How to Track Newsletter Readers

How to Track Newsletter Readers

By Ann O'Brien | May 1, 2021

Just because your newsletter readers aren’t reading your content online doesn’t mean you can’t track who’s reading and following up as a result. In fact, with the right methods, much of your tracking can take place online. Or not—as you’ll see below, it’s completely up to you!

As you read on, keep in mind that these methods are not a reflection of your total readers. Remember that at any given time, only 4% of consumers require your services; it’s unrealistic to expect to see 50-100% of your newsletter readerss following up with you each month. Instead, use the methods below as a point of comparison with your other marketing strategies or as a way to confirm that your newsletter is indeed being read. In turn, for the readers who are ready to make an appointment, these tracking methods are an ideal way to “seal the deal”.

Include Exclusive Codes for Newsletter Readers

One very simple way to track readership is to provide a gift or discount code that stays exclusive to your newsletter, just as you might already be doing with digital ads and other marketing methods. If you’ve never incorporated codes, your POS should be able to track their frequency and even compare these codes with tracking methods you’re using on social media and Google AdWords. Talk to your web developer about including a special code section with your website if you don’t already have one.

There are several simple ways to track your readership code:

  • If you have an online appointment setting feature, ask readers to mention the code in the comments section (or ask your web developer to create a special section for codes).
  • If you have a “Contact Us” form on your website that asks visitors to provide their email and phone number for a call back, encourage newsletter readers to include their code in the comments box.
  • Ask your readers to simply mention the code when they call to make an appointment. To make sure they don’t forget, have your team ask clients and prospects at the time of appointment if they read your newsletter. If they do, chances are, they’ll remember there’s a code. Tip: Don’t be a stickler for the exact code. After all, if they acknowledge reading your newsletter and recall seeing “something about a code”, you’ve got your answer.


If you aren’t into using codes and prefer to collect something more tangible, including a coupon in your newsletter is yet another easy way to inquire just how much business you’re getting from it. The key here of course is to keep the coupon exclusive to your newsletter readers. However you decide to track these coupons is up to you. Just remember that many people are no longer in the habit of cutting coupons. As a result, you may get clients and prospects who remember seeing your coupon but forgot to bring it with them. Assuming you give them the benefit of the doubt (which we highly recommend), you may want to incorporate an alternative tracking method or have a back-up plan, even if it means keeping extra paper copies of your coupon on hand for this specific purpose.

Give Other Newsletter Incentives

Not every business has a website is that’s set up for tracking codes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer other incentives to track just how many clients are carefully reading your newsletter. You might include a simple “Mention this newsletter and receive __________________ during your next visit” in large bold font along the bottom or top of your newsletter. Just make sure your team has a way to keep track of these mentions. If you require clients to sign-in when they visit, add an extra column to your sign-in sheet that asks whether they read your newsletter.

Include Your Newsletter in Your Referral Options

You probably have at least one way of asking new clients and prospects how they heard about you, whether you have employees ask them outright during the time of service or you have a pop-up feature on your website or a follow-up email survey. Be sure to include “Printed Newsletter” in your list of “How Did You Hear About Us?” options. You can even include a newsletter question in your survey, such as “Do You Read Our Monthly Newsletter?”

Include a Unique URL for Newsletter Readers

If you’re mentioning a service in your newsletter, consider creating a unique landing page that’s exclusive to newsletter readers so you can track the number of visits. Remember that because the format is print and your readers will have to directly type in the URL, keep it fairly simple and stick to phrases rather than complicated characters and numbers. Keep in mind that your readers might be tempted to just type in your main URL, where they may see a slider or link that takes them to the main URL, rather than the newsletter URL. For that reason, be sure to offer them a special incentive to visit the URL that you’ve specifically designated for them.

Don’t Discount Your Social Media and Blog Followers as “Newsletter” Readers

If you’re using your newsletter content on your blog and social media pages, don’t forget to track readers for the blogs and posts that used your newsletter content; in fact, you might notice a significant spike in blog readership for the blogs that specifically pull from your newsletter. If you share your blog on social media, those readers will simply click on the link to your blog and will already be configured in your number of views. If you aren’t tracking your blog readership, you should be—just add your blog URL to your Google Analytics and start watching for trends.

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