I just added an email into my swipe folder as a reminder of something not to do. Do not make the content of your email a thumbnail of a pdf with a link to the pdf.
I have a swipe file folder setup in my gmail. And when I receive an email with a title or content that catches my attention, I add it to the swipe file.
In the hope that a future me will find time to read it and analyse the copy to identify the trigger words, phrases or structure that caught my attention.
Today I added something because I never want to replicate it.
PDF Newsletters are probably a hang over from when companies used to send out printed versions of newsletters.
And some companies might still do that.
I assume this company has someone on staff that enjoys spending a couple of days working with DTP or Word Processing Software to create a nicely formatted multi page glossy newsletter.
If you do this, the I’d recommend trying to save it as HTML and using it directly as the email, rather than…
- uploading the pdf to a CDN
- creating a thumbnail of the PDF
- creating an email which has a link to the PDF
Could it work?
In theory this could actually work well. Your most engaged readership may well click the thumbnail to see what the PDF contains.
If the thumbnail and surrounding copy actually sell a ‘click’ to me e.g. our newsletter has so much great content this month and required such delicate formatting that we had to craft it into a pdf ebook. This is one you’ll want to print out and keep.
But I suspect not
But I suspect most people will delete the email, and many might unsubscribe.
I clicked through to see what this competitor was doing, and to understand if it was a tactic to copy.
If they hadn’t been a competitor, then I would have unsubscribed because:
- I already processed the email by clicking on it
- there was no compelling copy to justify viewing it
Not an isolated case
This isn’t the only company I have seen do this.
I was once a member of a meetup group that insisted on doing this.
All the updates were via a pdf linked from the email.
- time consuming to create
- very hard to update
- of no value to the people on the email list
I can’t say for sure that this tactic was the cause, but the meetup attendance went into a downward spiral and never really recovered.
I mentioned several times the problems with creating the pdf and emailing out a link to it, but no changes were made.
And the important point from this post is:
- Get in the habit of maintaining a swipe file
- Do you add “Never do this” items to your swipe file?
I’ve seen swipe files mentioned in many old advertising books. It seems to have been common practice for advertising professionals to cut out ads and copy that caught their attention so they could study them later.
This is even easier to do now that we receive so much digital content. And I can’t recommend this practice highly enough.