If you're sending out a newsletter, how do you benchmark your success?
Is it by open-rates? Or something else?
The answer, sadly, doesn't lie in open-rates
Open-rates are based on the factor of whether or not your article was um, opened. I say um, because open-rate is a crazy issue. When a client um, opens your article, it doesn't mean they've read your article.
It simply means they've clicked on it, and opened it. So that's a pretty crappy way to determine if they're reading your article or not. But if your benchmark isn't open-rates, then how do you benchmark?
Let me start with our story.
When we first started writing articles at Psychotactics.com, I'd send out an article maybe about ten times a year. And then, on a whim, I started writing articles twenty-ish times a year (that's two a month).
And then I finally settled on about once a week. So what caused us to go from once a month to once a week?
We benchmarked the actions taken by customers, and we changed the frequency of the newsletter as a result.
So what do I mean by this ‘benchmarking?'
You benchmark on the action you want performed
An article isn't a blah-blah. It's specifically meant to educate and then take some action.
With some articles that action may be:
1) To read another article.
2) To subscribe to the newsletter.
3) To buy a product, service or training session.
4) To congregate and run stark naked through the city street.
Ok, so I'm exaggerating, but you get the point
The point of the article is to measure the response to the action. Which of course means that the action has to be pre-determined. And consequently, your frequency is going to depend on the response to the action.
So for instance, the purpose of the Psychotactics letter is to educate, and simultaneously to get customers to purchase a product/service. Now when we ran the article once a month, we got a specific number of sales. When we ran the article twice a month, we got almost twice the number of sales. When we ran it four times a month, we got at least thrice the number of sales, and often more, but never less.
So our frequency was determined by products sold.
But wouldn't it make sense to then increase the frequency even higher to increase products sold?
Well, not really. The products are selling because of consumption of the content. The products are only sold because of the credibility of the content.
But if the content gets too much, then there's a factor of overload.
At which point consumption goes down. And sales go down.
And un-subscribes go uppity-up.
Not something you wanted to do, eh?
So here's your benchmark: Get the client to do something. Whatever that something may be.
Then measure how many clients did that something.
Then make sure you increase frequency slowly, and keep measuring.
Also make sure you don't get greedy. If you're sending out more than one newsletter a week, you're overdoing it.
Which brings us full circle to open-rates.
Open-rates are nice. But they are mostly feel-good when it comes to measuring an action.
Because it's the actions that benchmark your frequency. But hey, you already know that don't you?
So make sure your newsletter has a benchmark from now on.
And that will tell you what you really need to know, eh?