How to Mine Your Data to Know What Your Readers Want to Read

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What if the next time you pressed “Send” to your list, you knew for a fact that they’re about to open and click like crazy and love you more for it?

It’s not only possible; it’s unavoidable in the best way when you know how to mine your list for hidden clues about what your readers crave from you.

Why is this important?

When you know what your audience is craving, you can easily write more of it.

You can make more blog posts to establish trust and credibility on the topics they care most about. You can tweak your offerings to give them even more of what they want. You can also write sales copy that resonates with them, show them how your offering is going to genuinely satisfy their craving, and move them effortlessly towards the purchase.

Not only can you write more of what your readers crave, you can stop writing about things they don’t care as much about. Cutting out the fluff “purifies” your brand anddeepens their trust and resonance with you.

When you only create posts, offerings, and sales sequences that speak potently and resonantly with what your readers crave, you deepen your relationship with them. And doing that, deepening that relationship, is the only way to have a sustainable business with a healthy, stable, growing bottom line.

That’s what I’m going to show you today: 3 steps to effectively mine your newsletter list data for the most valuable insights that will help you fortify your positioning, deepen your appeal, and fatten up your bottom line.

Step 1: Make your Data Mining spreadsheet.

The first step in mining your data is gathering it in a cohesive, easily decipherable way.

Here’s how you do that:

  1. Make a simple Data Mining spreadsheet like this:

data mining via ConvertKit

Or just go into the template I built for you right here and go to File > Make A Copy.

 

  1. Go into your email service provider to the Broadcasts section, so you can see what emails you’ve sent and what the open, click, and unsubscribe rates are.

data mining with ConvertKit

  1. Copy the data for your last 25-50 newsletter sends into your Data Mining spreadsheet.
  1. Click the Column C dropdown, and choose “Order from Z → A.” This will show you your highest click-through rates, or CTRs.

data mining with ConvertKit

  1. Bold your top 5, and italicize your bottom 5 to earmark them for analyzing further in Step 2.
  1. Do the same with Column B, which will show you your highest open rates. Order from Z → A, and bold your top 5 while italicizing your bottom 5.
  1. Finally, do the same with Column D, your unsubscribes, except this time, choose “Order from A → Z” from the drop-down since less is more when it comes to unsubscribes. Bold your top 5 (least amount of unsubscribes) while italicizing your bottom 5 (biggest amount of unsubscribes).

It’s as easy as that. It’s literally just gathering and organizing data so you’re all ready for Step 2.

Step 2: Mine your data for common themes in content and delivery.

Now that you have all your data organized in one place, it’s time to pick up your shovel and straighten your headlamp. We’re going mining!

There are two main factors we’ll be considering as we mine: your content and your delivery. All your open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes come down to those two factors.

Let’s apply these factors as we mine for data in your open rates:

Your open rates are the simplest of all the factors to analyze. Why? Because it’s the least amount of input to get a result.

The only factors present in open rate are the content and delivery of your subject line, and the delivery days and times as well. That’s it!

Content Influencing Open Rate:

Was there something different aboutthe topic of your subject line for your highest open rates?

For example, if you’re teaching online business, are your subject lines with the highest opens about content marketing, creating products, hiring and managing a team, or something else?

Delivery Influencing Open Rate:

Was there something different aboutthe structure of your subject line for your highest open rates?

For example, here are a few format structures you might be using:

  • Listicle format like “5 Ways to X”
  • How-to format like “How to X”  
  • Personal shares like “Why I cried when X”
  • Brief and casual format like “Hey, thought you might like this”
Alex at Groove representing the Listicle and How-to formats.
Alex at Groove representing the Listicle and How-to formats.

 

Ramit Sethi at I Will Teach You To Be Rich representing the Personal Share format.
Ramit Sethi at I Will Teach You To Be Rich representing the Personal Share format.

 

Frank Kern at The Future of Internet Marketing representing the Casual format.
Frank Kern at The Future of Internet Marketing representing the Casual format.

 

Now let’s consider these same two factors as we mine your click-through rates:

When it comes to your click-through rates, your readers could have already been excited just from the email subject alone, or you could have won them over in your email copy.

