Increase ROI through better newsletter performance

Your company has a newsletter set up to be sent to your contact list every month or less, whether it is intended for B2C or B2B purposes, you are allocating resources to keep the process going each month (content creation, design or email automaton), but for some reason your metrics are showing poor performance. You are even thinking of cutting your newsletter budget to focus on other communication channels, such as social media.

This is a very common problem companies encounter, and we have 3 solutions to improve your ROI through your newsletter.

Your newsletter’s performance can be improved if you follow 3 important steps:

  1. Proper tracking;
  2. Auditing;
  3. Implementing effective improvements. 

But before you do anything, you should know your target audience’s habits inside out: what they like, what they enjoy reading, what topics genuinely interest them, on what day and at what time they typically check their platforms. Mastering this step is a continous process because habits change quickly.

For example, in Hong Kong customers will subscribe to newsletters if it adds value or offers a great deal and of course, is mobile friendly.

In Mainland China, in contrast, readers prefer to receive content via other channels, on apps like WeChat, QQ or Weibo. The Chinese are not as accustomed as Westerners are to checking their personal emails regularly, but they do check their professional emails often. For B2B purposes we would recommend that you ask for their working email or invest in delivering your messages on apps. Another reason is that a lot of spam is sent via email, whereas on popular apps like QQ the rules are stricter on what can or cannot be sent: this is why it is so important for companies to send valuable content.

Listen to the right metrics

Behind your metrics your customers are speaking directly to you. But the question is, are you focusing on the right metrics in understanding them? 

Many companies only focus on broad and general metrics such as open rate, click-through rate and subscription rate. While some companies collect way too much data, simply for the sake of collecting data, some information is irrelevant because it will not help you understand your customers’ messages, nor implement future improvements.

We can already hear you asking, ‘so, what metrics should I be looking at?

The metrics you should be focused on depends on your newsletter’s primary intention – and the success of your newsletters will depend on your main goal when putting in place a newsletter.

Are you willing to:

  • Increase loyalty and branding?
  • Get more traffic?
  • Drive traffic to another platform?
  • Increase your sales?

Whatever your goal is, you should be adopting a unique strategy and focusing on specific metrics because newsletters that are intended to achieve them all at once, tend to not succeed at all (too much information, too many links, too many paths for your target to take).

Diagnosis

After identifying the correct metrics for your newsletter, you should conduct research to identify relevant industry standards that can be used to compare how well you are doing in comparison to other relevant companies.

Each metric can indicate a large amount of information, for example:

  • BOUNCE RATE AUDIT:
    • Are you cleaning your lists regularly?
    • Did people opt-in to your newsletter?
  • SPAM/BLACKLISTING AUDIT:
    • Is your content relevant?
    • Have all your email receptionists signed-in?
    • Is your unsubscribe button clearly visible?
    • Are you sending too many emails?
    • Do you regularly clean your lists?
    • Are you using ‘spam words’ in your subject lines? (earn money, make money, collect, percent off…)
  • UNSUBSCRIPTION:*be careful with this metric because is not always a reliable indicator of the health of your email list because many people don’t want to read your email but don’t unsubscribe, they will just delete it. This metric should be used to compare your open rate or your list growth.
    • Are your titles catchy (appealing but not too ‘clickbait’ and your content truly relevant?)
    • Are you sending too many emails?
  • OPEN RATE AUDIT*:points to consider are similar to above.
    • Are you using too many catchy titles but not adding valuable content?
    • Is your content relevant to your audience?
    • Are you sending your email at a relevant time of the day?
    • Does your newsletter fit the mobile format?
    • Are you sending too many emails?
    • Are you sending too few newsletters?
  • SUBSCRIPTION RATE AUDIT:
    • Do people know you have a newsletter?
    • Is your subscription button visible?
    • Is your subscription button too intrusive (for example harassing pop-ups)?
    • Can people easily share your newsletter?
  • CLICK-THROUGH RATE AUDIT:
    • Are your hyperlinks obvious?
    • Are your links all reliable?
    • Is your content worth reading more?
    • Are you inciting people to read more with great primary content?

Implement effective data-centred changes

Once you are sure about your metrics and your industry standards, you will then have to regularly implement improvements. No decision what so ever should be taken without thoroughly studying your results.

Finally, our last recommendation is to test, test and test!

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