Craig Heisner, VP Marketing Brooks Sports
(who make high-end running shoes), took his company's email newsletter from quarterly to monthly this Spring and he reports that it's made a big difference in helping his opt-in list grow faster. Turns out an astonishing 45% of his newsletter subscribers forward a copy to friends (that's higher than most marketer's open rates, let along pass-along rates). Since there's a big fat subscribe button at the top of the issues, plus a little text note at the bottom of each isue reading "Please remember to subscribe above if you would like to receive your own custom The Loop newsletter," a heck of a lot of the people who get forwarded copies join the list. When he was only quarterly he only got that new subscription influx 4x a year. By going monthly it's 12 times a year.
The newsletter itself is very rich and thick and chocolate. It's more like a magazine for passionate runners than a marketing newsletter for a shoe company. The sample isssue he sent me had nine stories - including a highly detailed injury prevention tip (approx 800 words) and several people profiles such as a customer-of-the-month profile and a sports medical professional-of-the-month profile.
Heiser knows many recipients may not want to plow through all nine stories each month, so he's set the subscribe form up so you can choose only to receive the types of stories that appeal to you the most. Basically you get a slightly customized issue. Which is probably one of the reasons his pass-along rate is so incredibly high. People are more likely to open, read and get enthusiastic about content that appeals directly to them.
It may also help cut down on that cut-and-paste problem I mentioned in my Blog below. If you get a newsletter with nine articles and you think your friend will only want one of the articles, I bet you're tempted to cut and paste, thus depriving Heiser of his chance to get your friend to subscribe with his subscribe offers and other marketing materials in the letter.