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4 Pretty Pictures to Illustrate Impact of Email Newsletters on Traffic (and Social Bookmarking)

Today I was reading a post on CopyBlogger by Dean Rieck on the importance of using email to grow a blog and it struck me how many bloggers still don’t fully understand the power of email as a way to grow their blogs.

I’m not going to rehash all of the reasons why email marketing is worth adding to your blogging or even give tips on how to build a successful email newsletter – today I just want to illustrate with a couple of charts why I believe in email marketing.

DPS-Forum.png

What you see above (click to enlarge) is a screen shot of the Google Analytics area of the forum area of Digital Photography School (ie it doesn’t include the blog area’s traffic).

The stats go back for 6 weeks and you’ll notice that there is a nice weekly pattern going on in terms of rises and falls in traffic.

What causes the predictable rises in traffic each Thursday? Thursday is the day I send newsletters.

DPS-Forum-2.jpg

Each week a newsletter goes out to readers that simply contains a summary of the latest activity on the site. Interestingly – the newsletter only contains one link to the forum area – yet that one link is enough to come close to doubling traffic to the forum for that day.

But Wait, There’s More

OK – so the ability to drive regular traffic to your blog is one great reason to start an email newsletter for your blog – but today as I analyzed my blog’s stats I realized that there’s another reason.

Take a look at this chart. It shows traffic from Digg to the blog area of DPS since mid last year (click to enlarge).

DPS-Digg.png

OK – it’s a little hard to see a correlation between newsletters and Digg traffic from that graph – but what I noticed today is that the majority of my ‘Digg Events’ happen on the same days of the week. Let me show you (click to enlarge):

DPS-Digg-1.jpg

I’ve had 19 ‘Digg Events’ in this period and 16 of them have happened on a Thursday or a Friday (two of the others hit the front page on a Saturday).

Articles hit the front page of Digg every day of the week yet on my site they almost always fall on a Thursday or a Friday.

I send newsletters out to my readers on a Thursday morning.

Now I rarely mention Digg or any form of social bookmarking in my newsletters – but it seems to me that the newsletters are having an impact upon social bookmarking to me.

Further Reading on Email Marketing/Newsletters and how to use them Effectively:

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. How can you encourage people to join by email rather than by RSS?

    Thanks,
    Nate

  2. Unoblogger says:

    A great report… I will incorporate the same on my blog… Thanks Darren….

  3. Jamey Lucas says:

    That’s awesome. I hope to be at that point one day.

  4. That is great, social media has had a impact on most blogs, and how they got traffic.

  5. Mark Avey says:

    I can vouch for the power of Newsletters. I actually created mine a few months back because of the coverage here on ProBlogger and I wish I’d done it years ago.

    I’ve written an article on my findings at http://tinyurl.com/c3op3n

    I’ve found it to be THE most cost effective way of getting people to your site.

    Mark

  6. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    Currently I’m still using Free newsletter, Google Feedburner. Is it better to get a paid one like Aweber or GetResponse instead of Google Feedburner? I’ve yet to see the differences between all free and paid 1, I lack of this kind of knowledge. May do more research about this.

    Thanks Darren for the tips.

    Regards,
    Lee

  7. Manager says:

    Doeas Smashing Magazine style titles work? :)

  8. Alaina says:

    Hi Darren:

    Awesome post.

    One question though… what is the time spent on your site by people coming in through the e-mail? I think this is a huge piece of the puzzle.

    It also looks like your steady traffic isn’t increasing – so are the e-mail users just drive by’s or do they actually purchase something.

    How do the e-mails foster a long relationship?

    Would love to hear your answers on that. And also what’s the best WordPress plug-in to collect blog commenter e-mails?

  9. frank says:

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing your analysis! It seems simple – put together a newsletter that people can subscribe to and ensure it’s got good content in it that drive people back to your site.

    From the looks of it people still like eMail … possibly even over RSS :)

    http://twitter.com/franswaa

  10. Blog Expert says:

    That is pretty impressive. You really get a lot of traffic on newsletter days. Now I am sure everyone will start a newsletter.

  11. I am very much jealous about your numbers their Darren. Thanks for sharing the info ^_^

  12. Robin says:

    That was very eye opening. I have not put much effort into promoting sign-up on my site. Looks like I need to get rolling with that soon, so I’ll have someone to send e-mails to ;)

  13. Elja Trum says:

    Looks good!

