Different companies start enewsletters for different reasons, some of them realistic, some not.
Many consider them to be inexpensive direct mail. Those that do are generally disappointed.
But companies that look at their enewsletter as a way to nurture customer relationships, to stay in front of their customers, and to educate them, are usually delighted with their results.
Our own experience is a case in point. It’s been about 5 years since we launched the print version of Let’s Grow, and over three since the email supplement started. If we measured the success of each individual newsletter by the number of clients generated, we’d be shortsighted. The benefits don’t occur on a newsletter by newsletter basis, but collectively, over time.
Since we started Let’s Grow, and more recently the Let’s Grow Blog, the phone rings on its own. My marketing time is devoted to developing useful content, not finding individual prospects.
When would-be clients call, the conversation is completely different than it was before Let’s Grow existed. Prospects already understand our philosophy and appreciate our expertise. The starting point is not “tell us about Evergreen Marketing,” but “tell me how you can help us.”
So if you can’t measure the ROI on each individual newsletter, what should you look at? Metrics like these:
· Open Rate. If your enewsletter isn’t consistently getting an open rate of at least 25%, it’s time to rethink your approach. Some of the enewsletters we produce for clients regularly achieve open rates exceeding 50%, a sure sign of devoted readers.
· Click-Through Rates. Some content lends itself more to click-throughs than others, so comparisons are difficult. But clearly, the more readers that click on the links in your enewsletter, the more engaged they are with the content you’re providing.
· Percentage of Unsubscribes. If your percentage of unsubscribe requests keeps trending up, it’s a red flag. Either your content is a disappointment, or you’re overmailing your list. Take stock and revise your approach accordingly.
· Reader Feedback. The most successful newsletters we publish generate plenty of customer feedback, including thank you notes, questions, and photos of our clients’ products in use. Always encourage feedback in your newsletters, and respond promptly when you receive it.
I’ve found that the companies that have realistic expectations of their enewsletters are also the companies that are committed to a regular publication schedule. That commitment further helps promote their success.
When evaluating your enewsletter, take the long view. Don’t look for a positive ROI on an issue-by-issue basis. Instead, watch for signs of a positive response from subscribers, and the profits will follow.