You’re either writing up newsletters to send to clients on a regular basis, or you have a stellar content marketer handling it for you.
You’re using all the tricks to grow your subscriber list and it’s working. You’ve got more people signing up for your newsletter every day!
Things are looking pretty good until you look at the open rate.
Only about a quarter of your subscribers are actually opening your emails.
What are you doing wrong? Why aren’t they opening the emails they asked to receive?
Lower Your Expectations
First of all, make sure your expectations are realistic. Obviously it would be ideal if all your followers opened every one of your emails, but that rarely, if ever, happens.
The average open rate for newsletters is only around 30%. If you use a service like MailChimp, it tells you what the average open rate is for your industry. For my industry, it’s about 26% and I’m fortunate that most of my emails have a slightly higher open rate than that.
Rework Your Subject Line
This part will probably take some A/B testing before you find out what works best for your audience. No one is going to open an email without a subject line that grabs their attention and makes them feel the need to open it right away – it has to be right away, because if they don’t open it as soon as they see it, chances are they won’t open it, which leads me to my next point.
Timing is Everything
This will probably also require some A/B testing, but try to send your email at a time when you know it’s most likely to be opened. Is your newsletter going primarily to office email accounts? Then send it during normal working hours.
Again, MailChimp will tell you when people are opening your emails. I tend to send mine around mid-late morning and they’re usually opened shortly after they’re sent – either lunch time or early afternoon. After about 3pm opens taper off and I don’t think I get any opens after the day it was sent.
The day you send your email also matters. Mondays tend to be hectic for a lot of people as they start gearing up for the week, so depending on which email your newsletter is going to, you might be better off sending it later in the week or even over the weekend.
As with all content marketing, building a loyal newsletter following is all about providing value and building trust. If your subscribers know you provide them with quality content they can use every week or month, then they’ll keep opening your emails.
Don’t Give Up
It’s easy to get discouraged when you see only a handful of people are opening the newsletters you worked so hard on – or worse, unsubscribing, but it’s important not to lose hope. With a few simple tests, you can increase the percentage of people who open your emails, but remember there’s only so much you can do. There will always be subscribers who don’t open your emails and you’re just going to have to come to terms with that.
As for unsubscribers, don’t think of them as evidence of your failure – think of it as feedback. If you find certain subjects tend to result in higher unsubscribe rates, then consider staying away from that topic. If the topic doesn’t seem to make a difference, consider the frequency of your emails. Sending too many emails can turn some people off, while not sending them often enough can result in people forgetting who you are and if/why they signed up for your newsletter.
Alternatively, you can think of unsubscribers as paring down your following, which can be a good thing. Your message won’t be for everyone and if someone realizes it’s not for them, it’s not a bad thing for them to opt out of receiving that message. As those subscribers leave, you’ll be left with your ideal following – one in which everyone is excited about what you have to say and wants to hear more.
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