Advice from a legacy publisher: How to boost your email strategy
Here are some impressive numbers for you:
- 25 million unique users per month
- 21 years in business
- 15% of revenue driven from email advertising
- 11 different subscriber and newsletter offerings
- 4 million subscribers reached each day
These are the stats behind Horoscope.com, the largest astrology media company in the world – and one of the biggest email senders in the media industry, according to Josh Jaffe, general manager of the site.
In a recent Real Time Banter, we caught up with Jaffe to get his tips for building and boosting a successful email strategy.
If you haven’t built your email operation yet, it isn’t too late – but you do have to start now.
“If you don’t have an email newsletter strategy, to me, that’s publisher malpractice,” Jaffe said. “You’ve got to start to build that direct relationship with your users. Figure out what you can send to them on a regular basis and get that going.”
Don’t set it and forget it
Still, just starting an email strategy isn’t enough. You also have to tend to that strategy and optimize it regularly.
“There’s a tendency to set it and forget it,” Jaffe said. “You start to say, ‘Okay, we’ve got the newsletters set up. We’ve got layouts, ad placements, and ad strategies. But it’s really important to assess what you are optimizing for.”
For example, you might optimize for revenue, engagement, opens, or clicks. And, as Jaffe said, “That’s going to change over time depending on your business’s specific goals. So it’s really important.”
Test new ideas
Since email provides first-party data from direct audience relationships, it’s a prime channel for testing new content and strategies with your audience.
“What I love about email is that you can use it as a Petri dish for experimentation,” Jaffe said. “If you’re a publisher thinking about exploring an adjacent topic, you don’t need to go through the process of setting up a new website or spending a lot of dev time. All you need is a writer or some source of content and you can promote that to your existing users and send it out via email newsletter.”
If your ideas gain traction, you can continue to build them out. If they don’t, you can just move on to the next idea.
“We’ve done this in the past, and there’s been wonderful learnings,” Jaffe said. “That’s a great thing about email: It’s lightweight to get started.”
Find your rallying cry
Like all publishers, Horoscope.com was hit hard by the pandemic, which brought sudden and major changes in traffic and user behavior. Jaffe’s team stayed motivated and on track by finding their rallying cry.
“For us, it’s about helping our users find more community,” Jaffe said. “Let’s learn more about virtual events and connecting them with our editors and astrologers. We’ll be doing that with our subscription offering soon.”
This is also a valuable strategy for keeping teams connected across the company.
“It’s great because everyone gets around it – editorial, operations, marketing, engineering, product,” Jaffe said. “So you aren’t just positioning your company to be stronger when you come out of this turmoil, you’re also bringing your teams together and improving morale. That rallying cry has really worked for us.”