In Q4 2015, a US manufacturer had the best quarter in the history of the company, both online and offline. When researching the main revenue growth drivers, we realized that the Cyber Monday Sale and Christmas Sale had contributed a lot to the record revenue results where the big and loyal newsletter list was used to deliver the promotional messages.

Since we had already worked for a year and prior newsletter design improvements, we realized that we could further improve brand loyalty and repeat sales by growing the newsletter list itself.

Turning more website visitors into newsletter subscribers

Many newsletters are purely a sales pitch but the company’s newsletter has a well above average the industry open rate as measured by MailChimp. The newsletter consisted of actionable expert articles and items on sale up to 80% off.

The questions we wanted to answer were:

  • Where would we find new newsletter subscribers?
  • What would be the most valuable sources of new newsletter subscribers?
  • In case seeing the newsletter helped, how could potential subscribers preview the newsletter?

We looked at the most important and frequent website workflows on the website. Based on my research, there were both recurring and one time sources of subscribers:

Recurring Sources One Time Sources
 •Shop checkout  •Former website shoppers
 •Website subscription module  •Current website shoppers
 •Forum registration  •Directory email database
 •Forum banner ad  •Existing CRM email database
 •Directory registration  •Employee email addressbooks
 •Facebook posts to fans  •Forum email database
 •LinkedIn posts to followers  •Customer survey email database
 •Ask an expert form  •Prospects who abandoned the shop checkout
 •Subscription module for employees who speak w/ customers over phone  


Designing an Advanced Newsletter Subscription Workflow

Executing the improvement:

a) Exhausting one time sources of newsletter sign ups

Using the list of one time subscription sources, we compiled a large database of contacts who did not sign up for the company newsletter and might have not even known about it. Then we sent them a one time but compelling offer, recommending them to sign up for the monthly newsletter. We completed the campaign in 2 batches. The initial promotion went to 20% of the email list. Following the successful test, we repeated the new promotion the following week with remaining 80% of the newsletter list.

When we summarized the email campaign, we were happy with the number of new email subscribers but also realized that we exhausted almost all value from our one time email database. The email campaign also generated additional shop revenue so we could show off some “real” results as well.

b) Maximizing on recurring sources of newsletter sign ups

Our web programmers and designers carefully updated all scoped workflows. We expected to see the biggest business impact from the most important and frequent workflows such as checkout process because many new and existing customers frequently use the checkout process.
For this improvement, we used the MailChimp newsletter service. And typically when you sign up for a newsletter, a subscriber always receives a confirmation message to confirm the subscription.
We felt that this second verification was not necessary during the checkout process so we did not implement it. On the other hand, we did implement the email validation on the forum and other places where we experienced spam submissions in the past.


Our objective was to increase the subscription rate twice. Instead we managed to increase it five times! Indirectly, the one time email promotion also helped increase sales and led to the best first quarter in the history of the company!


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