April 25, 2008
Do you know the open rate for your email newsletter? The open rate is the percentage of people who actually open and read your newsletter. Most better email distribution programs can give you fairly detailed statistics about your open rate, including the percentage that opened the broadcast, the links that they clicked on (called click-throughs), the specific subscribers who opened the ezine, and in some cases, info about which issues were forwarded to others.
A good open rate is considered to be 30-40%, which means that between 30 and 40% of your list is actually reading your broadcast. That number mean seem disappointing, as you want everyone on your list to read your ezine. Unfortunately, a 100% open rate will probably never happen for most of us, as most people are simply too busy to pay close attention to the bulk of email that they receive.
If you’re using your ezine as your “stay in touch” device for your email list as the way your prospects get to like, know and trust you so that you’ll be the top of mind person they contact when they are ready to fix the problem that ails them, then you want to ensure that as many of them as possible open your ezine when it arrives. It’s a crowded world out there in the world of email newsletters and can be difficult to make yours stand out above the rest.
Here are 5 strategies you can use to increase the open rate of your ezine:
1. Publish regularly. Your list needs to be accustomed to hearing from you, so publishing on a regular schedule is important. Many studies have been done to determine the “best” day to send an email broadcast, and as soon as a bunch of email marketers follow those guidelines, then the days change again according to another study. In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter what day you choose to publish — just do it the same time every time. The more frequently you publish (preferably weekly), the more quickly your list will get to know you.
2. Personalize your ezine headline and body. What happens when you see your name in an email? You look at it, don’t you? That’s why it’s so important to use the customization features in your email broadcast program to insert your recipient’s first name in the subject line and in the body of the email. Many readers aren’t savvy to the world of Internet marketing strategies, so they think that you’ve crafted an email solely for them. And, of course, to personalize the broadcast, you need to request both a name and an email address when someone signs up for your list.
3. Create a compelling subject line. A great subject line (or headline) is just like a book cover — it will make people curious/compelled to open the email, or not. The subject lines that get the highest open rate are consistent, or are formatted in the same way each week. Secondly, they give a glimpse of what’s inside the email. Lastly, they aren’t too long — no more than 50-60 characters, which is the average subject line length that most email programs will display. I used to publish a month/year of broadcast and an issue number of my email newsletters and quickly discovered that I was wasting my subject line space. Now, I’d suggest your format to be: [Ezine name]: first name, subject line here.
4. Identify yourself to your readers. When you send an email broadcast, be sure to identify yourself in the “From” line so that the reader knows exactly who is sending the email. If you think your reader identifies more with your company name, then send it using your company name rather than your name in the From line. However, the majority of clients of small service businesses identify more with the company owner’s name, so I recommend that you use your name in the From line of your email broadcast.
5. Highly useful content. Typically most ezine recipients will give you 1 or 2 chances to make an impression on them. If they’re not “wowed” by your content, then they do one of two things — unsubscribe from your list, or let your broadcast languish in their email inbox until they get around to reading it, which may never happen. Every time you send out an issue, you’re making a first impression, as you’ve got new readers who join your list every single week. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so ensure every issue is your best issue. Your primary article needs to answer a key question asked or issue encountered by the majority of your readers.
Despite the advent of blogs and other social networking platforms, I still believe the email newsletter is a great way to stay in contact with your prospects. By using the strategies outlined above, you’ll have more readers opening your broadcasts than every before.
Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps independent service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at http://www.OnlineBizU.com. Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at http://www.AskDonnaGunter.com.