Yem Jam (Vol. 4)
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This week, we'll cover some growth experiments we're running with our newsletter customers. Let's dive in...
🧪 Tests & Learnings 🧪
Early on, we noticed newsletters share a common, sizable challenge. A large group of subscribers are dormant. These are folks that have not engaged with any content (emails, web posts) for a long time, say at least 30 days. Some have never engaged with any content since signing up: the most deeply dormant subs & hardest to win back. 😴
It's valuable for newsletters of all types to chip away at this problem. For ad-supported newsletters, email opens (and clicks and other actions) are important for revenue. For paid newsletters, engagement is closely correlated with retention. In other words, dormancy is a strong leading indicator that a paid subscriber will cancel.
So how do we reduce dormancy? 🚫😴🚫
Test 1: For Gmail subs, 'Promotions' to ‘Primary’
For the newsletters we work with, Gmail domains account for 60% of emails. Gmail has a tendency to bump newsletters to the pesky 'Promotions' tab, where they're often buried alive.
Our first test was to send an email from a personal Gmail account to dormant Gmail subscribers. The call-to-action was to move the newsletter to the 'Primary' tab.
We timed the send right after a newsletter post went out. That not only made it easier to drag us to Primary, but gave us insight into how many people opened the post.
We saw 7.7% of the cohort open the Substack newsletter post. And again, these were subs that had never opened an email before. So if this group had 1,000 subscribers, we feel pretty confident the test drove 77 incremental views. A promising start...
There was also a small group that opened up the next post, which serves our ultimate goal: encouraging subs to more consistently engage.
Test 2 - 4: Re-engagement Campaigns Sent From Substack
Next up, we sent 3 re-engagement emails from Substack. One highlighted tops posts, another audio versions of top posts, and the last one was simply a personal note.
We knew going in open rate would be tough. Again, these were subs that had never opened an email or engaged in any way. The open rate was 3.5%, below normal posts (35%), but not too shabby considering the test group's track record.
For those that did open, the majority (60%) clicked on a link to an article or audio post! The overall re-engagement rate was 2.1% - an exciting starting point.
While we have a lot of work to do, it's encouraging to see the positive impact and opportunities to add more value. We learned a lot with the first wave of tests and have a bunch of follow-up ideas to boost performance. We'll also be keeping an eye on the degree to which re-engaged subs remain engaged (or fall dormant again).
That’s it for this week - let me know what you think! I would love to hear from you. And if you’re not already, please consider subscribing below:
As always, thank you for your support. 🙏