Writer-editor Susan Weiner, CFA, helps financial professionals like you increase the impact of your writing on clients and prospects. She writes and edits investment commentary, white papers, articles, web pages, and other communications for leading investment and wealth management firms.
Recently, I sent the newsletter of a person whom I like to my email’s spam folder. My gut reaction proves that you should clearly identify the sender of your email newsletter.
Unrecognizable sender name spells trouble
When I looked at the newsletter, I thought, “I don’t know this person. Why is he sending this to me?” I also had a vague sense that I’d received multiple issues of this unwanted newsletter.
When I receive newsletters from people whose names I don’t recognize, I’m afraid to click their “unsubscribe” links. I’m concerned that my confirming the existence of my email, I’m sentencing myself to receive more newsletter spam. That’s why I sent this person’s email to my spam folder.
The sender used only his first name in his “from” line. It’s as if I identified myself simply as “Susan” instead of “Susan Weiner, CFA” in the from line of my e-newsletter. I had no idea who he was—at least, not initially. But the name nagged at me. Eventually, I realized from the person’s mailing address that I did know him. But, by then it was too late for me to undo his spam designation.
Studies on email open rates have found that trusting the sender is the single most important factor in whether an email is opened or not. That means it’s critical to choose an effective and consistent “From” name and email address.
A better approach to your sender name
If you’re a solopreneur sending an e-newsletter, consider using your full name—first name plus surname—as your sender name. In the example I give above, I would have recognized the full name. I wouldn’t have sent the newsletter to spam.
…more successfully engage their audience. It is partly a question of skill, but more often a matter of goals. Amateur writers tend to write primarily for self-expression, whereas writers able to become professional can hide or transform their own agendas enough so that they are of interest to others.
That’s an interesting interpretation that makes me think of the difference between successful and unsuccessful financial bloggers. Someone who blogs solely for self-expression is unlikely to attract many followers. The same goes for someone who only blogs self-promotional content. Successful financial bloggers move beyond these approaches.
To engage readers, you must mix your own “agenda” with your target readers’ needs and interests.
Disclosure: If you click on an Amazon link in this post and then buy something, I will receive a small commission. I link only to books in which I find some value for my blog’s readers.
“Nothing changes if nothing changes,” said my spinning instructor in a class. This spurred some thoughts that may help your writing.
In my instructor’s case, she decided to quit drinking coffee as one small step toward healthier eating. That was less intimidating than revamping all of her eating habits at once. Once she quit drinking coffee, it was easy to make a second change to juicing celery every morning. Who knows what additional changes she’ll make?
Could a similar approach help you to improve your writing?
Your first step
Pick one small thing to improve your writing. Here are some ideas for you.
Set a weekly writing goal. Measure your goal in terms of word count, time spent writing, or pieces produced. A daily writing goal also works, but a weekly goal may feel less daunting.
Create a checklist of your most common writing mistakes. The more you have to think about what to look for when checking your work, the more likely you are to forget something. Decrease the load on your brain by creating a checklist of the most important items for you to check. Not sure how to structure a checklist? There’s one in Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients that you can use as a starting point.
Get help from someone else. Ask a colleague or friend with a good editorial eye to mark up a sample of your work. Find a blogging buddy. Sign up for a writing class. Hire an outside proofreader, copyeditor, or writing coach. Help can come in many forms.
What’s one thing you will do to boost your writing? For my part, I read books about writing, hoping to find new techniques and inspiration.
Check out my top posts from the first quarter! If you’re trying to figure out how to improve your quarterly commentary process, check out #7!
They’re a mix of practical tips on writing (#1, #4, #9, #10), grammar (#2), punctuation (#3), blogging (#5, #6, #8), and investment commentary (#7).
I’m only listing one Mistake Monday post, although more were among the most viewed, because one Mistake Monday post is much like the others. Check out my Mistake Monday posts if you’d like to improve your proofreading skills!
My posts that attracted the most views during 2019’s first quarter