Growing Your Company’s Newsletter (๐Ÿ“ˆ MTN #11)

Author's avatar Move The Needle UPDATED Feb 20, 2024 PUBLISHED May 23, 2023 6 minutes read

Table of contents

    Peter Caputa

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    In this edition

    • ๐Ÿ“Š Email Benchmarks for B2B
    • ๐Ÿ’ก Grow Your Company’s Newsletter
    • ๐Ÿ“ˆ Knowing What Website Visitors Want (And Giving It To Them)

    ๐Ÿ“Š Featured Benchmark Data (from Benchmark Groups)

    Email Benchmarks for B2B

    Median Mailchimp performance for B2B companies (April 2023):

    • Avg Open Rate: 37%
    • Avg Subscribers: 4.9k
    • Avg Unsubscribers: 2.5

    Join this group to see how your company stacks up. See if you’re ahead or behind the curve, and where you can improve.

    ๐Ÿ’ก Trends & Insights (from Reports & Surveys)

    6 Ways To Grow Your Company’s Newsletter (Plus Helpful Tips)

    Newsletters seem to be having a bit of a renaissance moment among companies. Instead of using the newsletter to promote products, more and more are empowering individual creators on their teams to craft value-driven newsletters (kind of like this one!) in their own voice.

    But like any channel, it takes time, effort, and the right strategy to work effectively. And thereโ€™s a big difference between the top-performing and bottom-performing companies.

    According to our Mailchimp benchmark data, the top quartile has about 22k subscribers more than the bottom quartile and only loses 1 subscriber a month (vs 58). 

    So in a recent article, we explored the best ways to grow subscribers and get into the top quartile. 

    A few insights:

    • Frequency โ‰  growth. Chili Piper experimented with increasing sends to 2x/mo (up from monthly) and saw a decrease in open rates and engagement. And SparkToro’s newsletter boasts 40k subscribers with an incredible open rate and only sends 2x/mo.
    • Most B2B companies have between 1k and 5k subs. So don’t feel bad if you’re starting small, and still working on growth.
    • Paid channels, including sponsoring other creators’ newsletters, can be a cost-effective way to accelerate subscriber growth.
    • Your subject lines are crucial to improving your open rate. Sounds obvious, but you should probably obsess over them more than you are and actively study what topics are most interesting to your audience, then lead with those.
    • More companies are starting newsletters. Less than 10% of companies surveyed have been sending for 7 or more users. The majority have only started in the past 1-3 years.

    ๐Ÿ“ˆ Drive Predictable Performance (from Metrics & Chill)

    Knowing Your Website Visitors, and Giving Them What They Want

    I think the most effective websites serve as โ€œasync sales toolsโ€.

    They don’t answer 50% of your questions, then force you to talk to sales to answer the rest. Instead, they try to answer 90%~ of your questions so you can make an informed decision without talking to anyone.

    Then, when you finally do sign up or book a call, you’re doing it with very high intent, and only looking to answer a few remaining questions that the site couldn’t.

    I think we can actually view website visitors as falling – broadly – into one of two camps:

    Category 1: Some intent

    This group learned who you are and what you do on places other than your website. Theyโ€™re here because of the brand awareness you grew or the demand you created. Or, you were able to get in front of them at the exact moment they were searching for a solution.

    Theyโ€™re at least somewhat interested in buying what you sell. But first, they want to answer some questions like:

    How much does this cost?
    How does it work?
    Does it have this specific feature I need?

    Visitor category 2: No intent

    This group is here to get a quick idea of who you are, and what you do.

    They were probably looking for an answer to a specific question, found a helpful article in your blog, and out of curiosity they clicked your logo in the nav just to see who published it.

    Or they read a LinkedIn post from your team, clicked that personโ€™s profile to see where they work, and briefly checked out your site.

    These visitors will skim your homepage for 10 seconds to learn what you do, then log that info away in case they need your service in the future.

    I recently had Gaetano Nino DiNardi on the podcast to rฬถaฬถnฬถtฬถ chat about where companies get this wrong, and how to get it right.

    Where they get it wrong:

    1. Treating both categories of visitors the same (trying to get every visitor to convert).

    Category 1 has a high likelihood of signing up, as long as they get their questions answered.

    But visitors from Category 2 are unlikely to sign up no matter what you do. And if they do, they’ll likely convert at lower rates and churn at higher ones.

    2. Treating every metric as something to be improved, instead of viewing it as part of a holistic picture.

    For example, Gaetano published a sales guide that drove thousands of organic readers with a 12~ min time on page, and a 98% bounce rate.

    Looking at that holistically, readers got their questions answered, left satisfied, and their brand was the one who got to help them.

    A more simplistic view would say, “high bounce rate bad, make it convert more.” 

    In other words, the right way to measure the effectiveness of your content is to understand where it’s supposed to fit in the entire customer journey and hold it to the right expectations.

    3. Obsessing over middle-of-funnel analytics & attribution, while neglecting to do foundational marketing work.

    Spending all your time looking at numbers, while neglecting to learn who’s visiting your site, what they’re trying to learn, if they’re finding what they need, and how you can make the website more helpful.

    The alternative to this, Gaetano says, is having a relentless focus on understanding who your visitors are, what content theyโ€™d find valuable, and making it as easy to find that value as possible.

    For example:

    Using heatmaps and analytics to understand where they’re getting confused, stuck, or having a hard time finding what they need.

    Obsessing over making your website easier to navigate.

    Understanding what education or answers visitors want, and giving it to them (FAQs, pricing, async demo videos they can watch on demand without talking to sales).

    Rather than getting bogged down in attribution analytics, marketing teams should spend most of their time figuring out:

    • Who is visiting our site?
    • What is their intent when they come here?
    • What do they want to learn in order to evaluate our product/service?
    • And then determine how to provide that education and make it incredibly easy to access.

    In his view, marketing should really focus on leading metrics that indicate website visitors are finding what they need, and lagging indicators of high-intent sales (SQLs, pipeline, revenue, etc).

    Drive predictable growth

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    Article by
    Jeremiah Rizzo

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