliss. Couldn’t hurt, I’m sure there’s at least one useful thing here. I’ll give it a shot”

And NOW you have a conversation.

Now you have a qualified lead.

And not only do you have a qualified lead, you have permission to contact them directly in the future.


You have the beginnings of a relationship.

Interested in exploring the possibilities? Need some help creating this for your business? 

Jeff Kimes