Nate Wright, founder of Small Biz Triage, saw the first step as taking a careful look at Moritz’s previous campaigns.
“We want to look at these campaigns in a historical context, because with someone who has seasonality tied into her business so tightly it becomes more critical to understand how she’s varying subject lines, content, length, and so on,” Wright says. “We know there will be higher sales seasonally. But do we also see good habits in place for the newsletter?”
In fact, they did see that Moritz was on the right path. Small Biz Triage embraces the philosophy that business owners should be approachable and responsive—part of what they describe as being “unapologetically human.” As it turned out, so did Moritz.
“Her subscribers were already happy to reply to her,” Rasmussen says. “She was doing that very well, giving people direct access. But the challenge then becomes how do you make sense of the feedback? When you’ve got tens of thousands of subscribers, a handful of replies is an awfully small population sample to base decisions on.”
To determine the right next steps, Wright and Rasmussen wanted more data.
Assume at your own peril
“People are fickle,” Wright says. “Using the same tactic over and over never works. But that said, we do have certain hard rules about how we do what we do.”
“The first rule is that we don’t assume anything about how your audience wants to interact with your emails,” Rasmussen says. “Everybody who hires us has done their homework. They’ve read posts and articles about best practices and used them to develop a strategy. And those are great things to try, absolutely—but you then have to measure it to determine if it actually worked.”
With a client like Moritz—one with an active, engaged subscriber list—there was already a lot of potentially helpful data available. Rasmussen was interested to see what converted, but he was equally curious to see click rates and reader behavior.
“I’m always interested to see where, within the newsletter, the clicks are occurring,” Rasmussen says. “If you hear from one reader that they don’t like something, but that same piece of content drove 75% of your clicks, you don’t listen to that one reader.”
Rasmussen and Wright particularly focused on data from click maps. These maps show precisely where, within a newsletter, a subscriber chooses to click—whether on an image, a button, or a link embedded in text.
“The great thing about having a click map is that we could show it to Jane and say, hey, here’s what people are actually engaging with,” Wright says. “It’s not something you could build into a spreadsheet, but when you dig into the behavior you can begin running tests to find the ideal layout for your newsletter—or the right blend of text, buttons, and images.”
Some of the data Small Biz Triage has gathered from click maps has been eye opening.
“We never use social media icons anymore—we know people don’t click on them,” Wright says. “A lot of clients push back on that, but we have the data to back it up. With Challah Connection, the only social media we use is the share icon, and we’re very deliberate about where we place it beneath the fold.”