When I speak to business owners and clients who want to produce a better email newsletter, they generally start by complaining about their low open rates. Some of them blame the industry standards for open rates (insurance and real estate, mostly). Others blame their inconsistent delivery times: “Our monthly email goes out every six-to-eight weeks.” A few admit their newsletters are just plain boring.
To a certain extent, they’re all correct.
You can’t control the fact that some people aren’t interested in reading your newsletter based on your industry. If you sell life insurance and your open rate is hovering around 20%, you’re in good company. But you can control when you send your email newsletter and what you put in it. You can buck the industry standard for opens with a little creativity. If people are deleting your newsletter but not unsubscribing from your list, you’ve still got a chance to get them reading it.
Here’s what you’re doing now that’s causing your customers to delete your email newsletter — and what you can do to change it.
1. You bought a list. That was a bad idea. You paid for a list of emails to send to people who never asked you to email them. That’s called spam and it’s not OK. Any reputable email platform requires an
opt-in for list-building. So people who never asked for your newsletter are deleting it? Good for them! The solution? Build your email list from people you’ve already met. Ask people at networking events if you can add them. Place an opt-in form on your blog, landing page or website footer. Offer them great information in the form of a blog, article, white paper or case study and they will be more likely to give you their email information in return. Finally, trash the spam list you bought and chalk the loss up to experience.
2. Your subject line is truly uninspired. “News from Joe’s Moving Company” won’t get many readers to open your newsletter, but intriguing lines like “Sorority Moving Day Video” or “Veteran Homecoming and Relocation” might spark some interest. Be creative and daring. You can’t get them to see great content until they click and open your email.
3. Your 80/20 rule is backward. The 80/20 rule for newsletters or social media content simply states that you should have 80% informational content vs. 20% promotional. If your newsletter contains five items, only one should be about your products and services. The rest should be helpful, informative, fun content that keeps readers opening your emails every month (or however frequently you send them).
4. Your design is bad and the text is hard to read. Newsletters that have no images, are poorly designed or have too much text will stop your readers in their tracks. It’s your job to present clear information in small doses that inform without overwhelming. If your newsletter is unattractive, hire a graphic designer to create a beautiful, branded template for your company.
5. Your content is too general. This is why so many of my clients rely on me to help them brainstorm topics. If all you do is write about your products and services, you’ll be redundant by your third newsletter. Then the deleting and unsubscribing will start. Better to take tiny aspects of your business and write about them, rather than tackling general topics. Remember, keep it about your customers, not about you. (See the 80/20 rule above.)
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