Are you ready to improve your newsletter open and clickthrough rates? We’ll show you how.
Running a successful email newsletter means reaching out to people who actually want to hear from your publication. Unfortunately, what happens too often is that emails get lost in readers’ inbox clutter or their spam folders. By the time a reader actually finds the newsletter and opens it, the information is already outdated and there’s no reason to click through.
You might think that launching a successful email newsletter is just too hard right now. Maybe trying to improve your newsletter open and clickthrough rates feels like too much of an uphill battle. Or maybe the fierce competition inside people’s email inboxes has you feeling intimidated.
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Digital publishers today are seeing extreme success sending email newsletters to their subscribers. Some newsletters are free, sent widely to anyone who signs up. Other newsletters are designed to be more exclusive, with only paying subscribers having access. Regardless of your newsletter strategy, there is almost always room for improvement.
Here are 17 tips for digital publishers who want to start improving the open and clickthrough rates on their newsletters right away.
Email Newsletter Tips for Digital Publishers
- Follow all spam rules
- Email new subscribers a welcome message
- Send emails from a real person instead of a generic address
- Include at least one clickable link or image near the top of each email
- Preview all emails before sending
- Continuously work to improve subject lines
- Always include social sharing buttons
- Don’t buy email address lists
- Create an opt-in process that’s GDPR compliant
- Don’t let newsletters get too long
- Include a CTA at the end of each newsletter
- Link all images
- Don’t place any background images in your newsletters
- Make sure text links are noticeable
- Use pre-written tweets to make it easier to share
- Include an email forwarding option
- Track your newsletter performance
1. Follow all spam rules
Don’t let your emails newsletters get caught in people’s spam filters. If you want to improve your newsletter open and clickthrough rates, you need to make sure to follow the rules set out in the CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing). This means giving recipients a clear way to opt-out and avoiding “no-reply” or similar sender names.
2. Email new subscribers a welcome message
Now is the chance to say hello. Make sure that all new subscribers are getting some type of welcome message or similar email within 24 hours of signing up for your newsletter. The more personalized, the better. Emails that include the recipient’s first name in the subject line have much higher open rates.
3. Send emails from a real person, rather than a generic email address
Emails coming from generic email addresses are much more likely to get deleted than those coming from real people. As a best practice, publishers who want to improve their newsletter open and clickthrough rates should make sure that their newsletters are sent from the email address of a real person at their publication. Email addresses like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org should be avoided at all costs.
4. Include at least one clickable link or image near the top of all emails
The simplest way to improve newsletter clickthrough rates is to include one or more clickable elements near the top of each email. Clickable elements include text links, images, and CTA buttons.
5. Preview all emails before sending
Before hitting “send” on any newsletter, make sure to double-check that the email looks the way it should on both desktop and mobile devices. Email marketing platforms like Mailchimp include a preview feature, so publishers can view how their emails will look to recipients. Always take the time to use this feature.
6. Continuously work to improve your subject lines
We all have room for improvement. Using basic analytics, you can track how newsletter open and clickthrough rates rise or fall depending on how your subject lines are written. Use that information to craft the best subject lines possible.
7. Always include social sharing buttons
Email newsletters are a marketing tool, and maximizing the strategy means getting readers to share your content with their friends. Making sure social sharing buttons are included in a prominent place in all email newsletters is the best way to encourage people to spread the word about your excellent product.
8. Don’t buy email address lists
Purchasing email addresses is a real no-no. While it may feel great to see your subscriber list blow up over night, the subscribers you capture this way are not going to stick around for long. As a general rule of thumb, digital publishers should never purchase email addresses or buy email lists.
9. Create an opt-in process that’s GDPR compliant
Hopefully you have heard of the GDPR by now. Since it was enacted across Europe in 2018, the GDPR has had a big impact on the publishing community. Keep these broad regulations in mind as you develop your newsletter strategy, and make sure your readers have an easy way to opt-in and out-of of receiving your newsletters.
10. Don’t let newsletters get too long
Length matters. Although there’s not a single length that we can tell you to make your newsletters, some research has shown that the ideal length is about 20 lines of text. Regardless, it’s best to track the relative performance of your newsletters to determine how long most readers will scroll before they click away.
11. Include a CTA at the end of each email
If someone makes it to the end of your newsletter, they must be a fan. Make sure to include a clear CTA at the end of each newsletter. This might be the place where you invite readers to subscribe to your publication or where you encourage people to share your newsletter with a friend.
12. Link all the images in your newsletters
If the ultimate goal with your email newsletters is to encourage people to clickthrough to your website, then one way to achieve that goal is by adding hyperlinks to all images. The more opportunities people have to clickthrough, the better.
13. Don’t place any background images in your emails
Background images require more bandwidth to load, and in most cases they make it harder for people to see the text on the screen. With more people reading newsletters on their mobile devices than ever before, it’s imperative that publishers stop adding background images to their newsletters. A simple color or plain white background is much more effective.
14. Make sure text links are noticeable
This ties right in with the background image issue. If your goal is to improve your newsletter open and clickthrough rates, then you want to make your links as easy to find as possible. Help links stand out by reducing unnecessary clutter within your newsletters and by making all links a uniform color that’s bright and distinct.
15. Use pre-written tweets to make it easier for people to share
The fewer the steps someone has to take, the more likely they are to complete an action. When it comes to social sharing, you want to make it as easy for people to share your content as possible. Tools like Click To Tweet allow you to write your own tweets, which readers can send out on their own feeds in just a few clicks.
16. Include an email forwarding option
Some of your subscribers might not have social media or they might not feel comfortable tweeting about how much they love your newsletter. That doesn’t necessarily mean these subscribers aren’t interested in helping you out. Including a simple email forwarding option at the end of each newsletter will prompt your readers to share your newsletter with their friends.
17. Track newsletter performance
It always comes down to tracking. Improving newsletter open and clickthrough rates means getting familiar with the latest tools for tracking and figuring out which metrics to watch. If you see that certain newsletters are getting more engagement than others, you need to find out why. What do your most successful newsletter editions have in common? Was it the subject line, the content, or something else entirely? Dig in and get comfortable, because email performance data can steer you toward making the best possible decisions.
Interested in learning more about how to launch and grow an email newsletter? Reach out to our team of digital publishing experts here at Web Publisher PRO.