A good failure: Changing our newsletter promos

By Fred Anklam, Columbia Missourian

Newsletters have increasingly become the go-to resource for engaging and growing audiences. Most organizations see slow, steady growth in newsletter signups.
Many of you have been encouraged to work on improving the wording, website placement and visibility of your pitches to readers to sign up.
At the Columbia Missourian, we tried — yet failed — to get a dramatic bump in newsletter subscriptions. Will our tactics work for you? The good news is that our email signups continued to grow, so our experiments didn’t cost anything but a little time. We were averaging a net gain of about 50 new subscribers a month. But the pace didn’t significantly increase from previous months after we made the email signup changes.
Why did we feel the need to switch? We felt that our email signup prompt was static and buried at the bottom of a rail of ads on the right side of our homepage.
“Sign up for newsletters” was the simple header with a link for readers to select which newsletters they wanted. The signup also came up as a prompt when a reader registered as a new user on the site.

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