Who Should Receive Your Email Newsletter?


By: Ceci Dadisman

You may remember this post I wrote a while ago about why people unsubscribe from your emails. At the end, I propose the idea that your email newsletter should not be sent to everyone on your list (or to the people on all of your lists, depending on how you have it organized).

As marketing evolves, relevance is becoming more and more important.  Sending your patrons (and prospective patrons) the most relevant communications is key to not only selling tickets but to engage them in your brand.

Who Should Receive Your Email Newsletter

Do you have low open rates?

If you are like most who send their newsletter to the majority of the people on their list, you probably have low open rates.  What is the best way to combat this? It really just comes down to segmentation.

Figure out who is opening your newsletter.

Delve into your data and see who is opening your email newsletter on a regular basis. Do they belong to certain patron groups like subscribers, regular ticket buyers, donors, etc.  Maybe they don’t overwhelmingly come from one of those groups at all.  In any case, create a segment of engaged readers in your email marketing program so that you can send to them as a group.

The next time you send out your email newsletter, try sending to this group as well as any other highly engaged patrons that you identify internally (subscribers, donors, etc.)  I’m willing to bet that your open and click rates will be higher.

What do I send to the rest of my list?

Remember: relevance is key.  If you know what types of events they like, start there.  Take a look at past ticket purchasing history and start to group them by interest.

You might identify people as liking musical theatre, Shakespeare, or children’s programming, for example.  Perhaps you have a group that purchases tickets for big name productions like Madama Butterfly, The Lion King, or The Nutcracker. Once you have identified these interests, send them emails about more of that.

You can also use past email click data to determine interest.  If someone clicked on a link for a particular event of production, odds are that they at least have some interest in that type of programming.

A shift in thinking

Using this approach moves your email strategy from something more “spray and pray” to one that is much more personalized.  Yes, this will also probably mean that you will be constructing more shorter emails as opposed to fewer longer ones.

You may encounter some resistance in terms of this new strategy.  One of the comments I almost always get is something like, “But we want to get this information out to everyone on our list and we can’t do that if we’re not sending it to everyone.”  In this case, remember that the majority of those people aren’t even opening the newsletter email so they aren’t seeing it anyway.  Sending more personalized, segmented emails will at least give you a shot to have more people engage with your content.

Test your new strategy

Like anything else, determine a test period to work out what works best and what doesn’t. Don’t feel like you have to come out of the gate with this new approach running like clockwork.  Use the data that you gather after each email send to inform any adjustments you may need to make.

Let’s get to work.

Ceci Dadisman
Ceci Dadisman
Ceci Dadisman is a marketing professional with more than 15 years of experience creating effective communications campaigns utilizing innovative, forward thinking methods. She is nationally recognized as a leader in digital marketing and specializes in multichannel communications campaigns. A frequent public speaker, Ceci’s recent and upcoming engagements feature national conference appearances at NTEN, Museums and the Web, National Arts Marketing Project, Arts Midwest, American Alliance of Museums, OPERA America, Midwest Museums Association, and Chorus America in addition to many other local and regional events. Known for her easy-going and vernacular style, she creates open learning environments with an emphasis on information sharing and useful takeaways. She is a member of the National Arts Marketing Project Advisory Committee and the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts Visiting Committee, and is a mentor in West Virginia University’s Creative Consultant program. She also teaches the arts marketing course at West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts and is on the faculty of Chorus America’s Chorus Management Institute. Ceci was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts. She currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
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