The newsletter is a good marketing and promotional tool. If used correctly. If not it can lead to adverse effects, like a deep disgust to your brand from the users part. Thats the result of tricking users to subscribe to your newsletter, if you abuse sending newsletters (send many) and provide no means for the user to unsubscribe. In this case you are close to spam.
Now let’s see how can you reach to the point were users hate you and mark your newsletter as spam as soon as they see your brand in the title.
1) You trick users to subscribe
Often users are tricked in some way to subscribe to newsletters. For example many websites put checkboxes in registration forms that are on by default. These texts usually are with very small fonts so you can easily miss them if you are in a hurry to register to use their product or something. Let’s be very clear:
A) i do not consider that i subscribed willingly when you use this method. A newsletter subscription checkbox should be defaultly unchecked and if i really want to subscribe i will check it.
B) i cannot know at registration if your product is worth subscribing to your newsletter, give me time after i registered to begin using it and provide me an option in my account to subscribe. I will do it if i like your product or service.
2) Abuse with the number of newsletters you send
A newsletter, especially about products and services, related to a brand should be sent only at distant intervals, not daily and especially not like 2-3 newsletters a day. That is very annoying. Why can’t you at least put the 3 newsletters into 1 and send that.
3) Provide no means to unsubscribe
Your newsletter lacks a link for unsubscribing. Maybe you are tricky again and you could say that you have somewhere in the account a checkbox and i should unsubscribe using that. That’s not good again. You are tricking me again. You MUST put a link directly into the newsletter. Maybe i forgot my user, my password and i certainly shouldn’t be forced to make an effort to unsubscribe.
Ok now that you have these 3 elements in place, i hate you and i will certainly mark every newsletter as spam.
What prompted this post ? Once upon a time i registered to a thing called Mapsolute Developer Network, i don’t remember subscribing to any newsletter at all when i registered. Things were ok. I was happy with that. But later they were bought or something because they became part of the NAVTEQ Network for Developers. Immediately my inbox started to be flooded with newsletters from these NAVTEQ people, altough i have no bussines with them. What is worse they even sent out 3 newsletters a day. Newsletters 3-4 page long, with no option to unsubscribe. Later i started to receive newsletters from firstname.lastname@example.org claiming to be from NAVTEQ. Supposedly they sold or give away my data to a research firm ? Even worse then i tought. And guess what am i doing now when i receive a newsletter from them ?
Lesson: If you want to send out newsletters take an example from the Google Friends Newsletter of from Sony Ericsson. They know how to send newsletters that are interesting, not too many and they provide means to unsubscribe.
Later edit: on the latest of the newsletters from NAVTEQ there is an option to unsubscribe, but that is a new thing and after a while i stopped reading them.