Increase Retention, Engagement and Sales with a Special Edition

In my former role as an email marketing manager, I was in charge of publishing a daily email newsletter to more than 200,000 readers. When I started in the job, we were publishing about three times per week, but over the years increased that to mailing nearly every day. Most of our readers were happy to have more content from us, but some felt overwhelmed by the amount of and frequency of the information coming in our email newsletter.

After noticing a drop in retention rates, we decided to create a special weekend edition of the newsletter with a special format and its own opt-in. I authored the issue, writing a topical, timely column each week In addition to the section that I wrote, the newsletter included several special features that only occurred in that issue on the weekend. Over time, readers realized the value of the weekend edition and it eventually became the issue with the highest number of subscribers, highest open rate and highest conversion rate of any that we sent all week.

So if you’re experiencing higher unsubscribe rates, especially if you’ve increased the frequency at which you send your email newsletter, try adopting a special weekend edition. Here’s how.

Decide when to send. Over the years, we had done extensive testing that taught us that weekends were when more people were reading our emails and ordering our products. So it was natural to send the special weekend edition on Saturdays. People had more time to engage with the content … and more time to purchase our products.

Pick a format. Our usual email newsletter format that we sent several times per week was a lengthy column written by one of our in-house editors. I authored a similar column for the weekend edition, but also included many features not found on any other day. For example, we wanted to start testing videos, so we began creating one on Fridays that got published to the website and in the weekend edition of the email newsletter. It was one of our most popular pieces of content.

Do a digest. In addition to my column and the video, every weekend edition issue included links to and a brief description of the rest of the week’s issues of our email newsletter. That way, people who only received the weekend edition could go back and read the other content as they wished without having to receive an email from us every day.

Mix up ad placement/include more ads. With some testing, we found that a special advertisement at the top of each weekend edition issue performed very well. It was a terrific place to highlight any special offers we had at the time and to run ads for our most popular products. Also, because these issues tended to be longer and have more sections than our regular weekly email newsletter issues, we were able to include extra advertisements throughout, boosting sales.

Create a special opt-in. We created a special opt-in that allowed people to be enrolled only on the weekend edition email newsletter file. As with any offer, set clear expectations and have a solid call-to-action. We found that over time, having this separate opt-in option saved about 10% of our list from unsubscribing completely. And we found that they were often more engaged with our content and more likely to purchase our products.

By creating a special edition of your email newsletter with its own opt-in, you’ll likely find that you retain more subscribers, that they’re more engaged with your content and more likely to buy your products. I’ve seen success with this and I hope you do too!

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