November 30, 2010

Launching a Newsletter: Update from previous MarketingSherpa Email Award winner

SUMMARY: This week is your last chance to nominate your best email marketing efforts from 2010 for MarketingSherpa's 6th Annual Email Marketing Awards. Follow the link at the end of this article, answer a few questions, and you may find your team featured in the winners' circle! Deadline: Friday, Dec. 3

We've reached out to some of last year's winners to see how they're still pushing the envelope. Below is a great example of how one team took the lessons learned from its award-winning newsletter launch and introduced another traffic- and revenue-driving publication.
by Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter

Ease into New Newsletter Sends

Marketers at the Orange County Register had a winner last year with the launch of its OC Moms email newsletter. The weekly family-oriented mailing included links to articles, blogs and event listings to keep moms clicking.

The newsletter successfully engaged its target group, drove more traffic to the Register's website and generated more revenue through third-party advertising. Happy with the success, the team maintained the strategy for OC Moms and focused its energy on launching additional assets.

In late October, Kelly Haggard, Business Development Manager, Orange County Register, and her team launched another newsletter called OC Arts. By partnering with a local arts nonprofit organization, the team planned to supply local arts content in a weekly mailing.

- "You're warming them up to it"

Due to OC Moms' success, the team wanted to follow the same strategy for its new arts newsletter. First it encouraged opt-ins through the websites and newsletters of the Register and its partner nonprofit organization. Then the team sent subscribers a "pre-newsletter" one week before the official launch (see creative samples below).

The "pre-newsletter" included:
o "Thank you for signing up"
o Picture of upcoming newsletter
o One-sentence description
o Link to press release about the newsletter
o Mention that the newsletter will start next week
o Three links to "sneak peak" content
o No advertising

Results metrics for this email:
o 58% Open rate
o 12% Clickthrough rate

The team sent this message to help ease subscribers into receiving the newsletter. This avoided surprising subscribers and gave them more of a personal welcome.

"If someone signed up when they first heard about it, there could have been a few weeks between when they signed up and when they received it -- and there's a disconnect if that happens," Haggard says. "[Using this approach], you're not doing the hard sell. You're kind of warming them up to it."

- Successful launch

One week later, the team sent its first full OC Arts newsletter (see creative sample below) and achieved the following results:
o 51.8% Open rate
o 18.8% Clickthrough rate

"It is a great launch and a great application of our lessons learned from OC Moms," Haggard says. "[Metrics from] our June 30 issue of OC Moms -- our best issue so far this year -- had a 20.26% open rate and a 5.87% clickthrough rate ... so it looks like this newsletter will be on track to perform even better!"

Useful links related to this article

Entry Form: Marketing Sherpa Email Marketing Awards 2011

2010 Email Award Winner Campaign Updates: Video in emails and new product launches

Email Marketing Awards Gallery 2010

1. Pre-newsletter
2. First newsletter

Orange County Register

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