Last week I sent out a newsletter, asking the following question:
What's one problem you're having in your business, right now?
I was clear that I would respond to every single one of them with some helpful advice.
For me, it was an opportunity to learn more about the issues facing my subscribers and engage in conversation with them. I was looking forward to having some nice dialog, and getting a better sense of who follows this blog.
Here's what happened:
Now, I've written about newsletters before and how, as a whole, I've been largely disappointed with the effectiveness of them, despite many people who swear by them (and I don't argue the fact that some people are definitely making a killing off their newsletters).
I have on this list around 2500 subscribers - by no means a small amount.
The total number of opens for this broadcast was 374, or about 15%. Very low.
The number of responses - 15, or around 4% of opens. Very low.
But maybe it's just this list?
I have several other lists on my account, one of which is for NinjaOutreach, which also has over a thousand subscribers.
The first email in that series also asks a question, similar to the above. I've had it up for over a month now, and it has an open rate of over 60%, which means hundreds of people have seen it.
Total number of responses - 1. Very low.
Unfortunately, I am finding it more and more difficult to derive benefits out of newsletters when the engagement is so poor.
What can you do?
Sending The Email...Again
I decided for the first time in my life I was going to do something I've never done before.
After all - life is about experimenting.
This time I decided I was going to send the email again, the very next day. I was going to blacklist anyone who had opened it, so as not to be overly annoying. This can be accomplished easily in Aweber, guaranteeing that no one who opened the email would get it again.
Of course, it's still a bit annoying for anyone that saw it and deleted it - but if that's how they relate to an email I send to them offering help, does it matter?
The result is that another 176 people opened.
Now, I was expecting it to be lower than the first go around - that makes sense.
What surprised me was how many people opened the second one, effectively increasing my open rates 50%.
To be honest, even a 23% open rate is not altogether stellar, but imagine if you had 20-25% opens on your first email (which I sometimes do), and combined that with another 12% lift by sending it again?
That's actually a pretty decent open rate.
Now, you're probably wondering - did anyone complain.
Did a ton of people unsubscribe?
Did more people send me questions?
In fact, as far as I can tell, there haven't been any backlash whatsoever from sending out the same email 24 hours later.
What remains to be tested is how this strategy fairs with an initial email that gets better open rates, and if one can really take 20% and turn it into 30% with just a little more effort.
Outside of this case study, I thought I'd write a quick aside about the types of questions I received.
Well, there were a few of these:
and these:But if there was one "issue", overall, it was that people asked terribly general questions, like:
How do I start a online business?
How do I grow my business?
On the one hand, I get it. I've had these questions before too. In fact almost daily I ask myself, how can I grow my business?
But if you're actually looking for answers, and not just musing, you're going to have to get more tactical.
For example, what kind of online business do you want to start?
If you don't know, read about the specifics of each kind of online business (software is very different from info products).
If you don't know the kinds of online businesses that are out there, Google that. Ask yourself what sounds appealing, and what you think could align with your skill set.
In short, work backwards until you're at a point where you know the answer, and then dive deeper, so you can finally read about how to start a software business, or whatever you're looking for. Eventually, you'll start to get really tactical, such as, how to hire a good developer, and how to recruit beta users.
The farther down you get in the information funnel, the more quality and actionable it tends to be.
Similarly, if you're looking to grow your business, ask yourself, what channel do you want to use to grow it.
Are you trying to sell an ebook on Amazon?
Are you trying to generate traffic? Through Facebook?
In my opinion case studies are the finest way to get proven, tactical information that will help you. Copy exactly what the other person did, and you just might achieve results.
There is plenty of information on the web, but only if you have a specific question in mind and know what you are looking for will you ever be able to find it.
So, have you ever emailed your list twice? What was the result?