What Is The Value Of A Newsletter?

Black hole wind

P.S. Should anyone from high school be reading this let me remind you that I founded the Apathy Club. It was funny because no one showed up for meetings. It wasn’t funny when you knuckleheads stole my idea and took a picture of yourselves sleeping and put it in the yearbook. One day you’ll pay for that. Really, you’ll wake up and find rabid squirrels in your trousers… From The Words We Write

Someone let Stephen King I killed my darlings but they came back and I am scared. Hold me.

Ok, I am just kidding about the hold me part. I wouldn’t want to make old “Ann with No E” Stacey jealous.

Anyhoo, I have a newsletter that more than a 100 of you signed up for. I started the newsletter because it fits into my learn by doing philosophy.

In simple terms I wanted to learn the ins and outs about how to build and operate a successful list on my own. I didn’t want to buy someone else’s information because I wanted to be like Frank and do it my way…and I did.

Consistency, Open Rates & Cost

When I started my newsletter I decided to use AWeber instead of Mailchimp and some of the other players but that might have been a mistake.

It is not because I dislike AWeber or find it difficult to use, on the contrary. No, the reason it was a mistake was because after the trial ended I started paying  a fee to use it each month.

Initially I didn’t care because I thought the value of the newsletter would outweigh the costs. I expected to use it to drive more traffic and potentially generate some cash through affiliate links, but that didn’t happen.

You can attribute that to my not spending as much time with it as I should have. You can attribute my not spending time with it to being over extended in other areas and to being disappointed with the return on my effort.

I was told the newsletter was interesting and useful. The open rates were quite good in the beginning and then they tailed off and I began to wonder if I was fighting a losing battle.

Useful and interesting content is a must but so is time and when people are drowning in email you have to work extra hard to demonstrate that your content is useful, interesting, relevant and worth looking at each time.

One week when I was overwhelmed with work I missed my deadline and I didn’t publish the newsletter. I didn’t hear from any one about this and I wondered if that meant that no one noticed it hadn’t come.

If No One Notices…

The lack of response made me question whether people found it to be useful or not and so I tweaked things so that the next issue would be better.

It certainly got a better response than the one that didn’t go out but it wasn’t greeted with cheers or anything that made me think any one noticed its return so I wondered if I was spinning my wheels.

I had ideas for how to change it and part of me was intrigued by the challenge. It would be fun to revamp and rework things except I didn’t do it.

It wasn’t for lack of desire, but lack of time.

So I decided to sit on things for a while and think about whether I should keep it.

Have You Reached A Decision?

The answer is I haven’t officially reached a decision about what to do and how to do it. I don’t like spending money to support something that isn’t being used and I hesitate to just kill it so I am playing around with moving to a different platform.

But even if everyone moves with me it doesn’t mean that I am going to have more time so in some ways the question isn’t what does it cost but can I make more time for it.

And that is something that only I can answer.

Stay tuned.

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  1. Jens-Petter Berget February 6, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I’ve been doing what you’re doing. And, I’m still not sure what to do, after several years of writing my newsletter. What I’m doing now is that I’m sending my newsletter once a week, every Sunday, and once in a while I send my latest blog post as my newsletter. But, I’m always just sending one article. I want to focus on value. That’s it.

    I haven’t added any type of advertising or any type of monetization. I haven’t figured out what to do about that.

    • Jack February 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Jens,

      Value is important. When I noticed how dramatically my open rates dropped it really made me wonder what the reason was and whether I had the time to crank it up a notch again.

  2. Julie Barrett February 6, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    May I suggest that you move to Mail Chimp and publish one post to the “newsletter only” whilst advertising this fact widely? No one likes to lose the thread of a story.

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