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“What gets measured gets improved.” ― Robin S. Sharma

Do the words “spreadsheet” and “statistics” make you feel a bit ill? Do you feel a bit, er, crappy because you know you should pay more attention to your newsletter statistics, but you can’t be bothered?

For many creative business people, the very idea of statistics makes them want to dry heave. And I get it. I’m not much of a “left-brain” person myself. That’s why, I’d love to introduce you to a way of looking at your newsletter stats so you can improve what you’re doing with minimal effort.

But this very small and very simple tip can take your newsletter/email product to the next level. You’ll pay more attention, get your content seen, and serve your list to the best of your abilities.

Why should we track how well our newsletters are doing?

There are three major pay-offs

  • Connecting better with our audience
  • Improving the rate of who sees our content and takes action on it
  • Working out if you’re attracting the right people to your list


Hell, if these are the only three things you track ever, you’re ahead of the curve!

Open rate, click rate, and unsubscribe rate.

Integrate tracking into your newsletter routine

If you’re using a spreadsheet to track your newsletter creation, it’s easy to add in three more columns at the end: “Open rate”, “click rate” “unsubscribe rate”.

So, you might have something like this:

tracking your newsletter

One week after sending a newsletter (or two weeks, whatever frequency you send them at), before you upload your latest one, take a moment to make note of the open rates, click rates, and unsubscribe rates. So, in the example above, say the date is the 21st of July. We’re about to go into MailChimp and upload the latest newsletter. But, before we do, we make a quick note of how the previous campaign did.

What to do with the stats?

The two most useful ones for you are really the open rate and the click rate. The open rate indicates the amount of people seeing the content. The click rate the percentage of people taking action on your content.

If you consider your list an important part of your content marketing strategy, taking these few seconds to track how your emails are going can get you really thinking about how to improve your emails.

Things to do to improve your open rate

  • Write more compelling subject lines
  • Send your emails out regularly (but not spammy – cap it at once per week unless you have a very good reason)

Things to do to improve your click rate

  • Understand what your audience wants from you, aim to serve them and provide clear calls to action to things they actually want
  • Limit the number of calls to action to just a few, maybe even one, so that your readers know what the point of the email is

Why track the unsubscribe rate?

The unsubscribe rate can be a bit of a bummer, but there are advantages to keeping an eye on it. There are two essential questions your unsubscribe rate can help you understand:

  • Are you attracting the right people into your list?
  • Are you serving your readers stuff that they want?

This simple practice can seriously up-level your newsletter game. You’ll find yourself paying more attention to what you’re crafting and how you’re serving your list.