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Published on April 29th, 2016 | by Kimber Powers

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Measuring the Performance of Your Newsletter

As small businesses plan for the types of email marketing campaigns they want to send out, it’s no surprise that newsletters often top the list. Here are a few reasons why: 

  • Newsletters are personable – offering the chance to connect directly with your customers on multiple topics. More in-depth information allows you to customize the language and content in an approachable way compared to a promo campaign. 
  • Newsletters are informative – presenting the opportunity for a ‘soft pitch’ offer. The use of storytelling as your sales tool translates well in a newsletter and potential buyers are more likely to connect the emotional dots of how and why they need your product or service.
  • Newsletters have a long shelf life – a content piece that’s nice to archive and keep around for a while, newsletters can also be refreshed and re-issued for years to come, making them timeless and indispensable.

So how do you know if your company’s newsletter is actually winning hearts or simply passing time in the inbox? Use these five metrics to measure the success of your next campaign:

Open Rate

When it comes to open rates, there’s pressure for marketers to obsess over the numbers every time, the way sport enthusiasts would over the score of a playoff game. While it’s tempting to be laser focused on the total, you need to be able to equate the reasoning behind it.

While each business’s open rate will vary, there are many things you can do to increase your figures for the better. Test the time of day you mail your campaigns and scheduling appropriate send frequency based on audience needs and wants.

What to Watch For: If you’ve found your mailing time sweet spot, a low open rate might indicate weak or poorly written subject lines. Be sure that you’re using language that not only connects with your readers, but also makes them to want to read more. Remember too, the subject line technically has three parts: The “From Label,” The actual “Subject Line,” and the often forgotten “Pre-Header Text.” A strong combination of the three is more beneficial than one on its own.

Delivery Rate

If your goal is to get seen (and read!) you’ll need to make it to the inbox in the first place. Measuring the percentage of emails that finally made their way to customers’ email address, many industry experts agree that a good delivery rate hovers between 95% and 98% for total number of sends.

No matter the effort you’ve put into your campaigns, spam-filled content, deceptive subject lines, or a messy list can have significant impact on whether your mailing reaches its final destination.

What to Watch For: Email list quality plays a huge role in the success of delivery when it comes to sending newsletters or any other type of email marketing piece. Tidy up your segments, ensuring you remove all invalid, inactive, or recently unsubscribed addresses and any other IDs that could potentially get you blacklisted or blocked by firewalls.

Click-to-Open Rate

You’ve overcome the hurdles of getting delivered to the inbox and being noticed by readers, but what about measuring the actual clicks on your message? Traditionally, the click-through rate (CTR) has always been considered the ‘make or break’ metric, measuring the total number of click onto a campaign.

However, the Click-to-Open Rate (CTOR) takes your metrics analysis one step further, measuring effectiveness of content, design, and messaging in relation to response and can be used to drive your newsletter to new heights.

What to Watch For: A strong CTOR will give you the opportunity to better separate positive newsletter performance from issues that can impact your success in a way that the broader click-through totals will not be able to define.

Find your total of click-to-opens by dividing the total number of unique clicks in each newsletter campaign by unique opens. Set your own goals for what you want to reach with each issue you send out. Also, keep an eye on specific Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons and their placement within the campaign to see where your best individual performers are.

Social Sharing Rate

In today’s social media age, an honorable mention by a reader with a share on their respective platforms is the equivalent of a business’s own ‘selfie.’ Simply said, people like to share good things with others, including content. Create your newsletters with the idea that other audiences outside of your original email list could be exposed to what you’re talking about.

Make it an job easy for your readers – always include social sharing buttons and a ‘Forward to a Friend’ link at the top of each newsletter, making spreading the word about you only one click away.

What to Watch For: Pay attention to the social channels where your content gets shared the most. This is a strong indication of where you’re most likely to find more potential readers and is also a great place to start when searching for social mentions over time.

Conversion Rate

If your newsletter encourages readers to actively take action and convert, you’ve mastered the art of a winning email campaign. Conversion rate is the metric that arguably carries the most weight.

While you may not be in it for the hard sell of products and services, if you see a rise in promo list registrations, downloads of your latest e-book, or even traffic to other blog posts, it’s an indication that your readers are more than just passive consumers.

What to Watch For: Follow the journey of list subscribers over time. How long does it take them from the point of newsletter sign up to actually convert? Is there something you could do to help guide this process a bit more? Examine your current content, CTAs, and other information you provide as cues. These assets can help boost your rates from one issue of your newsletter to the next.

Assembling an unforgettable newsletter includes many moving parts from content production to metric analysis. In return, it can bring a rewarding connection between businesses and their customers on a level that many other email marketing campaigns have not be designed to do. Remember, the keys to a successful newsletter are effort and longevity – built well and made to last.

 

Building A Newsletter That Keeps Customers Talking

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Hosted by Kimber S. Powers, Marketing Training Specialist for Deluxe Corporation Small Business Services

Thursday, June 30, 2016 11AM – 12PM PDT

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© 2016, Kimber Powers. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Kimber Powers

is a contributing author for VerticalResponse.



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