My husband and I own a business called Living ADDventure® where we provide ADHD (Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity, Disorder) Coaching, Training and Support to those who live with and alongside ADHD.
Over the last decade we have built up a substantial database of parents and adults, teachers and medical professionals, through our talks and workshops we have done. We ensure that we take an attendance register at every talk or workshop we do as this is an important way for us to grow our database.
Below is an ongoing case study that I started at the beginning of 2015 to see if I could better understand what was happening to the newsletters I was sending out.
Aspects I am looking at:
- How often to send newsletters?
- Who opens the newsletters?
- Which links do they click on?
- What causes people to unsubscribe?
- Why don’t people comment?
- Why are some newsletters rejected as SPAM and not others?
- What is the life of a newsletter?
- Should I delete those subscribers who haven’t opened a newsletter in a long time, I.e more than a year?
How Do I Send My Newsletters?
I use the business version of a Mailing Programme called ACYMailing which I have integrated into our website.
- Using the Lists feature, I have sorted my subscribers into Adults, Teachers, Medical Professionals, Teens, Specialised Blogs and All. Subscribers can choose which list/s to subscribe to when they sign up.
- I can tailor my newsletters to particular interest groups and send only to them or I can include topics of interest for each group and send the newsletter to the All list.
- I have also created lists called, SPAM rejections, Undelivereds and Unsubscribes and Never Open.
- ACYMailing has great statistics features and you can easily see:
- How many mails have been sent and when.
- How many mails have been opened, when and by whom.
- Who clicks which links and when
- Who has unsubscribed and subscribers have the option to explain why they have unsubscribed. ACYMailing automatically unsubscribes them from receiving future e-mails.
This is a lot of valuable information but I wanted to be able to analyse it better. To do this I created a Google Spreadsheet where I could record what was happening from the time I clicked send. Because my database is over 4000 it takes several hours to send, to meet the restrictions imposed by my hosting provider.
I update my spreadsheet every couple of hours for the first 2 days and less frequently over the next couple of days.
These are the headings I use in my Google Sheet. Date, Time, Number of Opens, Unique Opens, Number of Clicks, Unique Clicks, Unsubscribes, Subscribes, Undelivered, SPAM Rejections, Mailbox Full and Notice of Change of E-mail.
How Often To Send Newsletters?
This is a tricky question and there are no easy answers other than to decide on a schedule and be consistent. I have settled on once a week as that seems to be right for our audience. With teachers and parents making up a large part of our audience it can be difficult to know whether to send mail during the holidays or not. We live in South Africa and school holidays are staggered based on location, and private and state schools have different holiday schedules.
Who Opens The Newsletters and Which Links Do They Click On?
- One thing I have learned is to NEVER ASSUME.
- Just because someone is a medical professional does not mean that they and/or their partner/children don’t have ADHD.
- They may not open a few newsletters in a row. It doesn’t mean that they are not interested. They may be away or busy. The particular topic in the headline doesn’t appeal to them.
What Causes People To Unsubscribe?
- ADHD is a very controversial condition and even those who know nothing about it have an opinion. Sometimes people do not like what we say so they unsubscribe.
- E-mail overwhelms a lot of people and they tell us they are unsubscribing for that reason but they will still connect with us on Facebook.
- Teachers and Medical Professionals retire.
- Here is a lovely testimonial from a teacher who unsubscribed.
"I am retired from Livingstone primary, where I taught for25 years. Your talks and work shops were always most helpful, thank you. I do so enjoy your newsletter. God bless your work for these special people."
- Children grow up and the Parents no longer need the support.
- Not everyone tells us why they are unsubscribing but by asking we give them the opportunity to give us feedback.
What is important is to immediately ensure that all unsubcribers never receive an e-mail from you again … unless of course they choose to re-subscribe. This is why I have a list called Unsubscribes. I allocate every unsubscriber to this list and make sure that they are removed from all other lists.
Why Don’t People Comment?
It can be disappointing when people don’t comment on your articles as you feel like you are operating in a vacuum. I have realised that there are many people who prefer to e-mail us privately, or are not very tech literate and don’t know how to comment.
Including an enquiry form is important.
Why Are Some Newsletters Rejected as SPAM and Not Others?
This can be super frustrating. You put in all that effort and legitimate subscribers are rejected by SPAM filters .
ACYMailing allows me to do a SPAM test before I send. It will alert me to specific words that SPAM filters may reject and also if my Internet Service Provider (ISP) has been reported as a SPAMMER. It gives me a score out of 10. I still receive a few SPAM rejection notices that bounce back and I have no doubt that some disappear into the ether.
What is the life of a newsletter?
This has been the most interesting insight that I have got from my analysis over the past 7 months. Once again NEVER ASSUME. Our newsletters are being saved and opened months later and then acted upon. We will get a call from someone about something they have read in a newsletter. We will scratch our heads wondering which article they are talking about, and they tell us it was from months ago and being typical ADHD folk, they have procrastinated until it is a crisis.
We also get a number of referrals from people who are not on our database but have had it forwarded from others.
Should you delete subscribers who haven’t opened a newsletter for over a year?
This is where my list of Never Opens has come in useful. I always send the newsletter to this list. A week later I export the users on the list to a .csv file which I then open as a Google Sheet. I sort the users using “latest click” as the parameter. There are always between 10 and 20 users who have clicked on a link in the latest newsletter even if they haven’t clicked or opened a newsletter for a year or more previously.
Here is part of a testimonial from one Mom who we thought we would never hear from again.
"I don’t know if you will remember me but you saw me about 3 years ago at my WORST and last night I attended my daughters parents evening and sat in the audience with such huge gratitude and regret all at the same time. So thank you from the bottom of my heart and sorry it’s taken so long for me to do this and that it took seeing you on a stage to say all this!!"
I transfer these users to the relevant list/s according to the links they have clicked on.
I also get a few bounce backs from this list each time. E-mail deliveries that have have failed. These I assign to the Undelivereds list and they no longer receive e-mails.
- Be consistent when you send your newsletters
- Segment your subscribers into different interest groups.
- Include a link to an enquiry form for those who don’t want to comment
- Immediately remove unsubscribes and undelivereds
- Do a SPAM check before sending and make suggested changes if necessary
- Have sharing buttons on your newsletters.
- NEVER ASSUME someone has abandoned you until they have unsubscribed.
Add me on Skype at: trishpp1
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Note: I am currently doing a 30 Day Blog Challenge and this is my post for Day 11 which is about doing a case study. If you enjoy blogging I urge you to sign up for this challenge as I am learning so much and meeting great people.