E-Media Strategist: The Case for Daily E-newsletters
My baptism with e-mail newsletters came in 1995 for Windows NT Magazine, a monthly print publication for IT administrators. Mark Smith, the publisher at the time, came into my office and said, "In my magazine column, I told everyone that we'll have an e-mail newsletter launched next month. Hope that's OK." As only Mark could do, he just laughed nervously a little bit and then walked back out. It turns out he really did write that in his column and, while I thought he was a bit nuts, I also took it as a vote of confidence in our ability to make it happen.
One of the first issues we tackled was how often to send out the newsletter. The magazine was monthly, and we wanted to be in touch more frequently than that. Should it be every other week, weekly or maybe even daily? Eventually, weekly won out as we felt daily would be too intrusive, and every other week wouldn't be enough. We decided on Wednesdays to avoid most holidays, the workload at the beginning of the week, and the end-of-week blahs.
Every issue started with an entire article right at the top with no need to link to our website. The rest of the content for that week's issue was presented in a more digest-style format below the primary article. You had to click through to the website to read those articles.
None of this was scientifically tested, backed by any industry data (none existed) or backed by any feedback from readers. (We didn't have the time to ask for feedback.) We simply asked ourselves what we would want if we were the recipient. In a very short time, we were closing in on nearly 200,000 subscribers—entirely opt-in, with open rates averaging in the mid-30s and very strong click rates for our advertisers.
Eric Shanfelt is the founding partner of Nearview Media, a consulting firm that helps publishers with their digital revenue, audience and platform development. Eric is a 25-year digital media veteran and has been the Chief Digital Officer for several large publishing companies. You can reach Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.