Re: Tracking newsletter open rates

From: John Smart <>
Date: Thu 25 Jul 2002 15:16:24 -0500

Dejan Bizinger <> wrote:

>I think that there is no need to complicate things. Simply treat
>your HTML newsletter like your web site. So, how do you see how much
>visitors you get on your web site? With counters. So, simply put
>counter code in your newsletter and you will see how many people read
>your newsletter, but not precisely. I agree with Mr. Pesach Lattin
>that "Realistic open rates are impossible to know". Many people don't
>read email while they are online. They get new emails and read them
>offline. So, I don't know how you can track in that case.

Following this is indeed an issue. There are two ways that can be used to
get a more accurate view. First of all the images. To keep all of our stats
separate we crated a sub-domain ( All
the images are in there, and when I look at the stats for that sub domain I
get a very clear image (no pun intended) of usage.

However, that does not help track the off-line readers. The next method is
split into two. If I wanted to promote hosting services, instead of linking
to the hosting page ( I would put a
unique link in ( And
finally, sometimes we have to work with people, not with software! Put a
different "code" in each e-Mail, and offer a discount, or a chance to win
something, if the code is used. Bribery is a wonderful tool (oops, sorry,
"Marketing strategy" - not "Bribery"! :o)).

I do think looking at this from the other side is worth doing. Namely, how
do you get people to sign up? Sure, if they come to your site, they can
enter their name and e-Mail, but they have already been to your site. Whilst
it is important to get them back, it is possibly more important to get new

"Spam" - in its basic form is simply wrong. It's more advanced form is just
too much hassle with too many problems. A case in point:
A couple of years ago we launched our Designer Network. This is a part of
our site where we will list any company that does web design or promotion -
be it a full spectrum of services, or as specific as "Flash Banners". We
went through the search engines, found sites, added them, sent a form mail
to the owner of the site saying we had done this and could they either ask
us to take them down, or let us know if they wanted the description changed.
It was made clear that it was a free service - they didn't owe us any money.
When they went to the site, it showed how they could pay ($5 a month as I
recall) to include images and other goodies, but it was made very clear that
they didn't have to do this.

Through very hard work we sent out about 4,000 e-Mails. I got about 20
replies that were complaining - one that threatened me, and one that had
more swear words in one sentence than I have ever seen before or after! A
complaint was filed with my ISP, and another with the Co-Location house we
were using. So I am a little against sending out any form of unsolicited
mail. So how do I promote my mailers?

There should be an online resource of just mailing lists (I remember one
from a few years ago - maybe its still there). Perhaps we could launce a
team effort here? It seems to me that this list has some of the best
promoters and coders, as well as a lot of "wannabes" (I am firmly in the
latter group!).

Why don't we launch such a service - a domain that could be a testing ground
for web site promotion, a database of mailing lists that all mailing lists
could post to, and even its own mailing list, stating what is new each
month. I can donate the web space to the cause, and will happily work on the
coding (how about a voting system too?!?!) - the more I think about this,
the more I think it could be well worth doing.

I look forward to seeing where this thread goes - and if anyone wants to
join me on this idea, let me know - for I am quite serious about this.

John Smart
Technical Director
A Human Touch in a Digital World (TM)

Received on Thu Jul 25 2002 - 15:16:24 CDT


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