If you have an email address, you're probably very familiar with enewsletters. And, as we all know, familiarity can breed contempt, which is why so many of your email marketing missives are routed directly to the spam folder. Audiences are tired of seeing the same old thing presented in the same old way. Which is why we pivoted away from the traditional "two column" format to a more accessible and easily digestible "links only" newsletter.
We initially launched our email marketing effort with a very traditional newsletter in the two-column format that allowed us to tell a few client stories, offer a content marketing resource, and include one of our popular blog posts, space permitting. After about six months of decidedly lackluster results, we radically overhauled our format, moving away from our traditional design to what could best be described as a "links only" format.
This revamped newsletter gave us much more flexibility, allowing for a short intro paragraph from our team followed by relevant and timely links organized by theme. For example, our most recent newsletter included the following link categories: "Filmmaking & Entertainment News," "Smarthouse Clients in the News," "Various & Sundry," and a "Parting Glance."
We saw an almost immediate bump in our key performance indicators, which continued to climb with each subsequent email. In fact, when we compare a typical, "pre-link" newsletter with our most recent newsletter (example), the metrics clearly show a dramatic improvement:
October 2016 (list averages to date)
Open rate: 15.6%
Click rate: 0.6%
April 2017 (list averages to date)
Open rate: 30.2% (2x increase)
Click rate: 1.8% (2x+ increase)
In addition to the metrics, we also received an outpouring of emails from clients, supporters, and peers that our new format was super useful and something they actually looked forward to receiving each month. We heard similar unsolicited praise from others in passing or during meetings. In fact, we're now considering increasing our newsletter production to two per month because we feel our audience is hungry for more. It also gives us an opportunity to display our effectiveness as industry influencers by curating the best of the best content out there. Of course, we also pepper our own blog posts and content marketing products throughout, but never "hard sell" anyone on our services.
Overall, we couldn't be happier with this newsletter pivot and we hope it will continue to generate similar results in the months to come. And if you're still doing email marketing with a traditional format and layout, we highly encourage you to give a "links only" version a test run, which is easy enough to do in most, if not all, email marketing platforms. We think you'll be quite pleased with the results!
If you'd like to learn more about making the transition to a "links only" newsletter, or have Smarthouse Creative produce one (or more) for you, please get in touch: http://www.smarthousecreative.com/free-quote.