For example, if your click-through rate was really high compared to a lower open rate, let’s say 10% CTR on a 25% open whereas usually it takes a 35% open for you to get that kind of 10% CTR, that means your email copy this time around was very compelling.

If your click-through rate was high because your open rate was high, that says more about your subject line being compelling. Now let’s explore further, making notes in Column E about what you notice as you go.

Delivery Influencing Click-Through Rate:

Was there something different aboutthe way you organized the body of your newsletter for your highest click-through rates?

For example, was it longer or shorter than usual? Was the link at a different place in the copy, or were there more or less links? Were your paragraphs longer or shorter? What was your opening line?

data mining at ConvertKit

Notice the subject line about flirting and reading women, and how the email opens with an emotional question.

Content Influencing Click-Through Rate:

Was there something different aboutwhat you said in the body of your newsletter for your highest click-through rates?

For example, did you share more of a personal story? Did you share a reader quote or a question that your post would answer? Did you have a special P.S. that was different than your normal ones? What content was different?

data mining at ConvertKit

Note how the email continues seamlessly into the clearly linked blog post and ends with an anticipatory P.S..

Finally, let’s mine for data in your unsubscribes:

A lot of factors play into your unsubscribes, and someone could have been considering unsubscribing for awhile and just happened to do it in that particular email.

So it doesn’t always say a ton about that email, which is why we’re just looking at the highest and lowest instances of unsubscribes to see what clues we can find.

Content Influencing Unsubscribe Rate:

Was there something different aboutyour subject line topic or the content of the newsletter body that may have contributed to lower unsubscribes?

Now that you’ve analyzed open and click-through-rate factors, you can start to see where you may have had more unsubscribes. What do you think influenced that, given what you’ve already found?

Delivery Influencing Unsubscribe Rate:

Was there something different aboutyour subject line structure or the structure of the newsletter body that may have contributed to lower unsubscribes?

Same thing here. What did you notice in your open rates and click-through-rates that may correspond to unsubscribes?

In all these factors, are you seeing a theme yet?

Are there certain topics or subject line structures that seem to get more opens, certain ways of writing your emails that tend to get higher open-rates, or any patterns you notice that tend to keep your readers happily subscribed and engaged?

For example, here’s what I found in my data:

I email my guys about how to attract women naturally as introverted men.

In terms of content, I’ve found the open and click like crazy on anything related to deciphering what women want and how to read women well, especially in the realms of touch and physical escalation.

One of my most successful emails, the example I used in the screenshots above.
One of my most successful emails, the example I used in the screenshots above.

In terms of delivery, their #1 favorite is home blog posts. They love those. If I have a guest post, the CTR is a bit lower. I can still link to guest posts as long as I know that when I do, my response is generally going to be lower than when I send out a link to a new home blog post.

Does this help jog your own thought process about your own data findings? Write your thoughts and observations on your Data Mining spreadsheet or a separate doc.

Now that you’ve formed some hypotheses about the kind of content and delivery that your readers crave, it’s time to test those hypotheses!

Step 3: Test and refine.

Now that you’ve formed some thoughts on patterns you’ve noticed in your content and delivery across open rates, CTRs, and unsubscribes, it’s time to put them to work.

Make your next newsletter as compelling as possible using the info you gathered and the hypotheses you formed. Aim to top your best, and analyze and debrief afterwards.

When you do, you’ll get to prove or disprove aspects of what you tried this time so you can continually integrate and test newer, more crystallized insights.

At the end of the day, your readers are telling you a lot, and now you know how to listen.

When you listen well, you can communicate even better, and it becomes an upward spiral of listening to their cravings, satisfying them, and listening for more, satisfying those, and so forth in a continuous, symbiotic, evolving relationship.

Next: Get to work on that Data Mining spreadsheet, and let us know what you find out in the comments!  

 

This guest post comes from Sarah Jones, a leader in providing dating advice to introverted men and the founder of Introverted Alpha. In this post, Sarah takes you behind the scenes of her ConvertKit strategy to show you how you can put data to work in your business and find the details you need to succeed just like she has. 

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