I know what you’re thinking.
You’re concerned — and frustrated — that the time, effort, and resources you put into your newsletter aren’t paying off.
You want reassurance you’re on the right path…or permission to quit.
I can’t give you either.
The following questions can help you figure out if you’re on the right track and what to do if you’re not.
1. What does it mean for your newsletter to “work?”
Few creators define success for their newsletter.
Why did you start it in the first place?
What do you hope to get out of it?
Don’t just pick random numbers.
If you believe 5,000 subscribers is successful, why do you think that?
What would 5,000 subscribers allow you to do that 4,000 wouldn’t?
If you’re building a business, how much revenue does your newsletter need to generate to be successful?
It’s impossible to accomplish a goal you don’t define, so start there.
(Btw, one of the best ways to clarify your goals is to see how others do it.)
2. Do you get ANY unprompted feedback?
It’s easy to obsess over open and click rates, but the most important “metric” is an unexpected one:
Unprompted feedback from readers.
Your inbox doesn’t need to be flooded with replies from readers, but…
Does ANYONE tell you they love it?
Ask questions about what you shared?
Recommend it to others?
If even a couple people do these things, then you know it resonates with someone.
That’s a great sign.
Because if someone finds it valuable, others will too.
You just have to find more people like them.
3. Have you given your newsletter enough time to work?
Newsletters don’t go viral.
Consider if you’ve given yours enough time to succeed and yourself enough time to get better at creating it.
If you’ve only published 10 issues, you have no clue what your newsletter is or could become.
Because every newsletter and audience is unique, there’s no magic number of issues to publish before you assess progress.
But commit to a certain number of issues and don’t even consider bailing until you hit that number.
This removes the constant “Should I quit?” question that looms over the head of too many creators on a daily basis.
My 100x Method can help you do this.
4. Do YOU think your newsletter is good?
Are you proud of it?
Do you believe it’s valuable (or could be) to a specific audience?
Don’t be too influenced — for better or worse — by metrics like subscribers, opens, and clicks.
Make your own assessment of your newsletter’s quality.
But before you do, watch this:
If you believe in your newsletter, what’s holding you back may be a marketing issue.
And if you don’t believe in your newsletter?
Or, maybe it’s time to create something you do believe in?
5. Is your problem awareness, conversion, or both?
What if you’re doing all the things mentioned above right, but still feel your newsletter isn’t working?
Then it’s time to identify the root of your struggles.
A successful newsletter requires two elements:
- Awareness of the newsletter among the audience it exists to serve.
- Conversions from that audience to become subscribers and active readers.
If your newsletter isn’t “working” because no one knows it exists, you need to improve your marketing.
An easy place to start is my Newsletter Booster Skill Session which outlines a system you can use to get more subscribers in five minutes a day.
(Use code BOOSTER25 to get a 50% discount on it.)
If your target audience is aware of your newsletter but not subscribing, you’ve got a conversion problem.
To fix that, improve your messaging, positioning, signup page, or even consider if you’re targeting the wrong audience.
Here are a bunch of free newsletter growth resources to help you with those things.
And here’s an excerpt from my I Want To Know podcast where I explain how to convert readers into subscribers:
Still not sure your newsletter is working or what to do about it?
I’d be happy to take a look and give you some personal feedback.
Just hit me up on Twitter and ask whatever you’d like to know.
You’ll also find my For The Interested newsletter helpful.