E-newsletters, now newsletters, can be of tremendous assistance in an integrated email marketing campaign, as imaginative companies have discovered. Unfortunately, many publications fold after just a few issues and this can harm a company’s image in a number of ways. The problem publishers have is how to move their newsletter on, giving the subscribers what they want and at the same time ensuring it is a platform for their products.
You could question your customers, but I am resistant to the idea of asking subscribers what I am doing wrong. If you are following a particular route for a purpose and they criticise it, they might resent you continuing with the same methods or content.
Look to other newsletters, especially but not exclusively those in your specialty. You should be subscribed to them in any case for research purposes.
Rate them in detail, perhaps listing the good points, the bad, what you find tedious or uninvolving and those which you look forward to. Go from the time they land in your inbox until you close or delete them. Ask your staff what they like/dislike about particular newsletters, using the same criteria.
Another route which can be followed in addition to the first method is to read blogs and forums as well as any other location of feedback. A quick search will pick up comments about the latest issue and those before. These can be tremendously helpful as they often highlight particular subjects and methods of presentation.
Next, look for overall patterns. If you pick one which has been particularly successful of late, generating comment among your staff or fellow businessmen, then examine the comments closely for what is seen as the best features. Those where circulation is dropping, or no one knows about, should contain warning signals.
I’ve always been willing to pinch other people’s ideas but a better method is to learn from both the mistakes and triumphs of others. Don’t copy but develop the initiatives others have found useful.
Also, and importantly in email marketing, ensure you do not let others leave you behind. Few people regularly read more than one or two. Do not be the one they discard.