Just because something's working fine, doesn't mean it can't be even better.
My online marketing software company, VerticalResponse, sends out an information-packed newsletter every week to our customers and prospects. It's called the VR Buzz and it goes out to over 300,000 people. Every issue features content from our blogs and also any promotions we might have going on. We've been doing this for years and it's a great way to stay top of mind and provide ongoing value to our current and potential customers.
About a year and a half ago, we totally redesigned the VR Buzz so that it matched our newly redesigned website. We also created multiple versions of the Buzz--nine, actually!--so that subscribers receive a different version based on where they are in the marketing lifecycle.
For example, in the "leads" version (sent to people who haven't signed up for a free VerticalResponse account), we might have an ad that encourages them to trial our product. In the "conversions" version (sent to people who already have a free account), we might swap out that ad block with one that gives them a discount.
The newsletter content changes sometimes too; subscribers in our "conversions" bucket, for example, might get more tips on how to get started with social media or email marketing since we know they have a free trial account.
The new VR Buzz performed great, consistently bringing in high open and click-through rates.
So we changed it.
That's right, we gave it a fresh new look just a couple of months ago. I'll call it VR Buzz version 3.0 for our purposes here.
Why change something that was performing so well?
Well, I'm a strong believer that just because something's working, doesn't mean it can't be even better. You can't innovate if you're okay with the status quo.
VR Buzz version 3.0 is a whole lot cleaner and looks more like a real newsletter. Here are some of the changes we made:
- Added a table of contents at the very top, so people know what's in the email right away - Gave the VR Buzz logo a more modern, updated look - Created double columns (we used to have just one long column), so that readers can see multiple articles before they have to start scrolling down - Increased the sizes of images - Removed redundant headlines that didn't link to anything - Added a sign-up button at the bottom
And the results? So far, so good! Our open rates shot up even higher than before, and click-through rates increased almost 50 percent. Best of all, our revenue from VR Buzz version 3.0 increased 24 percent.
So what's the lesson here? Even if you think something's working just fine, it can always be improved. Whether it's your website or the events you sponsor or your customer service processes (check out my blog post, Customer Service Pop Quiz: Be Your Own Customer), don't be afraid to make changes and try something new. It can equal big results!
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick