It's hard to believe it's been just over a year since I introduced premium content to my newsletter. In that time period, I also switched (last fall) from a monthly publication to a weekly publication, making the reminders of premium content even more visible. Let's see what the data looks like now, one year later.

Some notes about the data. This comes directly from my mailing list, with hard bounces removed, for a total of 12,152 entries on a list that is now over 5 years old. We're looking only at data from the period 3/4/10-present, which is 7,301 entries.

If you recall, premium content subscribers of my newsletter get premium status by completing their full name, title, and company in their newsletter subscription. No financial exchange is required, just personal information. In the data below, you will see the number of fields that were completed, from 0 to 4. Email address is implied since they can't be on the list without one.

In the year prior to premium content, 3/4/10-3/3/11, the number of profiles with completed profile information:

Microsoft Excel

As you can see, the vast majority of profiles have no information at all, just an email address.

In the year after premium content, 3/4/11-3/3/12, the number of profiles with completed profile information:

Microsoft Excel

The tables have turned with premium content. Now the vast majority of profiles have some kind of personal information, and a majority have complete information.

As we talked about in previous posts, premium content folks have a higher propensity to come back and update their profiles, as well as do activities that are important, such as open and click on emails. Those other numbers are largely unchanged; the behaviors remain strongly positive. What I want to tackle instead is the question of whether frequency matters for premium content and getting people to update their profiles.

Let's take a look at the completion rate of the list while it was a monthly newsletter, from the period of June 15, 2011 to October 30, 2011:

Microsoft Excel

And weekly, from October 30, 2011 to today:

Microsoft Excel

Putting the newsletter in front of people with premium content in it more frequently does have a slightly increased response rate for profile completeness, a difference of just under 3%. More important, it nudges people with 3 counts over into the 4 count category as well as getting people from the 0 count into higher levels of completion.

So, a year later, should you be using premium content in your newsletters? If you value participation, if you value completeness in your subscriber information, then you should absolutely be using premium content. The differences in list quality are staggering when you give people an incentive to participate and exchange value.

If you'd like to see the premium content in action yourself, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter here.


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