Is it time for a change? You may think your newsletter looks great, is easy to read, and provides relevant content to your readers. But is it the best it can be? Often you need look no further than your own subscribers for ideas to improve your newsletter. If it has been a while since you’ve gotten feedback on your newsletter, consider taking the time to solicit some advice.
There are several ways to ask for feedback. You might consider setting aside a section in your next issue to ask for ideas and suggestions to improve your newsletter. Include a way to submit the information back to you. If you are interested in attacking one specific area of your newsletter design or content, be sure to focus on that.
You can also send out a separate mailing to ask for your readers’ opinions. If you are snail mailing, consider a postcard with an attachment that can be returned. If you are emailing, you might want to direct your readers to a webpage or simply ask them to reply to the email with their comments.
If you have the opportunity to talk directly with your subscribers, be sure to ask for feedback every chance you get. For example, if a reader contacts you about a change of address, ask how they are enjoying the newsletter. If a subscriber cancels his or her subscription, be sure to solicit reasons why they are canceling. You may find that this is when a reader is most honest and forthcoming with both positive and negative comments.
What are some things to ask your readers? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Do you read every article in the newsletter?
- On average, what percentage of the newsletter would you say you read of each issue?
- Do you wish there were more of a particular type of article?
- Do you wish there were less of a particular type of article?
- Is there too much/too little content?
- Is there too much/too little advertising content?
- Do you enjoy the layout and design of the newsletter?
- Is there anything you would change about the layout and design of the newsletter?
- Are you happy with the way you receive your newsletter (through the mail, via email, etc)?
- What would you change about the newsletter?
- What is your favorite part of the newsletter?
- What is your least favorite part of the newsletter?
- Do you save your newsletter?
- For what purpose do you save all or parts of the newsletter?
- How can we make the newsletter better?
Once you've received comments from your readers, do you have to follow up? You certainly do not have to make every change that a reader requests. You will ultimately be the best judge of what should be in your newsletter and how it should be presented. If you do use a reader's ideas, however, it is a good idea to inform that person of the changes you've made and to thank them for their input. Not only will you be improving your publication, you will also be building goodwill with your subscribers.