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    How to measure the effectiveness of your newsletters

    by Billy Sunderland Partnership Executive

    We hope we’ve convinced our regular readers of the advantages of having an email newsletter. At the very least, it falls into the “worth a try” category, thanks to the costs being negligible against potentially large benefits. We’ve also talked about ways of boosting the newsletter and what things you should be measuring. (That last one is a vital read for what this article is about.)

    But measuring is one thing; finding out how effective it is is quite another. Below, we’re going to look at how to measure the impact of your newsletters so you can get even more out of them.

    What is your newsletter for?

    The first question is what purpose your newsletter serves. That will be the first determiner of its success.

    If your letter is simply to keep in touch with clients, to let them know you’re still paying attention to your industry, your main measure will be net subscribers. In other words, if your subscribers are generally trending upwards, you’re probably doing it right. Make sure you’ve not just got a lot of subscribers and 90% of them are quitting, though. That means you’ll be trending upwards but most people aren’t enjoying the content – a wasted opportunity.

    If your newsletter is more proactive – i.e., its purpose is to drive direct sales through offers and product alerts – success measurement will be more directly linked to sales. It’s important that you have full tracking from email to website to checkout so you can attribute sales directly to the email rather than other channels such as search and paid ads.

    Looking at the big picture

    The important thing to note when measuring the success of your newsletter campaign is that it’s a long-term effort. Unlike a one-off ad campaign, the fact that a newsletter is a continuous stream of marketing messages makes it easier to spot trends.

    For that reason, you shouldn’t read too much into one or two mailshots falling flat. There are lots of reasons why this can happen, which can be as trivial as the sun being out or as impactful as a major breaking news story. Filter such results out and move on.

    However, if there’s a longer-term negative trend in open rate, bounce rate, click-through or unsubscribes, it’s unlikely to be down to a series of unfortunate events. That’s when you should drill into the figures and identify the point in recipients’ journeys where they are dropping out. Also consider anything you’ve changed just before the drop started.

    Again, it could be something simple, such as changing from a Tuesday to a Friday, which is easy to revert. But there could be something more systemic going on, such as failing to come up with interesting subjects or not having enticing offers for customers. The good thing is that the more metrics you measure, the easier it will be to identify these stumbling blocks. Don’t forget that issues early on in the process (i.e. subject lines) can have a knock-on effect throughout the whole reader journey.

    Keep your emails sharp

    Among the many ways to make emails more attractive, it’s vital that they look great on any device. It just happens to be one of our specialities, so if you’ve got great ideas for content but your emails look flat, have a look at our HTML email coding services. It’s measurably effective.