Sure, sending newsletters is a great way to send information to your customers, but what information are you getting back? You might think collecting information at subscription is the only way to get data out of your newsletter, but there are several other ways you can get your company newsletter to deliver valuable customer insights.
Use Every Newsletter as a Test
If you’re sending the exact same newsletter to your entire contact list, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to test various parts of your campaign. By segregating two recipient groups and sending slightly different newsletters to each, you can read differences in reception to determine the most effective techniques. Use your newsletter to test various subject lines, article titles, and images. You can also run tests by segregating customers and non-customers to see which of the groups has a higher read rate. Just remember not to change too many things between the different newsletters since you might not be able to tell which of the changes caused a higher read rate.
You can also test to determine what days and times of the week have the highest read rate (I suggest this be one of your first tests). Newsletters sent on Tuesdays and Thursdays typically have the highest read rate, but it could be different depending on your customer base. Test your newsletter on various days of the week to determine what works best with your target customer.
Do you allow customers to reply to your newsletter email? If responses get sent to a no-reply or some auto-response mailbox, then your valuable customer input is falling on deaf ears. Maybe customers are having problems viewing the email, or have suggestions for improvement, or just want to say something nice. Make sure that recipients can respond to your newsletter via email, and that those responses are sent to someone on your marketing team.
Use Unique URLs to Track Links in Your Newsletter
If you have links in your newsletter that direct the reader to your website, you want to make sure you know if they are coming from the newsletter or somewhere else. If you use Google Analytics (if not you should be), you can track all of the sources by which users are navigating to your site. To figure out what percentage of your traffic is from newsletters, populate your newsletter with uniquely generated links that will let you know that person came from the newsletter. For detailed instruction, read the Google Analytics URL Builder Help. Unless you use unique URLs, people clicking on those links in the newsletter will show up as direct visitors in Google Analytics.
Include Surveys to Boost Participation
Maybe you’ve sent surveys or put them on your website to learn more about people interested in your product or service. To maximize data volume, include surveys in your newsletters as well. There’s no need to dream up a new survey every newsletter (that will probably just annoy readers), but linking to a survey via your newsletter every now and again is a great way to draw more participants and get more data.
Use a Marketing Application
Doing all of the previously stated can be made worlds easier if you use a marketing application to manage your newsletters. Services like Constant Contact, Vertical Response, and Mail Chimp will not only help you with testing and formatting, many of them automatically generate data for your campaign.
So remember the next time you send out a newsletter, it isn’t just to send information, it has a lot of potential for collecting information too – valuable insights that can help you learn more about your customer, and build a better business.