A newsletter is a creation that reflects time, creation, editing, and planning. As a result, each newsletter issue is its own product. When ready to hit send, the meaningful words that were created into a contextual story places itself in the readers’ inbox.
The newsletter process begins by understanding and defining the benchmarks and goals of the newsletter. It’s a critical component that directly affects your efforts in the marketing and distribution, and ultimately the success of a newsletter. The good news is, of all the channels out there, email marketing is one of the most customizable and the most lucrative that is available.
If properly defined and managed, a newsletter can lead to numerous clicks and views, which translates to favorable conversions. The only question is, how to generate ROI to ensure success?
Understand Your Goals
Determining and maximizing the efficiency of your newsletter campaign is almost impossible without the establishment of targets. Anything that you do should have some sort of return on investment, your time is valued and you should view your time as its own currency. What value would you place on your time? Your time is what is creating the newsletter, so let’s take a look at how and what you should track to effectively calculate your ROI.
The basic calculation for getting your ROI is as follows: ROI = (Earnings – Spending)/Spending
which is reflected as a percentage. A percentage and mathematical equation are both black and white, but getting to your goals is all the more gray, which may take some iteration to get there.
Here are some KPIS for Newsletters to look at:
- Email Delivery Rate: the percentage of emails that are received by the gateway servers of your subscribers’. Once the issue is pushed, where is it landing: inbox, spam (soft bounce), or returned back (hard bounce.)
- Email Opens: the number of people who open the issue.
- Email Open Rates: the total email opens, expressed as a percentage of the number of messages sent.
- Amount of subscribers
- Amount of unsubscribes
- Click-Through: a number per the amount of times a link is clicked (and opened.)
- Click-Through Rate: the number of click-throughs, expressed as a percentage of the total number of subscribers who opened the email along with clicking into.
Studies, such as this benchmarking report, can be used to help identify the average baselines for these metrics and others. This means that you can more readily identify where you should be and when you fall short.
Understand Your Readers
If you know why people decided to become a part of your newsletter mailing list, you can use it to your advantage by focusing on that desire. This may translate to offering a certain kind of content, highlighting specific keywords, needs, or principles, etc. If you don’t, try and paint a picture of your subscribers and go find them.
- You’ve probably already posted your newsletter everywhere, but if you haven’t that’s the first step. Put your newsletter link in your bio on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
- Who has inspired you to create a newsletter? Contact them, cross-pollinate. A great way to get in front of similar readers.
- When it comes to asking for feedback, it’s not easy for people to respond to your email. So, make it easier. Bill Murphy’s Understandably has a one-click star-rating system in place that he set up for feedback.
Most likely, you are writing what you know, a great place to start is to think “how would I find a newsletter like mine?” Channel your own inner reader and figure out what you can do to further engage your readers to increase ROI.
A big part of the process is familiarizing yourself with the measurements that you should be focused on as a part of your evaluation process. For example, here is a study That speaks to a plethora of metrics that can be used in your review process. However, it also pinpoints the parameters that are geared towards understanding the relevance and the effectiveness of your emails. Gathering these percentages help learn the extent of the reader and continue to return.
If you are just starting out, take a look at what day and time your industry or topic is being read and adjust to their preference. Formatting also is a huge factor when it comes to open rates and click through rates.
Here are some ideas backed up by stats:
- Add a Video: Vimeo’s Stats 40% open rate (Youtube’s OR is 29%)
- Cap your subject line at ~90-140 characters: 24% open rate.
- Use emojis in your subject line (if it aligns with your brand): 25% increase in open rates vs no emojis.
- Create a Preheader: this allows for your readers to get a one-liner as to what your newsletter issue will cover, 28% increase in open rates
Understanding all the statistics and data from above will help guide in creating a benchmark for your ROI and KPIs.
This aspect of the process is concerned with the consumption of the content in your newsletter. Sending out your email is a great start. However, the effort placed to create your newsletter would be completed with distribution – it’s like baking cookies for a bake sale and not telling anyone there’s a bake sale. It will be less successful if your intended audience isn’t even bothering to look.
The most valuable chip you have is your credibility which speaks volumes. The content you curate is voice-forward, contextual, and passionate about the topics you speak to.
You should achieve that level of inspiration but it’s only possible if you distribute your newsletter properly. There are tools, such as Listory, which is one that assists you with the curation of your newsletter. In doing this, you can then reach a higher number of readers via content discovery.
Appealing to the direct interests of potential readers is one of the secrets to success. People do want knowledge, but they also want to save time by not having to comb through an endless stream of data. The curation process facilitates their need for knowledge by following reads created by influencers or experts in the topics they are interested in as easy as a click of a button.
After reading some of the material above, decide what metrics you may want to track. Here’s a template spreadsheet to get you started.
Generating an adequate return of investment through your newsletter requires an intimate understanding of the metrics and processes, and how each is relevant to your content. All of which provides a retroactive marker of your performance and efforts over a period of time.
Your success is heavily dependent on understanding how your subscribers engage with your newsletters and the curated content you shared, and how to present your campaigns to them.