Know Your Audience
Start with analyzing your current database. Look at all the email addresses you have and clearly identify the permissions they each have. For any you’re unsure of, send an email to more accurately know your users and ensure they are interested in receiving messages from you.
Grow Your Engaged Database
Growing your newsletter database is directly impacted by growing your overall engaged database. The more engaged users you have, the bigger the targeted list to which you can send your newsletter. Promote email sign-ups everywhere – prominently on your website, within your content, and on every promotion, you run.
Build Your Content
Part of starting a newsletter is choosing the right topic. It’s important to take a couple things into consideration – what type of content do you have the most of and which type of content drives the most page views and users. To make this simpler, we’ve put together this quick tool to help you navigate your next newsletter topic.
Develop Your Workflow
Let’s talk logistics. Now that you have your topic, it’s time to make a few more critical decisions.
- Should this be authored or automated through an RSS Feed?
- Do you need a team of writers or editors? Is this something your promotions department can handle?
- How often do you want to send out your newsletter?
- When is the best time for you to send it?
As you think about when to send, consider when your audience is most likely to tune in to your content – 25% of opens come from the first hour and weekends are typically low for opens.
Launch Your Marketing Strategy
Send targeted emails to the users in your database who’d likely be interested. Advertise your newsletter on your website and on social media. One of the best ways to grow your audience is to create promotions related to your newsletter topic. WMEE-FM used a cutest baby photo contest to add 5,800+ users to their brand new Mom Squad newsletter.
Set Your Expectations
While it seems like a bigger list is better, the reality is it’s better to have an engaged list. As you get started, you want to remove any unengaged users. This likely means your list will get smaller before it gets bigger, but that’s expected.
Establish Your Goals
In order to see growth, it’s important to establish your goals upfront. Start with an engagement goal and shoot for getting your open rates to 20% and click-to-open above 12%. Additionally, create a goal for list growth over time – Remember, it’s okay for your list size to dip initially as long as your engagement is growing. When you’re ready for it, consider setting a goal for sponsored revenue from your newsletter.
Measure Your Success
There are many factors you should use when determining the success of your newsletter. Here are a few pieces you should look at to evaluate it.
- Is your engagement growing – Are your open rates and click-through rates getting higher? Are your unsubscribes decreasing over time?
- Is your newsletter converting people to your website?
- Have you been able to secure any sponsorship revenue?
To get even more precise feedback on your program, consider putting together a reader survey. Here you can ask your audience to tell you what they like, what they don’t, and what they want to see more of.
Whether you already have a newsletter program in place or are just getting started, you can always make steps to grow and do better. Remember, a great newsletter program can be much more than just an avenue for releasing content. This can become a brand new revenue stream and ultimately help you increase your engaged database.