    I’ve already added a newsletter to my blog after reading your earlier posts about it. The impact is rather small at the moment but the number of newsletter subscribers grow by the day and, I suppose, so will the traffic on newsletter-day.
    Thx!

  14. Thanks for the analytics on your news letter. I have just started my email list. I plan to test a couple different email tactics for driving traffic to my site.

    I use Aweber and I am very happy. It is pretty simple to use and if I run into a problem, they are helpful even if my questions are “duh”. They have good video tutorials.

    Sheila

  15. Darren

    That is awesome! You are correct – I knew emails were great as a sales tool but never realized just how much they affect traffic.

    Thanks man!

  16. Hi Darren,I have been receiving your daily e-mails for awhile now and want to know how you send those?I have a feedburner account and can’t find how you do that.I am in the weight loss,obesity niche and would love to send great looking e-mails like this to my list.How do I do that.Thanks for sharing all your knowledge.My wife and I are learning from you everyday.
    Pierre from the THEE QUEST team of Pierre & Pierrette

  17. Seth says:

    Reports are a visual way to really say a lot! Thanks for the information…

    So I have noticed the importance of email subscriptions in just my own use of emails. Every time I get an email from a favorite blog, I check it out!

    Question: Is it better to email the full article or just summaries? What turns over the most visitors?

  18. Ferodynamics says:

    Why not Friday morning?

    Do you think the newsletter helps you build momentum for a day in order to go viral for Friday, while people are still at the office with their computer going, but not working very hard? Are your readers weekend warriors, or full-timers?

    My biggest day is usually Monday, it slowly fades off from there, I think because people rest over the weekend and they have extra energy to surf on Monday, then the week grinds them down and I hit my lows around Friday/Sat when they are out having fun, recharging, sleeping, etc. It’s just a theory ;-)

  19. Thanks for this report. I have implemented a tool to get email however, no one has signed up. I guess now I have to learn how to get people signed up.

  20. Enough said. I’m convinced that I need to actively seek subscribers to my newsletter. Thanks for the post.

  21. John says:

    I run an entertainment site geared towards men…tech, sports, hot women etc…I don’t see a way to incorporate a newsletter into a site like this. The site generates nearly 2 million page views monthly so it has a base to support something.
    Any ideas??????

    JP

  22. Interesting analysis. I’m subscribed to plenty of different newsletters around the internet world, which all primarily use textual newsletters. I know some emails disable images but that doesn’t entirely keep me from wanting to make a visually appealing newsletter that stands out. So, would you vote against newsletters that include images?

    Opinions welcomed..

  23. Bash Bosh says:

    Yup, very nice report indeed!
    I specially like traffic numbers and really detailed explanations!

  24. Awesome! I’d like to get that traffic volume.

  25. impressive traffic numbers ! i wish a had that much of traffic, any tips ?

  26. Dental Pro. says:

    Great report Darren. Thank You. I am totally motivated.

  27. Good Report. The newsletters and email campaigns are pretty working and good.

    Imran.
    http://www.EarnByWriting.com

  28. Phamen says:

    Very interesting Darren. But how to collect emails froom reader to send them newsletters?

    Or we collect their email from feeds subcribers?

  29. Ganesh says:

    Very nice illustration.

    I think yours being a weekly newsletter, the impact is more visible.

    If it had been a daily newsletter, the takes would have been less.

  30. Ecko says:

    Having strong readership is still my biggest dream.
    Could you write the tips and tricks to get more subscribers?
    Thanks.

  31. ITrush says:

    Very impressive, hope to have that kind of numbers too.

  32. vastblogger says:

    your absolutely right,i always use my email newsletter to get more traffic to my indonesian blog

  33. If you have a high reputation and an effective downline of contacts, then those methods of marketing will work. Otherwise, it might even lower your traffic.

    -Mike

  34. Well such long buildings always fascinates me and I always want that such high rises building should be there for long purpose.

    Now I have clicked on how to create news letter and want to see some good tips.

  35. Darren,

    It appears that email newsletters are going well for you when it comes to bringing traffic to your blogs. I tried the email newsletter thing before and it did not bring in the kind of results that I was going for. That could also have something to do with the number of subscribers that I was sending the newsletter out to, which was very, very small.

    I just did not get into the whole newsletter thing much and it seemed like extra work for something that brought in little or no return on my investment of time and eventually money. If the author of a newsletter does not find the newsletter itself worthwhile, then the readers probably won’t either and I think that may be the type of tone that I set when sending those items out.

