You know the drill. Get someone to write a monthly newsletter, ping it out and get on with your work for another 29 days. Unfortunately, that does seem to be the modus operandi of some of the companies that most of us have subscribed to over the years. Thank goodness they have to include an unsubscribe button.
If you care about your newsletter (and you really should), you should be monitoring its performance from the moment you click send. There’s something satisfying about watching the “opened” stats rack up in the minutes after you’ve sent the mailshot.
That’s people at their desks or on their phones who have got the email and actually opened it, rather than ignoring it or the email going straight to spam.
Then over the following hours, the stats grow more slowly as those who weren’t online when it was sent (who are these people?) check it out. You don’t have to constantly monitor performance, but you should check back the next day at the latest. That’s when you can really get an idea of its popularity.
You’ll inevitably get a few unsubscribes, but don’t worry about small numbers. It’s the ratio of received to opened that’s a good indication of the quality of the header; and then you’re looking at how long people linger on the email body, what links they are following and whether they lead to direct conversions.
If these latter figures aren’t to your satisfaction, there’s something wrong with your letter’s content.
The most important feature of a newsletter is that it’s relevant to those who you want to read it. A lot of businesses have a habit of filling their emails with self-promotion or fluff, which can be at best uninteresting, and at worst downright insulting to busy subscribers.
Every business and every subscriber list is different, so you can use your analytics to find out which subjects your readers are most interested in and where they jump out of the funnel.
Then you should focus on delivering the “interesting” stuff and including a few experimental subjects each time you send your emails out. Every popular subject started out as a one-off. Analytics can sometimes surprise you.
The aesthetics of the content are also important, as is the way it’s written. You want to stand out, but you also need to be on-brand and have your emails displaying properly on all the devices, operating systems and clients that are commonly used. That’s why a professional email template design is crucial.
Finally, there’s the copy itself. Everyone thinks they can write, but sometimes it takes a third party who isn’t directly involved with your business to sniff out what’s interesting to outsiders and to write about it in an engaging manner.
Lucky businesses do have talent in-house when it comes to copywriting; it’s worth investing in them. For everyone else, consider a freelancer or copy agency – you might just notice the difference in the analytics.