We create newsletters from a self-centric point and need. Usually, to market our expertise as an expert, as a distribution channel for our products and services, or even make the newsletter the product itself.
The reader is seen as a necessity because to whom else you wanna sell? Right?
But that is only part of the truth. Besides just having people subscribed to your newsletter, you need them to open, read and take action on your emails.
And you won’t get them to take action if your whole approach stays self-centric and only serves your own needs.
Nobody is going to read your emails and buy your stuff or engage otherwise with your emails.
Readers need value; they need to get something out from reading your newsletter. It can be entertainment, know-how, sparking ideas, and many more.
But, here comes the tricky thing.
You need to figure out what your readers want and ultimately give it to them or look for different readers as an alternative.
Simply by asking them. But unfortunately, not every way to ask questions is equals and delivers the answers for you. I’ll show you several ways to get feedback from your readers with their pros and cons in the post.
Reply to My Email
The simplest way to ask for feedback without any tool is to ask for it at the end of your email. Ask directly how they liked your email or ask open-ended questions related to the topic of the email.
- dead simple
- no tools required
- too much friction for readers to reply
Replying to a newsletter email caused tons of friction for the reader. Most have never done it and avoid it as hell because of fear of messing up, looking stupid, or unsure if they have to write formally- Having to sit down and think about what to write. It feels more like writing a letter to the tax office. Nobody wants that.
Of course, there are exceptions, and you will get the occasional email. Maybe you are even lucky and have outgoing readers that actually reply quite regularly. But the chances are high that you will not get many replies.
Another common way is to send your readers a survey and ask multiple questions at once.
- simple to do
- free; most survey tools have a free tier; that’s enough. Even some email providers have those
- too much friction
- people hate surveys and forms
- the more questions and the longer it takes = fewer answeres
- not in context to your email topics
The main friction is that people hate forms and surveys. And the more questions the survey has, and the longer it takes to answer it, the fewer people will do it.
In my experience, there’s a huge drop in replies after the 2nd question. So, keep it short.
However, most won’t even start answering. Usually, just a small number of the most engaged readers will answer it. And even they will stop if you send a survey more than twice a year.
But half a year can be pretty long, and readers will just unsubscribe before they even get the chance to give you feedback.
Feedback is best given directly and in the context of your emails.
Of course, I am biased, but there’s also a reason behind it. I tried the other ways before for a couple of newsletters, and they never gave me feedback in a reliable way. So, I did experiments like a mad scientist - muahahaha, it’s alive.
And FeedLetter was born with the way that worked by removing friction.
See, whatever you use, you need to overcome the friction that prevents readers from giving you feedback.
- removes friction by using a 2-step process - one tiny step at a time - everybody can click on a link and type in a box
- removes friction because it does not look and feel like a survey
- removes friction because the reader can stay anonymous. They don’t feel guilty to tell you the truth.
- dead simple as “reply to my email.”
- analytics for more insights over time
- replies are in context with your emails
It costs money but frankly gives you more value than three frappucinos. I don’t dare to compare it with a pizza because I’d lose. Nothing can compare to pizza. You’d rather buy a pizza than getting FeedLetter; me too :-)
Conclusion or What You Should Do Now
If your newsletter is a serious thing in term of it helps you earn money, use the shortcut and join FeedLetter on the Pro plan. You won’t regret it.
If your newsletter is a hobby or an early-day side-project, try the free version of FeedLetter for a while or use the “reply to my email” method. And occasionally a tiny survey to learn a bit more about your readers.