    Building a larger RSS and email subscriber list to my blog may be a better feat than a separate email newsletter. I am glad to notice that it can work well for other blog authors though. Your results are inspirational in that it shows that email newsletters can help bloggers build a larger audience.

    Good post!

  36. Kayla says:

    Email marketing has always sounded like a good idea, but I never feel as though I have time to get a newsletter going, let alone keep up with it.

    Perhaps it should be something I start seriously thinking about.

  37. Michael says:

    Great Article, awesome read – preach to my clients all the time that nothing can replace the power of a well written and engaging newsletter

  38. Darren Rowse says:

    Alaina – the email visitors are staying on the site a little longer than normal visitors – partly because many of them are not just visiting one of the links that I promote on the site but numerous per visit.

    In terms of the traffic not increasing – actually it is. It’s hard to tell in the first two graphs above as they only stretch back a couple of months but we’re seeing traffic grow by 10-20% per month over the last 12 months.

    Lastly – in terms of how email builds r’ships, it certainly seems to be. I have a very low unsubscribe rate and get emails from subscribers if I am late or don’t send one on a given week. Many readers seem to love them.

    Pierre – the daily emails are sent via Feedburner who offer the chance to send your RSS via email.

    Ferodynamics – I’ve never thought through the day I’ve sent it too much – I send them that day because I have time that day.

    Affiliate Funnel System – I use images in mine, being a photography site I thought it was important to have visuals :-)

    Phamen – I use Aweber which is a newsletter service that allows you to put a little email form in your site to collect the email addresses.

  39. Tumblemoose says:

    I’ve been so reluctant to start the newsletter thing. I understand the results thing, I guess maybe I’m concerned about having good content (writing *news*?) Sometimes I have a difficult enough time coming up with quality blog posts.

    George

  40. Dalton Hurd says:

    @Nate

    I don’t think that’s the point he’s really trying to make. It’s the fact that people either 1. don’t have an e-mail newsletter, 2. don’t update it enough, or 3. don’t put much emphasis on it, because they see it as useless.

    Your efforts shouldn’t be switching all of your RSS viewers to e-mail newsletters, but spicing the newsletter up, posting as much as possible, and making it worth subscribing to. Doing that will give you the best results from a newsletter, and getting more traffic from it.

  41. A really great post and after reading this I am thinking of sending regular newsletters. Thanks Darren.

    Mohammad Afaq
    Free Website Traffic

  42. Melody Campbell, The Small Business Guru says:

    I have noticed the same thing (except on a much small scale) that when an email goes out, the traffic to my blog goes up and though I rarely end up on Digg, I do get lots of great Tweets about posts.

    Personally what I think happens is that the newsletter, ezine or email updates are one more way to build a relationship and loyalty with readers. The more interactions created the more loyalty…and yes, of course it does depend on the quality of those interactions.

    When you add email to the mix and end up in their inbox that’s like a “home visit” – you’ve come into their space. When they read you on your blog or even in their RSS feed reader – it’s them coming into your space. IMHO

  43. Brandon Eley says:

    The e-commerce industry has known this for years (I own several e-commerce businesses). The spikes are even larger for most of our stores, sometimes doubling traffic on the days we send email newsletters. The newsletters generally have new content (new products on the site, special promotions, etc) so that may explain why the traffic spike is larger than for just a blog digest.

    Still, email marketing is an extremely powerful way to drive traffic to any website. eROI is a great resource for email marketing stats and information — such as when is the best time to send to B2C versus B2B etc — http://eroi.com (not affiliated with them in any way).

  44. sarah mae says:

    Can anyone suggest a good FREE email newsletter service? The one Darren mentioned is “on ice.”

  45. Great article Darren, I’ve also found that Thursday mornings is a great time to send out newsletters on a regular basis. Monday mornings works too if sent between 1am and 4 am so that it is sitting in peoples inbox when they get to work.

    I’d like to see you round out this article by disclosing how much of the daily traffic is from search as well, perhaps show a natural search graph covering the same period? I’ve noticed a pattern of Google sending more traffic as well during “spikes” of interest like this because services like Google Trends picks up the activity and promotes your site in a few more places too. That all gets credited as search traffic.

  46. diabetic says:

    great evaluation…..newsletter is powerful weapon, thanks for suggest the link

  47. Email marketing is getting too much nowadays. How many real read all email anymore. Email marketing is more misused then used.